Series: Hell's Valley
Author: Jillian David
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 14, 2016
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Garrison Taggart doesn’t have time to deal with touchy-feely junk like “trust issues” or “feelings.” His dad’s health is waning and the family’s Wyoming ranch is being sabotaged. Too bad his supernatural ability to tell when someone is lying has been exactly zero help in ferreting out the betrayer so far. So, when sweet schoolteacher Sara Lopez raises concerns about his son being bullied, who can blame a guy for getting a little testy?
The last thing Sara needs is any more attention or gossip after her recent breakup with big-shot rancher Hank Brand. So her attraction to surly but sexy Garrison, Hank’s rival, is entirely unwanted. When she uncovers an insane plot to kidnap the Taggart boy and throws herself in harm’s way to protect him, Garrison must risk his deepest secret and his own life to save the people he cares for the most. But will his heroics cost him everything?
***copy provided by the author***
One of Sara’s students is acting a little weird, so Sara uses the opportunity of a parent-teacher conference to inform the boy’s father of the fact. But Garrison Taggart doesn’t take her offer of maybe providing the child with professional help easily and Sara, despite her misgivings about the child’s wellbeing, thinks this is the end of it.
Little does she know she’ll soon be embroiled in a feud between two families. A feud that might prove deadly...
I don’t know what to think about this one. And I have no idea how to classify it.
It wasn’t a suspense, since the villain is out in the open, only his motive (beside being crazy) remains a mystery.
It wasn’t truly a paranormal, since the hero had a completely useless ability that came conveniently handy only toward the end in a very deus ex machina move.
There was a paranormal element with the villain (the babbling could be discounted, because he was a psycho), but I couldn’t help shake the feeling of having read a similar scene in one of Christine Feehan’s many novels.
And it wasn’t a romance because there wasn’t a romance to be found. Or at least, I couldn’t find it. I felt no vibe between the characters beside attraction (and even that, squint and you miss it). I didn’t know what drew the two of them together but lust—he probably hadn’t gotten laid since the wife left him, and she thought he was hot. There appeared to be no emotion behind it.
The guy was an asshole. After the first scene, I thought he was only having a bad day. Turns out, he had a bad life, because he was a constant asshole. Trust issues or not. As hot as he might be, in a few years that hotness will cool, but he’ll still be an asshole. Yes, he loved his son, but that was pretty much the only redeeming quality he had.
The heroine was an idiot. There’s no other was to say it. Selfish, spineless, insecure with issues disproportionate to what her life story is supposed to be. She had no idea what she wanted, she was inconsistent in her actions, behavior, and thought, and she had no agency. She was in the story in addition to not because of. Take her out of the equation, and everything still happens. Maybe not the same, but it still happens. The feud was there before she appeared, the plot involving the child was in place if she was there or not...She seemed to be an addition to the plot to create more conflict, to provide “relaxation” for the hero and another focal point for the villain.
The villain who, instead of creepy, intense and ominous came across as merely crazy. A template for an abusive ex who can’t accept the new guy in the woman’s life. The added paranormal twist to the guy somehow didn’t work for me, gave me a feeling of déjà vu, appeared heaped on top of everything else, and made the story even more overblown that it already was.
The rest of the characters were simply there, once again with no agency, just extras on set.
Combine all of the above, add to it the stop-and-start pacing, and I couldn’t wait for the story to end. It’s not good when reading becomes a chore.