Molly O'Keefe is a new author to me and you know how I enjoy being introduced to new authors. Out of the blue, a few months ago, I received an ARC of CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe. It seems I had commented on the Romance at Random blog and won a copy of the book. Sometimes, it's that easy - I tend to fall into these things. Well, I honestly didn't expect much from this book as I typically took a sneak peek at the first two chapters - sometimes those chapters are enough to catch you but sometimes not - however, sometimes if you keep going you just might be surprised and so it was with this contemporary romance, CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe from Bantam Books, release date - June 26, 2012.
Blurb for CAN'T BUY ME LOVE:
A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Tara Jean Sweet knows that opportunity will never knock. She'll have to seize it. Elderly Texas rancher Lyle Baker has a dying request: He will give Tara Jean a stake in his leather business in exchange for a little family subterfuge. All Tara Jean has to do is play the part of a gold-digging fiancée to lure his estranged children home. And the mission is soon accomplished.
Now, Lyle's gone—and his ridiculously handsome son, Luc, an ice hockey superstar sidelined by injuries, is the new owner of Crooked Creek ranch. He's also Tara Jean's boss. But being so close to sinfully sweet Tara Jean does crazy things to his priorities. Like make him want to kiss her deepest secrets from those irresistible lips. But when Tara Jean's past demands a dirty showdown, will Luc stay and fight?
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Tara Jean Sweet isn't who she appears to be, nor is she even who she used to be. Tara Jean has a past she wants to escape but is about to have it come screaming back into her life just when she is beginning to get a handle on what she wants and what she hopes to accomplish. Luc Baker wasn't part of the plan but something about him has brought her back to life emotionally and physically even as his control on her business and her desires begin to unravel her even her past threatens to reveal her true self.
Luc Baker has grown into a strong successful man despite the degradations he experienced at the hands of his own father. Now that his father is gone, Luc still feels like a failure because he's facing the end of his career as a star ice hockey player. Forced to stay on at Crooked Creek ranch as owner so that his sister can inherit the money she needs to care for herself and her sick son, Luc's anger is building to the point of eruption. Even as he turns his anger on the woman he believes to have manipulated his father into the trap he now finds himself in, Luc can't resist the mysterious Tara Jean Sweet.
Molly O'Keefe has created a troupe of dimensional characters who drive this story to the point where the reader is silently cheering for Tara Jean for finding the need to protect others and Luc for discovering he cares enough about her and everyone else to make the sacrifices needed to make sure everyone can move on from their pasts and failures. Luc and Tara Jean are perfect for each other (even though they're not meant to be) and their desire for each other is believable and palpable. The supporting cast of characters - Victoria, Celeste, Ruby, Jacob and Eli - help expand and develop the sexual tension that exists between Luc and Tara Jean from the first moment they meet. Each has their reason for their own unhappiness but eventually come together in touching moments to show their support for the others. Dennis is the quintessential bad guy/villain and you feel his sleaziness the first time you meet him.
CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe might've started off a tad slow but it quickly developed into a fast-moving, intriguing, question creating story with more steam than I expected. I enjoyed the relationship that Molly built between Tara Jean and Luc. Tara Jean not expecting anything and Luc always willing to give her the space to make her own decisions on where and how far it would go. CAN'T BUY ME LOVE surprised me and I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to read it for it introduced me to a new author - an author whose works I plan to get to know better.
If you love strong characters, bad guys trying to make good things go sour, and a steamy romance that keeps you guessing about just how two people are going to overcome their own angsts to come together where they belong - then I highly recommend CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe. You won't be disappointed.
Happy Reading Everyone!
BTW - I'm still waiting to hear from 2 of the winners of A WARRIOR'S PROMISE by Donna Fletcher so if suthunlady and CindyO read this, please check your email/spam folder for an email from me. I don't want to have to give your books to someone else, it would make me feel terrible. : )
CAN'T BUY ME LOVE by Molly O'Keefe, Bantam Books - an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, release date - June 26, 2012 in print and ebook formats.