Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publish Date: 5 Aug
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Amber Jameson has always thought of her best friend Cade as an older brother. A really hot older brother. But growing up in foster care, she learned to rely only on herself. As much as she likes stealing glances at Cade’s chiseled jaw and painted-on jeans, she resents the way he swoops in like a superhero to fix things for her.
When former rodeo rival Jim Davis starts harassing Amber to sell her grandfather’s failing ranch, Cade swoops in once again. To send Jim on his way, Cade pretends to be Amber’s boyfriend, moving in to help fix the place up. With her grandfather behind the idea, Amber and Cade have to keep the charade going—whether she likes it or not.
But as their make-believe romance starts to heat up, maybe Cade and Amber will learn to admit that they both could use a little saving…
This blurb came from the author’s website.
I have been enjoying this series since I discovered it last year. Along the way, I fell for the struggling family of siblings who were working to keep the family ranch going, deal with chronic injuries, and some other surprising life events. Cade, crippled in a rodeo accident before this series opens, had finally reached a point in his mental recovery that enabled him to move beyond the driving urge of revenge for his deliberate “accident” and start focusing on life again. Amber, on the other hand, was trying to help her grandfather hold onto his ranch and avoid ruining her friendship with Cade by giving in to her attraction.
Cade was slowly adjusting to his new reality as a former rodeo star dealing with pain and muscle weakness for the rest of his life when he discovered he needed to turn his focus and drive towards something else in life. His attempts to assist the family ranch with ideas to diversify their efforts were shut down as his older brother was unable to wrap his mind around the changing family dynamic. So when Amber was being hassled by one of his former rodeo rivals, he finally found somewhere to make a difference. I loved how his best attempts to help Amber kept being twisted and resulted in changing the direction he thought he was headed.
Amber was a bit more complicated. She was extremely independent and insisted on taking care of everything herself. Given her childhood, this was really understandable. While she and Cade were best friends, she refused to lean on him for anything. As a result, I got a great kick out of her reactions as Cade started infiltrating other aspects of her life and not staying in the “friend zone.” Her irritation with him as he intervened, let alone kept insisting on helping out, was great. So was her mortification when her grandfather (loved him, by the way) supported Cade.
“And you”–her grandpa directed his focus onto her–“you said you didn’t have time for a boyfriend.” He walked down the stairs and toward her, and all she could do was look at him. “I’m glad you weren’t telling the truth this time,” he said.
Amber and Cade’s interaction provided me with fits of giggles in addition to tender let- me-reach-for-a-tissue moments. I will never look at bacon the same way. The double entendres as Amber tried to avoid thinking about or referring to the moment when their friendship changed made me laugh every time I thought of them after I finished reading. Their angry sexy times and the tension leading up to them were intense. It was as if one or the other had to instigate an argument until they forgot about their fears of ruining their friendship and let what they were really feeling emerge.
Yates did a great job with changing family dynamics and showing how the impact took a toll on everyone. It was easy to see people were clinging to the familiar and resisting change yet when outside threats emerged I enjoyed seeing them bond together. Yates also included a sub-romance which I found extremely sweet. It was so separate from the family controversy and yet fit nicely with all of the other activity. I really enjoy how Yates fleshed out the Mitchell family and never let them settle down into peaceful domesticity, but kept making them deal with a variety of different life events.
Unbroken was another enjoyable installment in Yates’s Silver Creek series. I was glad to see formerly bitter Cade finding a new interest in life. And friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes when done well. Yates did it quite well **grin**. I am very curious to see what happens next in Silver Creek because things are still unsettled. Once more, Yates has reminded me of why I anxiously await each new installment.
I give Unbroken an A-