Other Molly O'Keefe reviews can be found in the Archives.

 
Can't Hurry Love
by Molly O'Keefe
(Bantam, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN 978-0-345-52561-1
****
After a string of bad luck and heartbreaks, Victoria Baker has wound up at Crooked Creek Ranch for the second installment to the series of the same name, Can't Hurry Love by Molly O'Keefe. Left to Victoria by her lout of a father, it is her last chance to make a life for herself and for her son following her husband's Ponzi scheme and resultant suicide.

Unfortunately for Victoria, Eli Turnbull, the foreman, has his heart set on getting Crooked Creek back for his family, even if he has to be underhanded to get her to sell. And he is, on top of being a smart-assed jerk who goes out of his way to make Victoria feel small.

There's a lot of history in Can't Hurry Love: Victoria's memories of visiting as a child, her history with her father, everyone else's unpleasant histories with her father, the past— or lack thereof—with his mother that haunts Eli.  And then there's the history both Eli and Victoria remember: the girl who trailed around after him like a lost puppy.

Eli doesn't let those memories get in the way of his plan, though the longer Victoria tries to figure out ranching, the closer the two of them get… that is, until she brings his mother back to the ranch as part of Victoria's own plan to keep the ranch and her new life going on her own terms.

I'm no fan of the so-called western romances; please keep your Diana Palmer to yourself.  However, Molly O'Keefe's Crooked Creek Ranch series seems to be cut from a different cloth. For one thing, it doesn't take itself too seriously: there are several scenes to make you chuckle, just as there are scenes that are absolutely heartbreaking.  Eli and Victoria are both the kind of character that alternately makes you cheer them on and want to strangle them.  That being said, I not only will be waiting for the next book in the series, but I may just look up the first one, Can't Buy Me Love, and read it too.

--Sarrah Knight


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