Series: Malloys of Montana #1
Published by Forever on April 26, 2016
Source: the publisher
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Wild Horses Couldn't Drag Him Away From Her
Raised beneath the big Montana sky, Matt Malloy was never meant to be a jet-setting businessman. But he'll do anything to protect the family ranch he shares with his brothers. Coming home after a two-week trip to Italy, Matt wants nothing more than to shed his suit and tie for a well-worn pair of jeans and ride his horse up to the cabin for some alone time. The last thing he needs is a big-city lawyer invading his privacy-even if she is the most beautiful woman he's ever seen . . .
Vanessa Kettering has devoted her life to her work. As a passionate animal rights defender, she doesn't have room for anything else. But from the moment she meets Matt, she's taken with this rugged cowboy's lazy smile and tender touch. When a raging storm traps them inside his cabin for the night, one steamy kiss leads to another, sweeping them away with a force that's as wild and untamed as the land he loves. But when the morning light comes, will she lose her heart?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I adore books and series with cowboys and ranch settings, so I’m thrilled to be catching The Malloys of Montana series at its beginning. Matt is a great series opener, taking the time to introduce the large and loving Malloy family while also providing a sweet, suspenseful love story.
Matt Malloy is the oldest of the Malloy brothers, of the famous Malloy ranchers in Glacier Ridge, Montana. His parents died when he was just twelve, leaving Matt to take on a role-model position among his brothers, and his grandparents and uncle helped raise them. Matt is extremely loyal to both his family and to their land, and their family is highly respected by pretty much everyone they’ve come in contact with and dealt with, even on an international basis. One day after arriving home from a trip away for the family business, Matt agrees to an interview with an animal rights attorney in place of his grandmother to discuss wildlife issues for an animal rights group out of Washington DC. Matt is not expecting a female attorney, and certainly not one that is as sure of herself as Vanessa Kettering.
The meeting is to be conducted off-site from the main house, near a cabin in the wilderness part of the ranch. When a storm comes and leaves the two stranded and unreachable by vehicle or plane, they’re stuck together for a while, which means that they have a chance to get to know one another beyond animal rights. When the storm is over and Vanessa is ready to return home, she learns some bad news: her father, a prominent Chicago criminal attorney, has received a threat on her life from one of the criminals that he is prosecuting, and Vanessa is in need of a safe house until her safety is secured. The Malloy’s make an offer for her to stay at their ranch because it is more comfortable and the brothers know they can provide security for her on their remote land. Vanessa accepts the offer since staying will enable her to be able to study the wild animals that she represents in her line of work (plus she can see more of the handsome Matt Malloy). She accepts their offer, never expecting to fall in love with Matt, and also fall hard for the family and for the land.
Matt and Vanessa had a great attraction right away and their romance developed slowly; I liked this because it felt authentic to Matt’s slow and steady cowboy temperament and also to the ranch lifestyle. Vanessa fell for Matt’s family almost as hard as she fell for Matt, and I can understand why – they’re great. She fit in well there at the ranch.
This secondary cast is great. Matt’s brothers, Luke and Reed, are funny, loyal, and hard-working, and I’m eager to read their own stories as they are awarded books of their own in this series. Matt’s grandparents, Gram Gracie and Frankie, were so much fun: Gracie is the only woman on the ranch, so she’s fierce, independent, and well-respected. She can hold her own in the hills among the animals. Gracie studies the wild horses and has built a respected name for herself in the animal world. I think that she is one of my favorite characters in this book. She was a good support for Vanessa, particularly since Vanessa lived with only her father back in Chicago. Yancy, the family’s resident chef, was also a lot of fun.
I was surprised at how suspenseful this book was – I don’t often read romantic suspense and may not have picked this one up had I known it was categorized as suspenseful – if this were the case, I would have missed out on something good. It wasn’t crazy-suspenseful or nail-biting, but Vanessa is hiding out from criminals that have threatened her life, so there are some scenes (particularly toward the end) that caused me to turn off my audiobook and read in print because I can read quicker that way – I had to KNOW what was going to happen and what was coming next and the audiobook was slowing me down in the suspenseful parts.
I’m excited about this new series. Matt is not a bossy alpha male (he’s super gentlemanly and respectful, like the rest of the Malloy family) and this is not an over-the-top too-sexy, makes-you-blush read. This is a rugged, works-outside-on-the-land cowboy romance with plenty of swoony scenes and lots of kisses and doggone it, I’m ready for the next book RIGHT NOW. I recommend Matt by R.C. Ryan for fans of contemporary romance stories, particularly cowboy romances, ranch settings, and readers that enjoy great family relationships.
The audiobook format of Matt by R.C. Ryan is published by Hachette Audio and is 9 hours and 33 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Loretta Rawlins who is new to me as a narrator. I enjoyed listening to Ms. Rawlins bring this story to life, particularly when there was talk of riding horses into the wilderness or in the hills, and I think she did a great job voicing Vanessa Kettering and Gram Gracie. If I could change anything about this book, I almost think that I would wish for alternating POV’s with a male narrator voicing Matt Malloy’s parts since the book is named for the male lead BUT Ms. Rawlins did a nice job and I would certainly recommend this audiobook to fans of listening.