Fire Brand - Diana Palmer
Gaby Cane was always a bit afraid of her attraction to Bowie McCayde. Even when she was fifteen and Bowie's family took her in, she had sensed his simmering resentment. Now ten years later, she's an aspiring journalist who can hold her own with any man professionally, the dark shadows of years gone by far behind her. Then Bowie strides back into her life—only this time, he needs her, and the pull of loyalty to his family is too strong to ignore.
When Bowie asked Gaby to help save his family's Arizona ranch, he never expected the girl he once knew to return transformed into a stunning, successful woman. As they work together, Bowie is shocked to find that her innocence and beauty stir a hunger he can't deny. But the rogue rancher can sense something holding her back, and he's determined to uncover the terrible secret Gaby is fighting to keep hidden…
OK, I'm going to just say it: I am a Diana Palmer fan. I've read quite a few of her books and I really enjoy them and I get excited when I see she's got something new coming. But this one.. I don't know if it's because I read this while recovering from giving birth and almost dying, or if I just wasn't in the mood for a romance, but this book kind of got on my nerves.
It could also be that these characters are totally not likeable. First off, Bowie is a total asshole to everyone, including his mother. I get that his mother maybe wasn't the most nurturing towards him but man ALIVE. Secondly, what the hell is wrong with his mother? You didn't get a daughter so you just treat your son like crap? Third, Gaby. Listen, I get that some authors aren't going to write the dirty romance novel with your self-assured heroine. I get it. But Gaby is like a bizarre purist, naive and just... she's weird, folks. I get the child hood trauma that we learn about in the second half of the book but come on. It's hard to get excited about a Gaby and Bowie relationship when he's an asshole and she's almost child like. It's creepy, actually.
The book itself was originally written in 1989 so once I realized that, some of the writing made more sense because something written this way in 2016 just doesn't fit. What was interesting to me was that though the romance story is a little outdated and weird compared to modern, contemporary romance novels, some of the story line that Gaby's character is investigating fits in perfectly with 2016 when you think of fracking and what that can do ecology wise. So we have the Gaby and Bowie blossoming romance (or is it??) but we also have a developer trying to buy Bowie's land to basically develop it and he says not a chance in hell, but there's the promise of jobs to the area so naturally, people want Bowie to just sell already. It gets complicated because Gaby is set to inherit 51% of the land because Bowie is a jerk to his mom so now Gaby isn't sure if Bowie's romantic interest is genuine or not, and because she has the mentality of possibly a 12 year old when it comes to romance, she really struggles with this and that carries us to the end of the book.
I have to give this book a 3/5 stars. If the characters weren't so hard to like, I'd give it 4 stars. This time this romance was just a little too cheesy for me, maybe I really need to read a filthy book to appreciate the subtle romance again? But then I think- there is a whole market out there of people who want a regular ol' Harlequin romance and they don't want sex toys and red rooms, and if that's you, you get this in your shopping cart right now because you will love it.
You can get your own copy of Fire Brand on Amazon now! You should also check out Diana's website because she has a whole lot of books you might want to splurge on, as well. I have really liked a lot of Diana's books so don't let this one scare you away!