Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Review: 'Mystic Valley' by Arabella Steedly

Florida author Arabella Steedly has published five 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 MYSTIC VALLEY she continues he fascination with cowboys.

Though the story focuses on alpha cowboy Clyde, she opens her book with a winsome description of her heroine Jade – ‘Being my parents’ only child, Daddy had big expectations from me. He had dreamed that one day I would take over his business, carry on our family legacy. But I was never interested. Manufacturing tractors was too boring for me. When I got into art school, I had broken Daddy’s heart. It was only because of Mother that he even continued to speak to me. And now that she had passed away; other than the occasional phone call and the Christmas card, he wasn’t interested in my life anymore. An artists’ struggling lifestyle was beyond his understanding. He wanted his daughter to make money; work with him to ensure his legacy. “I’m not going to be able to pay this month’s rent, and Daddy refuses to send me any more money,” I explained dropping my gaze to my lap.’ So we have an artist who needs money and a man

According to her synopsis, she stars with Jade – ‘My Daddy lied! He was a billionaire! After finishing art school, Daddy said he was broke and arranged to send me to Montana to marry a rancher who was much older than I. I convinced myself I’d be all right and went along with Daddy’s plan. Until I saw the rough, tough cowboy come galloping up to the gates of Mystic Ranch to meet me. Craning my neck to look up at him, I stood frozen to the spot. I blushed to the deepest red when his glacier blue eyes looked me up and down. His hand was warm and big, as he clutched mine hoisting me up to straddle his mighty steed. I trembled when I was told to circle my arms around his waist. I could feel the rugged muscles under his denim shirt causing a shock to run down my spine. I bounced a little with every gallop as we rode away as one. I shook my head in silent disbelief. He wasn’t old or disgusting…in fact he was quite the opposite. Why did a man like Clyde need a mail order bride? What had Daddy done to me?

Lots of great dialogue, erotica, and a fine ending for a challenged romance. Grady Harp, April 18

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.