Publisher: Bliss Imprint, Entangled Publishing
Release Date: April 2015
Series: Tall Pines Ranch #2
By now, it should be no surprise to you that I’m a big Victoria James fan–like the biggest fan (in my head anyways). She is one of the few authors that I auto-buy, which means I have read all of her books to date (can’t wait for Falling for Her Enemy!). And I know the April 2015 release date for Rescued by the Rancher has gone and passed, but I’m going to review it now anyways!
Be warned that this is BOOK TWO of the Tall Pines Ranch series.
Rescued by the Rancher is Gage’s story. Whoohoo! As a reader, you first meet Gage in The Rancher’s Second Chance, and you can’t help but be charmed by the big, sincere oaf. Seriously, he is a drop-dead sexy guy with a dangerous amount of charm. And he has his sight set on Meredith Anderson–even though he knows he shouldn’t. You see, Meredith, she’s been through A LOT. Like years of therapy A LOT, and even though Gage can’t stop thinking about her, he thinks that she doesn’t deserve to be saddled with his issues, too (see? stupidly charming!). But much to his surprise, Meredith has her own agenda (sounds skeevy, but it’s totally not).
Meredith is soooo ready to leave her past behind her. She’s ready to be independent and feel confident with that independence. She promises to make that dream vision of herself a reality. She also promises to never fall in love again (SAY IT AIN’T SO!), and instead decides she is a no-strings attached kind of woman because she never ever ever wants a man to control her again. Seeing that she was the target for anger and general meanness for years, it’s not hard to understand where she is coming from. But again, SAY IT AIN’T SO!! What about Gage, Meredith??? Can’t you see that he would never be like your scumbag ex and jerk of a father?
To answer my own question: Why yes, Meredith can see that. And she does (eventually). Hallelujah! Meredith can’t help but trust Gage. He is the one who caught her when she fell down (figuratively and literally) a year ago. Her trust in Gage is what makes her bold enough to proposition Gage. All she wants is one night. One special night to put all of the bad nights behind her (this is her agenda, which I mentioned before–see? not skeevy!). It’s not long before the two tumble into bed together, and it’s definitely a roller coaster of emotions following that.
I really enjoyed following the individual journeys for both Gage and Meredith. Gage’s background story is slowly revealed, and it’s just heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking–especially when he comes to an unexpected realization about his father (Chapter 13 was the best!!!). Meredith, she really kicks butt in the end. When the scumbag ex came back into her life, I was like NONONONONO! And Meredith really scared me. I thought she reverted back into the meek shell of girl she was in book one, but that is not the case at all. That girl has got some brains and guts for sure.
Now, this is a romance novel, so what’s slightly (and I say that with a big grain of salt) more important than their individual journeys? Their blossoming romance, of course! It’s clear that Gage and Meredith help each other get through their own individual issues. And that’s what it’s all about, right? Learning that you can be dependent on someone else even while you’re an independent person. They help each other be vulnerable and confident all at the same time. They share secrets with each other. Meredith’s secret is hinted at from the start, and when your suspicions are confirmed…you will want to cry. Oh! And if you read book one, don’t worry, Cole and Mel make multiple (and satisfying) appearances.
Ultimately, yes, there are some heavy issues discussed in the book, but you never feel weighed down by them. That’s what I love about Victoria James’ writing. She makes reading about serious topics as painless as possible. At the end of the day, Rescued by the Rancher is a really sweet romance. A book for Nathan next?? Possibly? I just need more of that family! haha ❤️