One Night Stand

When She Was Bad

Your Ranch or Mine?
by Cindy Kirk
(SSE # 1986, $4.99, PG) ISBN 978-0373-65468-0
Here is the second installment of the "Meet Me in Montana" series, which first introduced Mitch Donavan and Anna Anderssen. Anna is from Sweet River and she has returned here after college with two roommates. One, Lauren, is a psychology student who is doing her dissertation on a system of questions that she thinks will match people. They chose this small Montana town due to the abundance of single men and women.

When Lauren tells Anna that her perfect match is Mitch, Anna's response is no, Lauren needs to do her research all over again. Anna and Mitch have a history. When Anna was a senior in high school and Mitch a few years out of school and home for the summer, these two shared a hot, secret love affair. There were several reasons for the secrecy. Anna was a previous beauty queen who had high expectations from her mother. She was also nervous about her feelings for Mitch. Mitch was the son of the town drunk and had never had any money. He had been befriended by a local rancher, Henry and Marg Millstead and it was their love and support that got him through. But he agreed to Anna's terms because he truly cared for her. Their break-up was messy, with Anna involved in a convoluted scheme to make Mitch jealous and, in her teenaged mind, to force him to reveal his feelings. Instead, they walked away, both fearing the other hated them.

It is now almost ten years later and both are back in Sweet River. Anna is only in town for a short time and has plans to go back to Denver and open her own clothing design boutique. Mitch is back in town for good, building a custom log cabin and opening his own architecture and home business. Both are surprised to see the other and both still have a lot of pent up sexual chemistry whenever they are near. Neither has had any real meaningful relationships over the years and internally they realize it is because they never really got over the other.

Instead of fighting it, Mitch realizes that the abrupt ending of their previous relationship is the reason they still lust for one another. They never had a chance to let their feelings die a natural death. So he proposes that they date and spend time together until they don't like each other anymore. To them, it is a very logical thing. To their friends and small town gossips, it is a sign that they are getting together. They walk, talk and go bowling. They have dinner with friends and their relationship is fun and warm to watch.

Author Cindy Kirk does a nice job of letting their friendship develop naturally even as they fight their sexual attraction. These two don't just fall into bed and their relationship is richer for it. There are just a few secrets still to be discovered and these keep a cloud over what they both see as a blooming relationship. I liked both Anna and Mitch because they acted like mature individuals, even when angry and upset. They listened to advice and tried to talk to each other. That alone sets this story apart from many others that have a similar plotline.

There are obviously a couple more stories from Kirk in this series but there was not a lot of time spent setting up the stories. This was definitely Anna and Mitch's story. The title is silly and has nothing to do with the story, but Your Ranch or Mine? is a good way to spend an afternoon of reading pleasure.

--Shirley Lyons

@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home