Review: Conquering the Cowboy by Kelli Ireland

conquering the cowboyTitle: Conquering the Cowboy

Author: Kelli Ireland

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Search and Rescue Team Leader Taylor Williams

The hero: Climber/Rancher Quinn Munroe

The blurb: When a mission goes disastrously wrong, search-and-rescue team lead Taylor Williams is left with indescribable terror at the prospect of climbing. But she knows she has to face her fear to overcome it. Now she’s at a ranch in New Mexico, where her climbing recertification is in the hands of cowboy climber Quinn Monroe. Only this devilishly handsome rancher is about as friendly as a spur in the backside

As they prepare for the climb, Taylor can’t ignore Quinn’s rugged physicality. The scorching heat between them helps distract Taylor from her fear, but her growing feelings make spending time with him dangerous. In the end, conquering her past may be a small feat compared to conquering this cowboy…

Standalone or series: Standalone

The review: This was an unusual book for the Blaze line, in that it was emotionally intense. You wouldn’t want to be reading this book if you are in a funk or feeling down, because there’s a lot to deal with.

Taylor Williams was leading a team of six in a rescue operation that went horribly wrong. Not only did she lose all five of her team members, she also lost the helicopter pilot and the man they were all rescuing. She was badly injured herself physically, but mentally and emotionally she’s scarred. Her guilt is overwhelming her to the point where she can’t function. However, she’s decided that she must get back in the saddle and back to her job, but in order to do that, she needs to be recertified to climb.

Quinn Monroe was a well-known professional climber, but eighteen months previously his father was killed in an accident on the family ranch while trying to fix a windmill. Quinn blames himself, because he thinks that if he’d been there, he’d have been the one fixing the windmill and, being a climber, he wouldn’t have fallen.

So you have two lost souls, both suffering terrible, crippling losses and trying to rebuild their lives. Their first meeting ends up with them clashing, but as they spend more time together and find out about each other’s grief, they bond in a unique way. I found this book hard to read – not because it was poorly written or the storyline sucked, but because I have recently lost a parent, so I can understand their grief in many ways.

Taylor and Quinn need each other, and they’re drawn together. Taylor has meltdowns where she goes into catatonic states when something triggers a memory of that terrible day (and she can’t remember what happened, probably because her brain has compartmentalised it to protect her from losing it), and Quinn manages to bring her out of it and take care of her. She lets him in, and he puts down his walls, too. He’s also finding the knowledge of his mother having moved on with a new companion hard to take, too, so he’s struggling a lot as well.

Some scenes are very hard to read with their intensity, but do stick it out. This is a really good book worth reading.

Pulled Under by Kelli Ireland

pulled underTitle: Pulled Under

Author: Kelli Ireland

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2015

The heroine: IRS Senior Field Investigator Harper Banks

The hero: Stripper and part club owner Levi Walsh

The blurb: Levi Walsh is the part-owner of a bar featuring the sexiest exotic male dancers – including himself. But as Levi goes over the books, he realises something is not right. Then the IRS comes knocking…

Investigator Harper Banks is determined not to notice that Levis is seriously sexy. But even as his skilled seduction melts her rigid self-control, Harper is certain Levi is lying to her. Which means she’ll have to strip him down… and pull him under!

Standalone or series: This is book three in the Pleasure Before Business series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Okay, let’s check out the cover first. Yum! Now, the title. One thing I have noticed about the majority of the Mills & Boon books is that the titles are, well, awful. I sometimes wonder if the powers that be have some sort of competition going to see who can come up with the worst title. Half the time, it doesn’t even have anything to do with the story. I’m really not loving the title for this book. Pulled under what?

Moving on. Oh, Harper and Levi. They both have trust issues, poor dears, and rightly so. They’ve both been betrayed by people they should have been able to trust, Harper more so, which means she finds it hard to trust Levi and the feelings she develops for him. It doesn’t help that Levi lies and withholds information she needs to do her job, and of course, when it finally comes out, she arrests his ass as any good IRS agent would do… even though she’s already in love with him.

Throw in some seriously shifty partners on his part, a somewhat strange one on hers, and it’s a wonder they weren’t both nervous wrecks by the end of it. They’re both miserable for a little while after the investigation goes south, but in the end, Levi is not going to give up on Harper and he goes to get his girl.

He talks her into attending a show the first night she’s there and involves her in the ridiculously hot dance he does, which is fun. I do think the way they sparred on the first day was a little unprofessional on her part, and the way he called her “Harp” here and there was annoying, but otherwise it was a good read and the sex scenes were hot *g*