Publisher: Berkley Heat
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher
THE DALTON BOYS ARE RIDING HARD…
The notorious Dalton Gang once ran wild through their home town of Crow Hill, Texas. Now they own the run-down Dalton Ranch—and they work hard to keep it up. But when the right women come along, they still know how to play hard too…
Casper Jayne turned his back on Crow Hill nearly 20 years ago for a career in the professional bull riding circuit. Now he’s back—and Faith Mitchell is having a tough time thinking about anything else. She’s had a crush on him since high school, when he was part of her brother’s gang—and off limits. Since then, Faith has learned not to take risks. And Casper’s reckless, hard-living ways are causing her to think twice about trying to make the fantasies she has for this powerfully physical man come true.
Casper said he’d wait for a sign—but Faith is determined not to give him the satisfaction. Then an unexpected encounter finally penetrates her reserve, and the two of them ignite an intense passion. Faith finds herself holding on for a wild ride that breaks all the rules. But when the hot affair burns out of control, Faith will have to learn to take the reins…
This blurb came from the author’s website.
I have had my eye on Kent’s Dalton Gang series since they I spotted them before the first book Undeniable was available for pre-order. They looked like they would push all the right buttons for me. I adore the elderly couple who saves a group of boys from a potential life of crime and then the boys after they are grown up come back to help the elderly couple or to continue their dream trope. In this particular case it was three friends so close they were like brothers who all left town after high school. They had a variety of experiences roaming the west but none of them really made it big. Then they received word that the elderly couple, Tess and Dave Dalton died and they were the owners of their ranch, Dalton Ranch. The three men decided to pool their resources and try to bring the ranch back to the level that Tess and Dave would have wanted. Along the way each member of the Dalton Gang has to face their past, a woman who makes them dream of their future and determine if they are going to seize that future or let it pass them by. Unbreakable is the second of the Dalton Gang novels and focuses on Casper and Faith…the younger sister of another member of the gang. I really enjoyed Undeniable so I was really looking forward to reading Unbreakable, unfortunately I had a few problems with the characters which negatively impacted my enjoyment and there were some dangling threads that hopefully will be resolved in book three.
Casper had been badly abused growing up. His mother left for Vegas years ago and Casper was the new owner of the land and property that he grew up on. Both of which were in extremely poor condition and full of nightmares from his childhood. For some reason, I still don’t completely understand why, instead of destroying the house and selling the land or building a new one he decided to restore it. Casper felt strongly enough his need to restore it that he tried everything he could think of to get the money needed for the restoration. This included asking Faith, the loan officer at the local bank, for a loan. When she refused he picked up a second job breaking horses for another local rancher. That was on top of his work on the Dalton Ranch. He ended up joining in a private partnership with Faith to restore his house. Casper had what appeared to be a deep-seated need to be a hero or at least someone who made a difference in someone else’s life but because of his childhood and his coping mechanisms he used words to try to avoid commitment but his actions would sometimes contradict his words. As a result he blew hot and cold towards Faith, which drove me slightly insane. It also meant that to me the things he said to her and how he treated her at time I could not understand why she kept coming back. Granted I never had a crush that lasted for decades so could have played a large role in my inability to relate.
Faith also had events in her past that she was ashamed of and tried to conceal from everyone even as she continued to punish herself for her participation in those actions. She grew up with a crush on Casper (big brother’s best friend **melt**) but he never acted on any of her hints. Since he returned to Crow Hill, Faith has been struggling with her attraction to him. Her situation was complicated by the fact that she served as the loan officer for the gang’s attempt to revive the Dalton Ranch. When Casper asked her for a loan for his house she had to refuse but as their relationship changed she ended up offering him a private business arrangement using her money. Faith also blew hot and cold because she didn’t want anyone, especially her older brother Boone, to know they were “involved” but she also never stopped Casper when he initiated sex in a relatively public area or in the Dalton Ranch house with her brother sleeping in another room. Faith also took all of the venom that Casper spewed and refused to let that end them even when he did or said things that to me were unforgiveable. The more I think about Faith’s character the more I hope her refusal to give up was because she knew Casper when and I never had a sense of young Casper. However, I do think that she should have made him grovel a few times instead of continually trying to take care of him.
Kent focused on Casper, Faith and by extension Boone but she also provided glimpses into the lives of other Crow Hill residents. It was good to see the friendship between the girlfriends continued even with one in an established relationship and Faith trying to work through her relationship with Casper. I was hoping to see more about some of the events that shook up Crow Hill in Undeniable but other than a few mentions they took a backseat in this installment. I was looking forward to their progression in addition to being very curious about the historical society and their potential tie to Casper’s house. Despite the problems I had with a few characters and the dangling threads Kent did write a mostly satisfying middle book. Both Casper and Faith started their journey towards healing, forgiving themselves and breaking out of their self-destructive mindsets, which was lovely to see. Faith also took steps to heal her relationship with her father and Boone by openly talking about her past incident and making sure they knew she didn’t blame them. Casper also took steps towards committing to more than his fellow Dalton Gang friends. I continue to look forward to book three because I not only want to see what Kent is going to do to poor Boone but I also have a few other characters that I would love to see gain their own HEAs.
I give Unbreakable a B-