Review of TEMPORARILY TEXAN by Victoria Chancellor (see her website)
Harlequin American Romance #1172, July 2007
Raven York is sure this is the wrong place. A dusty cattle ranch in West Texas is not a likely setting for a heritage garden, and even less likely a setting for someone interested in preserving that part of the past. Cattle ranches symbolize everything Raven hates--the cruel way cattle are treated at feed lots and slaughter yards, the chemicals and environmental destruction associated with raising them, and the careless disregard for life. The sexy cowboy who checks her out doesn't seem much more pleased with Raven. So, why did they even ask for her?
Troy Crawford needs a ranching expert. His brother, the ranch manager, has almost run the ranch into the ground. When his brother's reserve unit was activated and sent to Afghanistan, Troy had to step in to figure out a way to save the ranch. An expert might help. An animal activist/vegetarian/earth-mother/soft-hearted woman who lives on tofu and won't even wear leather cowboy boots is not going to do the job. Still, Raven has no place else to go until they can sort out why he was sent a gardener when he needed a ranching expert. It can't hurt to let her stay a few days--can it?
As they spend time together, Troy and Raven learn more about their differences (she drinks tea, he loves coffee), but also about their similarities. Both were wounded as children and have spent their lives attempting to compensate and cope. Then there's the sexual attraction, and Troy can't help being attracted to Raven's kindness even when it sometimes bothers him (he knows he can't let her near the calves). Still, the two can't possibly have a future. Raven will need to get back to her own New Hampshire farm and Troy to his job in Fort Worth.
Author Victoria Chancellor (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Chancellor) spins a charming and emotional romance. Raven is an especially vivid character--full of life, caring and even causy, but she recognizes the reasons why she cares so much, and accepts that it is a part of herself. The dialogue between Raven and Troy is clever and beautifully handled, with both busy trying to persuade themselves as well as the other that pursuing a relationship would be a bad idea. They might be able to persuade themselves, but the reader knows it's a really good idea.
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