Loving Cara (Love Under the Big Sky #1), by Kristen Proby
Publish Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4 STARS
((From Goodreads) Josh King is an expert at running his family’s multi-million dollar ranch in Montana. (And all that outside manual labor has done wonders for sculpting his six-foot-three body, too.) But as sure footed as he is when it comes to the ranch, Josh doesn’t know anything about how to deal with an adolescent boy—so when his twelve-year-old nephew, Seth, is dropped off on his doorstep, looking scared and acting surly as hell, Josh knows he needs help in straightening him out.
Cara Donovan loves her quiet life as a teacher in her sleepy hometown, so she jumps at the chance to make a little money over the summer as a tutor. But when she learns she’ll be teaching Josh King’s nephew, Cara’s sweet summer job gets a little bit hotter. Cara tries to focus all her attention on tutoring Seth, but Josh proves to be a delicious distraction, while Josh’s memories of the shy girl he once teased in high school are nothing like the beautiful woman he’s facing now. Can he persuade her that there’s more between them than a summer fling?
With a series name like Love Under the Big Sky, how could I NOT want to read this book with the beautiful cover. The fact that it's penned by Kristen Proby was just icing on this beefy cowboy cupcake (if only that were a real thing). Even if her name wasn't on the cover, I would have known almost immediately that this was a Kristen Proby book. The word "formula" has somehow become a bad word in books. And, I think this is the perfect example of a formula that works time and time again.
I always know when I pick up a Kristen Proby book that the location will be rich and vibrant. That there will be an emotionally unavailable man that is gorgeous and inherently good. That the heroine is strong and capable. And that, as always, true love never runs smooth.
Loving Cara didn't disappoint at all. If I had it in hard copy format, I would've plowed through it in a day, no doubt. As it was, I found myself coming up with excuses to listen to the audio version, both because the story was captivating and because the audio version was so well done.
Josh was a great hero. He's everything you would expect in a series called Love Under the Big Sky. He's a big, strong rancher who is confident and commanding and sexy. I love that he's not this stereotypical cowboy. He wears a baseball cap instead of a Stetson. In addition to taking care of cattle, he's also taking care of his 12-year-old nephew. And, although Josh is painted as something of a womanizer, he's not cocky or douchey about it.
Cara isn't a stranger to Josh. They went to high school together and she was friends with him and his twin brother Zach. Cara's unpopularity from 10 years ago has stayed with her, so when Josh hires her to tutor his troubled nephew, but starts showing interest in her outside of her job duties, she's hard pressed to believe them.
I get Cara. I've been there myself. She's the girl who has grown into her looks and into a little bit of self esteem, but can't understand what a hot, successful man like Josh sees in her. But, Cara is good at her job. She's a great teacher, and she's wonderful at getting Seth, who has been through a horrible experience at the hands of his witch of a mother, to open up to the people who love him.
I loved how Cara and Josh were thrown together and how that one unexpected incident turned on the alpha protector in him. And, of course, once Cara and Josh are stuck under the same roof, it was only a matter of time before they were burning up the sheets. And "burn" is a appropriate word - these two were so hot together.
Best of all, they seemed to be fairly good at communicating. They talked a lot about problems they were having and how they were feeling. Of course, there were a few bumps in the road, but they seemed to overcome those fairly quickly and get back on track. Like most books from Kristen Proby, the drama and angst quotient was fairly low, which I definitely appreciated. It's why I sought out this book and decided to listen to it when I did, in fact. I love that I can count on her books to not get me all worked up and ready to strangle someone or cry a river of tears in my beer. There's enough drama to keep me engaged and interested. And the characters are extremely likable, so I want them to succeed together from the very beginning.
I also loved the nuggets from future books dropped in here and there. We have a great lead-in to both Lauren's and Jillian's stories, and I can't wait to get to them soon. I so enjoyed the audio versions, that I will most likely get those books in audio as well. It was my first time listening to both Elizabeth Louise and Deacon Lee, and I thought they did an outstanding job. I do love having two narrators read books done in dual POV, and these two were perfect for Josh and Cara. I'm happy to see they both narrate the other Love Under the Big Sky books as well, so thankfully, I'll get to spend more time with them soon.