by Tessa Layne
Series: Cowboys of the Flint Hills #1
Published by Shady Layne Media on December 1, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Cowboys
Source: The Author
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The Rancher's Son
Cowboy Blake Sinclaire is determined not to repeat the sins of his father. That means choosing to love no one and save the settling down for his younger brothers. But one woman has thrown a wrench in those plans – Maddie Hansen, the sexy scientist who also happens to be the daughter of his family’s greatest enemy.
The Woman He Shouldn't Want
Physicist Maddie Hansen vows she’ll never come back to the small town where she grew up - Prairie, Kansas. She’d rather stay in a dead-end job than stay trapped in a loveless marriage as a rancher’s wife. But she can’t stay away from Blake, especially after he saved her father’s life.
Will their love take them supernova, or collapse into a black hole?
Maddie's father owns land that used to belong to the Sinclaires, and Blake will do anything to get it back - including talking Maddie into a fake engagement. But Blake’s got secrets. Big secrets. And when they come to light, will their love withstand the shockwaves?
Prairie Heat is book #1 in Tessa Layne’s Cowboys of the Flint Hills series. The story gets off to a pretty hot start (always a plus, in my book) and continues with some strong sexual tension between the main characters. It all leads up to a complex plot twist that I didn’t see coming. The strong romantic elements, combined with a interesting cast of supporting characters, make Prairie Heat a great read. I finished reading this with a happy sigh.
The Sinclaires and Hansens of Prairie, Kansas, have been enemies for years. The rivalry dates back to a land dispute, when Jack Sinclaire lost a piece of land to Warren Hansen in a poker game. Ever since then, the two families have been at odds.
Maddie Sinclaire is a particle physicist working at Fermilab outside Chicago. Originally from Prairie, she was a nerdy kid who was often picked on by her classmates. She couldn’t wait to escape the small town she grew up in so that she could pursue her dreams.
Cowboy and rancher Blake Sinclaire grew up in Prairie as well. The son of a rancher, Blake has spent his whole life looking out for his mother and later his younger brothers, after their parents passed away. Blake’s father had a notorious reputation for being a mean SOB, so Blake took it upon himself to take care of the family when his father wouldn’t.
Maddie and Blake run into each other again when Blake is in Chicago to visit Fermilab, which purchases bison from Blake’s ranch. (Sidenote: prior to reading this book, I had no idea that Fermilab actually maintains bison at their site in real life. The more you know!) At a cocktail party, Maddie and Blake see each other again for the first time in fifteen years. Although they’ve never been involved romantically before, there’s a tangible, definite attraction that passes between them. Also, there’s almost an element of the forbidden because their families have been enemies for so long.
The story heats up quickly when Maddie and Blake share their first kiss. However, their romance is a slow burn and the author does a great job maintaining an increasing sexual tension between the two of them.
Along with the romance, there’s an interesting subplot at work involving their respective families. Maddie’s father suddenly falls ill and it’s Blake, of all people, who comes to the rescue. This throws Maddie and Blake into closer proximity that only becomes more complicated when Maddie’s father orchestrates a deal with Blake–one that results in Blake concocting a fake engagement with Maddie. But as they present a fake relationship to the people of Prairie, Maddie and Blake begin to realize that their feelings for each other are starting to seem real.
An enemies-to-lovers romance, combined with a rich cast of supporting characters and some huge family secrets, make Prairie Heat a complex story that I enjoyed. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, which will feature Maddie’s best friend and Blake’s brother. Prairie Heat gets a big thumbs up from me.
I received a review copy of this book from the author.
Rating: 5 stars