Twenty-five-year-old Rose McMurray may be beautiful, smart, and capable of running her family's ranch at Whispering Mountain, but she's backed away from marriage three times without giving anyone reasons. Everyone thinks she is a coward, afraid of any adventure, including falling in love. She's never done a single wild or reckless thing in her life...until now.I really enjoyed the last book in the Whispering Mountain series, Texas Blue, and for over a year looked forward to reading Duncan and Rose McMurray's romance in Wild Texas Rose. Unfortunately, this book by favorite writer Jodi Thomas did not turn out to be a favorite read for me. Why?
Duncan McMurray, like Rose, was adopted into the family. As a Texas Ranger, he swears he'll never settle down and marry. He's been Rose's guardian angel since they were kids but for the first time in their lives he's the one who has caused her to be in danger. Somehow, he has to protect her from an outlaw gang determined to kill her without letting Rose know of the danger she's in. He's convinced that her heart can't take the stress if she knows...the only question is can his heart take the nearness of her.
When opposites collide the adventure begins...
It has nothing to do with the characters. Rose McMurray is invited to attend her friend Victoria's wedding. Rose doesn't like to leave Whispering Ranch, but her friend's letter makes it seem as if she needs help. Rose arrives to more hints from Victoria and an unexpected visit from Duncan who can't be there to protect Rose since he's in the middle of guarding some dangerous gang members during a trial, but has already made arrangements for her safety.
Rose's guard is the trustworthy but horribly scarred Stitch, a man who is more shadow than man, but that proves himself to be good in a tight situation. Rose also engages her own savvy pickpocket as a maid, and thinks herself ready to find out what is going on with the often absent Victoria, the groom who has yet to make an appearance, and Victoria's bully of a father. In the meantime she meets the best man Killian who seems to be attracted to Victoria but initially spends most of his time either talking to his friend Abe, drinking, or talking to his brother Shawn's ghost. Abe is the local store owner and after being wounded at war he has basically spent the rest of his young life at the store, thinking of himself as a cripple, and yearining for the spinster school teacher.
The overall story involves all of these characters. After Victoria disappears from the hotel, things get complicated, even more so when the gang members on trial escape and go after Duncan. He ends up with Rose, and after an abduction takes place, every ends up running for their lives by train and wagon toward Whispering Mountain. There are some incredible revelations and not one, not two, not three, but four romances and happy ever afters in the end. And that right there is my problem with Wild Texas Rose. Four romances. If multiple romances are included in a book and the reader is invested in the characters, they might work; example: Ms. Thomas' characters in her contemporary Harmony series. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.
The blurb or summary is focused on Duncan and Rose's romance, so that going into the book that's the romance I'm expecting to find as central to the story, instead Abe and his teacher provide most of the tender and sensual moments, while Killian and Victoria are at the center of the mystery, leaving Rose and Duncan to help along with the mystery and with a romance that goes from a platonic relationship to a happy ever after as lifelong friends who understand each other very well decide they are the best for one another.
Unfortunately, I became more invested in Abe's story than any other. Not because it was wildly passionate, but possibly because that's the one romance that showed two people finally showing each other what they really wanted and needed from one another as adults, and there was more development for them as a couple than any other in the story. That's what I expected for Duck and Rose, actually I expected more than that.
In this installment by Jodi Thomas, I enjoyed the overall suspense, the revelations that came out of the whole story arc, and one of the romances. However, the main romance was a deep disappointment as were most of the other romances included in the novel. As a result, Wild Texas Rose did not turn out to be a favorite book in this series. I still look forward to the next installment in the Whispering Mountain series, hoping that it will take a different direction.
Category: Historical Romance / Western
Series: Whispering Mountain
Publisher/Release Date: Berkley/August 7, 2012
Visit Jodi Thomas here.
Texas Rain, #1
Texas Princess, #2
Tall, Dark, and Texan, #3
The Lone Texan, #4
Texas Blue, #5
Wild Texas Rose, #6