Welcome to Wednesday! I’ve got two recs for you this week — a fascinating, emotional, steamy cowboy book by the incomparable Molly O’Keefe, and a lovely, satisfying smut biscuit by the not-to-be-compared-to-others Cara McKenna.
(See how I avoided saying “incomparable” twice, there?)
I read Can’t Hurry Love earlier this week, and it blew me away. I actually clutched my Kindle to my chest at one point. I am not even exaggerating. Here’s the blurb—
Victoria Baker, the penniless widow of a disgraced financier, is ready to stand up, be counted, and make a new life for herself and her beloved son in Texas. She’s taking over Crooked Creek ranch, her birthright, and turning it into something special. All that stands in her way is Eli Turnbull, a rugged, too-handsome cowboy who wants the land just as badly.
If Victoria wants a fight, Eli will give her one. He’s devoted his life to Crooked Creek, and he’s not about to let some pampered city girl—even one as brave and beautiful as Victoria—turn it into some silly spa. But Victoria’s and Eli’s burning anger and frustration only fuel heat of another kind: uncontrollable passion. And soon they each realize that the person standing in their way is the one they can never do without.
I’m not 100% sure how to talk about why I loved this book so much.
There’s the surface stuff: I like books about sexy, wounded cowboys, and I like heroines with terrible self-esteem who figure out how to redeem themselves.
There’s the slightly deeper layers, like the fact that this is book 2 of the Crooked Creek Ranch series, and I *loathed* Victoria in book 1, but I was totally rooting for her here.
But really I think it’s some whole other thing that I can’t quite put my finger on, except to say that Molly O’Keefe goes deeper than I expect her to. All the time. She gets emotional reactions so spot on, I’m in awe. She writes amazing similes. She writes hot, filthy sex that can turn on a dime into this crazy-interesting psychological exploration of her characters. (Her women characters, even. Fancy that!)
This book also has a group of female friendships that I found fascinating and believable, which is hard to find in romance, period. O’Keefe takes risks. They don’t always work out. I don’t care. I really admire her work. I don’t always connect to it emotionally, but this one grabbed me hard, and a couple days later I’m still chewing it over. I love books that make me do that. In her review of Can’t Hurry Love at Dear Author, Robin calls it “one of the most ambitious novels I have read in a long time, and one of the most challenging to review cogently and comprehensively.” I agree. So I’ll just say, it’s worth checking out, even if you didn’t like or didn’t read the first book in the series. It stands alone just fine.
Also out today, the first in a series of short sequels to Cara McKenna’s awesome French manwhore book, Curio (which, if you haven’t read it, do. DO.) This one’s called Coercion. It’s a great little escape back into the world of Paris and Caroly and Didier, this time in Didier’s point of view, with role-playing coercive sex. Yum.