Rancher at Risk by Barbara White Daille

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Rancher at Risk by Barbara White Daille
Publisher: Harlequin American Romance
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

A Fresh Start

After the loss of his family in a tragic accident, Ryan Malloy has been given one last chance to change his life. His boss sends him to Flagman’s Folly, New Mexico, to run his ranch, but unfortunately, Ryan’s troubled attitude lands him in hot water with the locals, especially the ranch’s manager, Lianne Ward.

Deaf since birth, Lianne has never let her disability define who she is. But, she’s yet to meet a man who treats her as an equal. Ryan seems different…that is, when they’re not butting heads over the ranch’s new school for disadvantaged boys.

Forced to work together, Lianne and Ryan discover an unexpected attraction beneath their quarreling. But will Ryan’s painful past drive them apart…permanently?

He’s a cowboy who has lost his family in an accident and hasn’t gotten over the grief yet. She’s deaf and broke up with her last serious boyfriend because he didn’t think she could handle running her own business. When Ryan almost runs over her niece in town, they don’t get off to a good start…

Ms. Daille takes two people with emotional baggage and puts them at the same ranch working on the same goals. Ryan is uncomfortable around children the age of his dead son. Lianne wants to work independently without supervision or “help”. She doesn’t understand why Ryan is so cold with the kids or why he insists on controlling her. They clash because neither one wants to talk about their secrets.

Men and women can both be full of a lot of pride. The author gives them both a healthy shot of pride and a reluctance to talk about it. When Lianne finds out Ryan didn’t even know she was deaf, she’s shocked. He’s angry at himself because he didn’t see it.

This story dances around the two characters and their problems, many of which are simply perceptions, not reality. Communication is the key and it takes a while for trust to build and for the two to let down their defenses and talk about past hurts and why they act like they do. They both learn some things about themselves in the process.

I enjoyed reading this sweet romance with a western touch. I could relate to Lianne because I hate being controlled or having someone following me around all the time. I can also understand how hard it is to open your heart when death has slammed the door in the past. Ms. Daille does a nice job of showing the heartbreak and emphasizing the difference the right relationship can make for you. Why not settle in a comfortable chair and give this romance a read yourself?

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