Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Taking the Reins by Kat Murray

Taking the Reins by Kat Murray
Taking the Reins by Kat Murray in a contemporary romance set in a ranch with a feisty heroine and a loner for a hero. This is my kind of romance.

Peyton Muldoon has been working the M-Star all her life. She inherits when her mother dies only to find out that her long absentee siblings Trace and Bea each co-own one-third of the ranch. She must get in touch with them to make big decisions but needs a horse trainer now. Redford Callahan is that man.

Red's reputation with ranch owners as a horse trainer is impeccable and now that he is free to accept a new contract he can pick and choose. His head tells him that accepting a job at the badly mismanaged M-Star is a mistake and shouldn't even consider it, not with the beautiful Peyton as its manager, but when Peyton personally offer him the job, his gut tells him otherwise. Red accepts, but knows he is in for a bumpy ride.

Peyton is one of those feisty heroines with a stubborn streak a mile long. She carries lots of personal baggage caused by neglect from a mother with a reputation too busy sleeping around with anything wearing pants and no knowledge of how to run a ranch, and a loving father who died too soon. To Peyton the ranch and family always come first and her needs come last, if that. She is attracted to Red big time! And slowly that attraction turns to lust and need. But she's not willing to trust or better yet place her reputation and that of the M-Star on the line for whatever it is that is going on between them. The ranch comes first.

Red on the other hand can't help but admire Peyton's hard work and business sense as well as her beauty. He lusts after her, yes, but everything about Peyton seems just perfect to him, even her feisty and sometimes over the top pride and stubbornness. Red falls in love with Peyton. He is a sweet and sexy man memorable for his patience and heartwarming nature -- because believe me, Red had to be patient with Peyton! The thing is that while working the ranch Peyton is the boss who rules (sometimes she's a bit too insecure about this point), but in bed Red and Peyton together are hot! I like how by the end this relationship slowly balances itself out in and out of bed.

Murray's conflict in this romance is mostly internal between the two protagonists, but aided in part by external circumstances. The internal conflict is excellent, creating the necessary push and pull or tension that makes the happy ending worth it at the end of a romance. The external conflict although used as a device to advance the storyline seemed weaker throughout with a predictable resolution.

Murray creates great atmosphere in this story by providing the necessary ranching details that place the reader right there on that barn with the horses. I really enjoyed that aspect of this novel. The secondary characters are also a contributing factor, although they do not take the focus away from the main couple. The ranch hands become more than just characters as do some of the townspeople, and Peyton's siblings Trace and Bea are key figures in this story that stay enough of a mystery in preparation for their own upcoming romances.

Taking the Reins by Kat Murray is a solid contemporary romance read. I enjoyed the pacing and writing style, but most of all the atmosphere and characters that Murray creates in this romance. Now I'm really curious to find out how cowboy Trace really ended up as a single father, and why Bea left behind her career as an actress and is now sneaking out on those midnight rides!

Category: Contemporary Romance/Western
Series: Roped & Wrangled #1
Publisher: Brava/January 1, 2013
Source: Kensington Publishing
Grade: B

Visit Kat Murray here.


  1. Sounds god, I don't think I had heard of this author before but you made it sound so good! I dont read many 'cowboy's tories though, at least not in modern days. I'll try to check this one out.

    1. Alex, with this type of story just think of it of as a contemporary romance set on a ranch. They are nothing like the old style historical cowboy romances. I love contemporary western romances with the hot ranchers and strong women.

  2. Great review!

    It's terrible, but I feel like I have an anti-Pavlov reaction every time I see the word fiesty :)

    1. Thanks Orannia.

      Hah! I want to know what your reaction is, Orannia. You made me laugh because I have similar reactions (usually the teeth-clenching kind) to other words used to discribe heroines or heroes. *g*

    2. It's a 'teeth-clenching, eye-rolling, this heroine is going to be the antithesis of me and I'm going to make myself feel completing lacking when I read about her' reaction :)

    3. Ohhh, that makes sense! It's a matter of connecting. :D

  3. Hi Hilcia...
    Ohhhh now I want this book! You make it seem like a good one and I wish I had it right now. Fine, fine, you've convinced me, I'm getting it next month when I shop again. You know, I tend to follow many of your recommendations lol, what does that say about me?
    With this one, I now have 31 books I want without a doubt...why can't I win the lottery?

    1. Sonia, I hope you have some fun with Peyton and Red's dilemmas at the M-Star. :D I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

      And lol! I'm just as bad as you are! My purchase list is a mile long!. :D

  4. Is this Ms Murray's debut novel? You make this book sounds really good Hils and I'm curious to try it out. Unfortunately, I have to say, the cover is such a turn-off ^_^;

    1. Actually Nath, Ms. Murray also writes under the name "Jeannette Murray" so this is not her debut novel. LOL about the cover, I'm not partial to it either, but the story turned out to be good reading. :)


Anonymous Users disallowed due to large influx of spam.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.