Review: The Rancher Bodyguard by Carla Cassidy

the rancher bodyguardTitle: The Rancher Bodyguard

Author: Carla Cassidy

Mills & Boon imprint: Romantic Suspense

Year of publication: 2009

The heroine: Shop owner Grace Covington

The hero: Lawyer/Rancher Charlie Black

The blurb: Grace Covington vowed never again to lay eyes on the arrogant, hotshot defense attorney who’d broken her heart. But everything changed when her stepfather was murdered, her sister found holding the bloody knife. Charlie Black was the only one who could help.

Accepting the case would shatter the simple life Charlie established after taking charge of the family ranch in Cotter Creek, but he couldn’t deny Grace’s pleas. Discovering who was bent on destroying the Covington clan might be the only way to prove he was a changed man capable of protecting her–body and soul.

Standalone or series: Book eight in the Wild West Bodyguards series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: Grace and Charlie dated for six months and broke up eighteen months before the book starts. They apparently had different ideas about the relationship at the time – she was in love with him and serious about it, he thought it was a just a casual thing (but was secretly in love with her) – and while the relationship was intense and the sex was amazing, they lived in different places so they only saw each other two weekends a month. Grace decided to surprise him one weekend when she said she couldn’t make it and caught him in bed with some redhead he’d drunkenly picked up at a bar. Cue end of the relationship.

When Grace’s stepfather, William, is found murdered and her teenage sister, Hope, is accused of the crime, Grace turns to Charlie because he used to be a successful defense attorney. She makes it clear she’s only interested in him helping Hope clear her name… over and over and over. Their mother, Elizabeth, disappeared without a trace just before Grace started dating Charlie, but she never told him what had happened. It seems they didn’t communicate a whole lot while they were together, and that’s a big reason why they crashed and burned.

While Hope is in hospital, because she has been drugged (but the popo still think she’s guilty of the crime), someone tries to take out Grace as well. Charlie becomes her bodyguard and tries his best to prove he’s not the same man he was when they split, but Grace insists on bringing up his cheating time and again. I get it. He cheated on her and she was devastated, but if she really felt that strongly she could have found another attorney – Charlie couldn’t have been the only one in the state. The constant catty remarks from Grace became grating, and when he finally called her on it I cheered.

There’s a whole subplot involving the missing mother, which I correctly guessed, as I did the identity of the killer and why they did it. Grace finally decided she could let go of her anger, so they got their happily ever after. This book was okay. Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it? No.