In Cold River, sometimes forbidden love is the sweetest of them all…
Perennial good girl Amanda Kittredge knows that her longtime crush on Brady Everett was never really supposed to go anywhere. But when Brady comes home to Cold River during Amanda’s first attempt at independence, well, who better to teach her about rebellion than her older brother’s bad-boy best friend?
Brady’s plans did not include being forced to work the family homestead for a year–and yet, here he is. And, to make matters worse, his best friend’s innocent little sister is making a menace of herself in the most grown-up, tempting ways. When Amanda begs Brady to teach her about men, he knows he should refuse. But could Brady’s greatest temptation be his salvation?
(From the book blurb)
This is book three in the Cold River Ranch series which focuses on the lives of Gray, Ty, and Brady Everett after their abusive alcoholic father dies. All books in this series can be read as standalones, so I will try to avoid giving any spoilers, apart from this one: the last one is the best!
Like his older brothers, Brady Everett had a very unhapy childhood. His mother Bettina left with no explanation and planted a seed of doubt deep in his soul. Was it something he did? Was he so unworthy of his mother’s love? What kind of woman leaves her children to fend off the emotional abuse of their mean and manipulative father? When Brady got a full college scholarship, he just laughed it off in contempt. When Brady sent checks to help financially, his father tore them in pieces. It was as if Brady didn’t merit his love or attention. Not surprisingly, Brady decided to stay in Denver after graduation and make his life there. When Amos died and Gray and Ty needed Brady’s help, he came back home running. This was what he had been waiting for for years, but it isn’t easy to change attitudes and relationships that have been ingrained for such long time. The brothers continue treating Brady as a teenager and dismiss his ideas on how to modernize the ranch to ensure its future prosperity.
Brady’s best friend and neighbour Riley Kittredge asks to keep an eye on his 22-year-old sister Amanda to make sure she doesn’t attract wrong kind of attention or get in trouble in the dodgy bar where she has just started working as a barmaid. It does seem like a reasonable request. After all, Brady and Riley once changed Amanda’s diapers. The only problem is Amanda has grown into a very attractive young woman and suddenly Brady is aware of it.
Amanda is the baby of her family. The youngest child and the only girl in her family, she has been sheltered and protected…and denied any kind of independent experience. Tired of everybody thinking she is a twelve-year-old, Amanda gets a job which comes with a little apartment and moves out. Imagine her brothers’ dismay! Amanda wants to live her own life and make her own mistakes, and that includes falling in love and dating. The man she has her sights on is her brother’s best friend…Brady. Charming, reliable, good-looking, and safe. A perfect man to teach her things she only heard of.
Brady’s dilemma is clear. Amanda is his best friend’s little sister, so by definition she is off-limits…unless his intentions are serious. But Brady himself isn’t sure whether he is going to stay or leave for Denver.
Despite Amanda and Brady’s ten year age difference, they do have something in common – both have an eerily similar experience of being ignored and undervalued by their older siblings. Brady knows he needs to work out his feelings towards his father, the ranch and his brothers- his character is very well-rounded. But Amanda just comes across as very young and naive for a twenty-two year old, even taking into account the fact that her brothers are indeed overbearing and patronizing.
I loved the advice Amanda gets from her friends, including Abby and Hannah Everett on the many factors to take in consideration in romantic matters. What Amanda really wants is to make her own choices, whether they turn out right or wrong. But is Brady the right man for her, will their relationship, based on chemistry and sexual attraction, become a solid foundation for anything more than just a fling? Will their age difference and different levels of maturity become a problem in the long run or will Brady and Amanda complement each other?
I loved the small town setting and all the descriptions of nature and people who live and work in harmony with it. A very satisfying conclusion to a great romantic series with unique characters and complex family dynamics. I will be looking forward to reading any future novels written by Caitlin Crews.
Thank you to Edelweiss and St.Martin’s paperbacks for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
- Have you read The Last Real Cowboy or is it on your tbr?
- Have you read any other books by Caitlin Crews?
- How do you feel about ‘the forbidden love’ trope?