Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Review: 'Secluded Valley' by Arabella Steedly

Florida author Arabella Steedly has published four novels so far – and her themes of choice are westerns and military romance novels. Raised in the Midwest, Arabella now lives in Florida where she can be outside all year while dreaming up her stories. In SECLUDED VALLEY she continues he fascination with cowboys.

Though the story focuses on Clay, she opens her book with a winsome description of her heroine Tess – ‘Tess galloped up to the hitching post in front of the barn at Secluded Valley Ranch and jumped down from Daffodil, her pinto mare. After leading the horse into her stall, and feeding her a flake of hay, she blew a lock of flaxen hair out of her eyes. Glancing down at her wristwatch, she noticed it was four o’clock. It was her responsibility to have dinner on the table for her father and brothers before seven, and she was running thirty minutes behind. She pulled open the screen door at the back of the house and let it slam shut with a bang behind her. After washing her hands at the kitchen sink, she noticed the mail was laying on the table. Picking it up, she began thumbing through the envelopes and papers. “Oh, no, not another one,” she gasped. For the second time in a week, they had received an invoice from the feed store stamped in red with Past Due. When she had asked her father about the first one, he shrugged his shoulders, and said, “Oh, I must have gotten busy and forgot to pay it.” And in that short space she created the atmosphere of the story that follows.

According to her synopsis, she stars with TESS – ‘She didn’t want to give herself away to the man who was buying their ranch, but her desire for Clay was overwhelming. Tess was afraid to tell her daddy and brothers she had fallen in love and was carrying his baby. Her family had been struggling and was close to bankruptcy, so they had put the ranch up for sale. When a New York City billionaire showed up wanting to buy the ranch Tess was furious at first until he gazed at her with his sexy green eyes.’ Then on to CLAY – ‘He marveled at Tess' naiveté and found her sexy as hell. For a second, he tried imagining her in New York City wearing stiletto heels and tight skirts but found it hard to do. He didn't care. He wanted her for his own. And Clay always got what he wanted. Her shapely long legs were accentuated by the way her Wrangler jeans were tucked into her cowboy boots. She was a tall, curvaceous woman with full breasts—just the way he liked them. Already Clay's mind had drifted from business to naughty thoughts of pleasuring himself with her. Then he shook his head—he had intended to leave his womanizing ways behind when he came to Colorado.’

Lots of great dialogue, erotica, and a fine ending for a challenged romance. Grady Harp, November 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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