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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Branded by Laura Wright (Review)

Title: Branded
Series: Cavanaugh Brothers #1
Author: Laura Wright
Published: June 2014, Signet
Format: EGalley

In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers...

When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.

Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.

Well, Branded by Laura Wright is a pretty good book.  I think a lot of readers will love this series, mixing a bit of cowboy, romance, and suspense.  However, for me personally, it was just good.

I guess I just didn't really feel like I connected with these characters.  The storyline for Branded goes something like this... Deacon's father dies, and he flies back home to take over the family ranch and sell it off, as a sort of vengeance plan.  He plans on uprooting every farmhand working there, but offering them a new job at his own ranch.  When he gets there he runs into his deceased younger sister's friend, Mac, who is now the ranch foreman.  Sparks and butterflies.  Deacon also has two younger brothers, James and Cole, who aren't any more attached to the ranch than he is.  But, unfortunately, Mac is.  And she wants to save it.

Add in some touching scenes between Mac and Deacon, along with the mystery of who murdered poor Cass, and you'd think you'd have a hell of a story.  But I didn't really feel like the characters were consistent in their actions.   Maybe it was just Deacon that didn't work for me.  He is so singularly driven to destroy what his father built, that he can't see anything else. And then 10 seconds later, every thought is consumed with Mac.

One character who I did find wildly interesting is Cole.  Cole was twins with Cass, and is now a UFC fighter.  I think his MMA style is in line more with my interests than businessmen like Deacon, and cowboys like James.

There were some interesting twists in the story, it seems the patriarchal Cavanaugh was hiding some secrets.  That plot line kind of threw me for a loop, and I didn't really feel like it fit in with the story.  However, I'm hoping it will be explored more as the story goes on.

And as for Cass's unsolved murder?  I think I would have liked to see that side of the story a bit more.  However, it was barely touched on, and that was a bit of a disappointment for me.

Like I said, I do think this book will be a hit with readers who are more into western-romance.  The scenic land of the Triple C ranch was surely beautiful, and Laura Wright is definitely a talented author.  I think I might dip into some of her other books to see if there are other characters I'd long after a bit more than Deacon, though.