In Stone Cold Cowboy (Montana Men #4) by Jennifer Ryan, when Sadie set out to save her brother from making another horrible decision in his life, she never expected him to allow a madman to terrorize her and then leave her for dead, but it's exactly what happened. Worse yet, she's not certain she'd do anything differently, if she somehow managed to survive. He and her father are the only family she has left, and with her dad taking a turn for the worse with his illness, she's determined to save her brother. Yet, when she can't save herself, how is she supposed to save her brother, especially when he's gotten involved with a nasty group of men that will kill her without hesitation, if she interferes in their business.
Chasing after the men that have stolen a lot of cattle from his family's ranch, Rory McKendrick never expected to find the woman he's been obsessing over from afar, tied to a tree, stripped down to her underwear and left for dead. Choosing to save her life over getting back the cattle is easy, but there's more to it than that, especially when she insists that she'll pay him back every last dime for the cattle her brother has stolen. Rory doesn't need her money, but he's determined to let her do whatever it takes. If only to keep an eye on her as well as keep her safe, especially when she makes the hardest decision of her life, which will more than likely put her life in even more danger than it already is.
What a powerful, emotional and captivating read Ms. Ryan has penned that no doubt is one of the best stories I've read this year, and that's saying something because I've read almost fifty books already. I loved the way it started, even if I cried for what Sadie had to go through, but just knowing someone would come to her rescue made the tearful journey worth it.
Everything about this book drew me in, and kept me quickly flipping the pages. The character's back stories, their emotions and reactions, the perfect blend of teasing and intense dialogue, it made me more and more determined to learn what Sadie and Rory had to go through to finally achieve their happy ever after. Because if any hero and heroine deserved one, it was definitely this couple.
As for the dialogue, I loved the interactions between Rory and Sadie. He has every reason to want to protect her after being the one to find her. That in itself couldn't have been easy, especially since he'd like to get to know her better. Then there's the choices Sadie has to make that aren't easy for her. She's been protecting her brother for so long, and it seems she doesn't know how to stop, because she's afraid of losing him.
I really liked both Sadie and Rory, as well as the secondary characters, especially Rory's family. They're very close, and will do anything to help each other. Knowing how much Rory likes Sadie, it brings them together even more. Besides, with Sadie in Rory's life, it seems likely that he'll be the first to deliver on what their grandfather wants for them -- love, marriage and a family of his own.
Sadie is strong and brave. She's had to deal with so much over the years, always bailing her brother out of trouble whenever he's managed to get himself in it. Dealing with her brother, and the fact that she's going to lose her father in the near future to his illness starts to take its toll on her. And as the story progressed, it made me feel more and more sorry for her to be in the situation she's found herself in. Why should she keep helping her brother when she knows he'll never do what she suggests? Is she naïve in believing that he may change because she wants him to? Possibly, but at the same time, I could understand why she wanted to save him because he's her family.
While with Rory, there was so much to like about him. At first, he seems very intimidating, but the more I read, the more I discovered him to be the complete opposite. He's kind, considerate, tenacious in wanting to keep Sadie safe, even if it means he has to betray her trust to get her brother. He's also very hard-working and the glue that keeps his family together. As the oldest, he's put his life on hold to care for his brothers, but not anymore. Not now that he has a shot at happiness with Sadie, and that's what I liked most about him. That he was willing to take a chance, despite the fact that -- at times -- he almost ruined things between them with worrying about their future.
Hot sex scenes illustrated the strong chemistry that was there from the moment Rory rescued her. Neither are certain that they're ready for a relationship when there's so much uncertainty surrounding them at first, especially with the danger to Sadie's life. Still, there's no denying their growing feelings, especially when the unexpected happens, and Sadie needs to put herself first for a change. No longer can she afford to help her brother when he doesn't want to help himself.
Overall, Ms. Ryan has impressed me with this fourth book in her Montana Men series where I laughed and cried, but most of all was pleased by how the story ended with the epilogue. Indeed, it had me cheering for this couple when their big secret was revealed to those they're close with. I would recommend Stone Cold Cowboy by Jennifer Ryan, if you enjoy romantic suspense, or a story where the main characters go through a lot and definitely deserve their happy ever after.
The last thing rancher Rory Kendrick expects to find when he’s searching for his missing cattle is a genuine damsel in distress. After rushing to help, he can’t help wanting to do anything he can for this lovely but damaged woman. But even his kind deed won’t get Sadie to tell him who’s responsible for hurting her.
Sadie is trying to hold onto her family, and her life. With an ill father who’s refusing treatment and a younger brother who has fallen in with a dangerous crowd, she’s beginning to feel like she can’t save anyone, least of all herself. When her brother owes money to the wrong people, Sadie tries to pay off his debts, but she doesn’t have the cash. The one person who might be able to help her out is the last person she wants to involve in her family drama, but Rory won’t take no for an answer.
Rory is all about family, but sometimes you’ve got to let go. If you can’t save them, save yourself. Sadie’s been dealt a bad hand she refuses to fold. Because he loves her, he’ll do anything to keep her safe and give her the happy life she deserves, even betray her trust to take down her brother.
Her gaze dipped to his mouth. If he wanted to kiss her, she needed to kiss him. She slid her hand up his shoulder to the back of his neck and pulled him in. She stared into his eyes and saw a hunger there that matched her own. She’d never felt this overwhelming urge to be close to someone, let alone a man, but something about Rory drew her in and made her want to stay.
“Did you change your mind, or are you just trying to kill me?”
His deep voice resonated through her. Shepressed her lips to his, thinking it just a test. A way to see if they fit, connected on a deeper level than the pull she already felt toward him.
The second her lips touched his,fire lit through her system. She pulled back surprised that such a simple thing could spark such deep and overwhelming need. The same fire she felt flashed in his golden-green eyes.
“Once wasn’t enough.” This time, Rory pulled her back and kissed her, wrapping her in his strong arms.
Jennifer Ryan is the New York
Times & USAToday bestselling author of The Hunted Series and The McBrides
Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances
featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with
love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay
Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s
reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home
and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional
worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming
about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.