Linda Lael Miller is a wonderful romance writer. Every time I read one of her book, I have the deep urge to go live on a ranch, if only I could convince my family to go along with my fantasy! This year, she has released the first two books of her "Swoon-Worthy Cowboys" series. Big Sky Mountain and Big Sky Country. Ms. Miller has created a wonderful town full of interesting characters with loose tongues and long memories.
While the story was enjoyable, I felt the romance was really secondary to the story. The first half of the book is set up and character building. At times it dragged a little. Then when it did pick up, it was over and Slade and Josyln had found their HEA. While they had known each other for years, I still had a hard time figuring out when they fell in love. Toward the end of the book, two whole months are skipped over. I felt a bit cheated. I would have liked to see more of the romance between Slade and Joslyn. They barely spend time together that the reader sees.
For the first in the series, it didn't wow me.However, it is worth recommending for the character interactions alone. I loved the relationship between Slade and his step daughter Shea. That alone just melted my heart. I also loved Opal. She seems like such a warm personality and the kind of woman who would always be ready with a big bear hug if you needed one. Slade's brother Hutch seems like such a troubled soul and I looked forward to reading his story next in Big Sky Mountain.
Big Sky Mountain (Harlequin, July 2012) is Hutch and Kendra's story. I liked this one more than the first one. I felt more of a connection with Hutch and Kendra and their relationship. They have a history and previous relationship, so that may be why I believed their love story more. I'm not sure either of them ever really fell out of of love with the other. I was really rooting for their HEA.
Kendra has been out of town for a while and has returned the adoptive mother of a 4 year old daughter. I admired Kendra for how she fought for Madison and made gave her a home. I don't think a lot of people would have done what she did. Madison was a very sweet little girl and I loved how she melted Hutch's heart.
All of the characters that you grew to love in Big Sky Country return in this one. Opal is as wonderful as ever. Hutch and Slade's relationship is growing stronger. The next book in the series, Big Sky River, comes out next year. I look forward to visiting the town of Parable again!