Rancher’s Forgotten Rival
The Carsons of Lone Rock
January 25, 2022
Welcome to Lone Rock, Oregon’s Wild West.
Chance Carson is the one man in Lone Rock who gets Juniper Sohappy all riled up. His family is ranching royalty. He’s arrogant, insufferable and obnoxiously charming—she’ll keep her distance, thanks. But when Juniper finds him on her property, injured and without his memory, she saves his life…and sort of lets him believe he’s her ranch hand. Making the entitled rancher work a little is one thing…but actually liking the man is another. Falling for him? No way. And yet the passion between them is as undeniable as it is unexpected. Will it survive the truth?
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Harlequin romance and even longer since I read a Harlequin Desire, which is their shorter and sexier category. However, Maisy Yates’ Rancher’s Forgotten Rival was calling to me and I had a reading gap and thought, why not?
In typical Maisy Yates’ style she puts a lot into a couple of hundred pages. While the whole amnesia-thing is kind of cheesy, she turned it on its ear by having the amnesiac’s “enemy” find him and watch over him to make sure he doesn’t have complications from hitting his head. (She’s an EMT so she’s somewhat qualified.)
Juniper the EMT, however, lies to him about their relationship, leading him to believe that he works for her. Frankly, this is kind of inexcusable and irrational for a woman who, for the most part, is rational from then on. But, you know, it’s a short romance and this couple needs to start fresh, discover who they really are without preconceived notions, and fall in love in a short time. (wink, wink.)
Chance (I love that when Juniper tells him that that’s his name, he thinks: no, that’s not a name–haha) recovers his memory quickly and is not too taken with Juniper’s lie, but he seriously can’t deny that there’s something between them, sexual attraction which he is very happy to act on. Now, mind you, this is a Harlequin Desire so you have to expect that there’s going to be quite a bit of steamy sex on hand (and elsewhere 😉 ) and there is.
What I really liked was that that was not all there was as has been my experience with some Desire novels in the past.
Juniper, whose grandmother I presume is of Native American or Mexican roots, has experienced prejudice, classmates who treated her badly because of the color of her skin. Chance realizes that while he never saw it happen didn’t mean that it never did. It opens his eyes to the experiences that Juniper’s had, widens his perspective of her.
Also, Chance and his family have had their own heartache that has affected the way that he perceives relationships. He realizes that this is a personal hurdle that he’ll have to overcome.
And, of course, there’s the feud between the Carson and Sohappy families, the question of whether a card game was won fair and square generations ago, whether the Carson great-great grandfather cheated and stole land from the Sohappys. While that wasn’t completely settled in this book, perhaps it will be in the next.
While a lot of dialogue dominated Rancher’s Forgotten Rival, I don’t think that was particularly a bad thing since the dialogue was well-written and punchy. But it was something I was very aware of as I was reading, but I will say that a lot of romances trend that way.
All in all, a great start to a new series. Yates, as always, tells and writes a good story with interesting fully fleshed characters that I enjoyed reading about.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 out of 5 butterflies