Best Review of A Kiss On Crimson Ranch (crimson, Colorado Book 1):
Most helpful customer reviews 3 of 3 people found the following review helpful. Charming Contemporary Western Romance That Will Lasso Your Heart! By Angel Wing Buyer A Kiss on Crimson Ranch is a charming contemporary western romance that will lasso your heart! A gorgeous Hollywood actress inherits a ranch run by a legendary & desperately handsome bullrider, so what's not to love? But wait a minute—the truth is that Sara's career tanked years ago & she's now a broke waitress, and Josh suffered a terrible injury that ended his professional bullriding for good. Here lies the genius of author Michelle Major: She looks beneath the gloss & bling of her characters' lives to show their very real vulnerabilities & genuine beating hearts. But don't underestimate her two main characters that the world is all-too willing to label as losers—they have enough hard-won grit & passion to tough out any obstacle & they demonstrate it in this novel in spades. I loved reading this heartwarming tale about how two determined people rise above everyone's expectations to rebuild their lives one step at a time, including their belief in true love. If you adore novels with wonderful characters who make you want to stand up & cheer, this is one book you won't want to miss. 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful. Loved it! By S. Frank Very good book. This is the story of a Hollywood actress and a rodeo star, but not really. Sara's career as an actress ended years ago, and Josh no longer rides the bulls. Sara has learned that she has an inheritance from her grandmother and has come to claim it. Since the end of her acting career she has been stuck as a waitress. She is broke, plus she feels responsible for her best friend's loss of savings, when she invested in a project with Sara that went horribly wrong. Sara just wants a chance to pay April back and move on with her life. But things aren't that simple. She now owns the ranch house, but the land is owned by Josh. He and her grandmother had started a guest ranch, giving him the opportunity to have a stable home for his thirteen year old daughter. He'll buy the house from her, but it will have to wait until the end of the summer, after the tourist season is done.I loved both Sara and Josh. Sara irritated me a little at the beginning, because she was so snarky about everything to do with the ranch. But it became obvious very quickly that her attitude was a way to hide her vulnerability. Sara had become an child actress because her mother pushed her into it. While she liked the acting itself, the lifestyle was awful and the things her mother did made it even worse. All Sara really wanted was to be accepted and loved for herself. When she met Josh, at first she only saw the guy who was standing in her way, but his determination to build a good life for his daughter touched her in ways she didn't want to admit. Her attraction to him was something she didn't want because it was a distraction from getting on with her life. She also identified a lot with Claire and her issues. She found herself wanting to help Josh and Claire repair their father/daughter relationship. She could see how much Josh loved Claire and wanted what was best for her.Josh wasn't happy to see Sara show up with her plans to sell the house. It would ruin the plans for the guest ranch and his opportunity to give Claire the home she hadn't had before. He desperately wants to give her that stability. Things that happened in his past have made him a bit over protective of her and it is creating a huge problem for them. If he can talk Sara into waiting to sell, he has a chance to make his plans happen. He doesn't expect to be attracted to her, and he certainly doesn't expect to find himself actually liking her. He knows she isn't planning to stay, and he doesn't consider himself a good relationship bet anyway, but it isn't long before he's wishing she would stick around.The developing relationship between Sara and Josh was great. Both had their issues, but when they worked together good things happened. I loved the way that Sara and her friend April jumped in and made themselves part of the guest ranch. Sara really didn't expect to like anything about it, but with Josh's help she really started to appreciate what was around her. Josh was so clueless about how to deal with his daughter that he ended up being grateful for Sara's help. Once they started to let down their guards a little, they discovered that they had a lot more in common than they expected. The love between them was strong, but both had trouble seeing past expectations to the possibilities that they could have.The secondary characters were just as well done as the main ones. Claire was a thirteen year old girl that actually acted like one. She had the volatile emotions, the sometimes sweet, sometimes nasty attitude so typical of the age. Sara saw enough of herself in Claire that her desire to help felt real and logical. Sara's mom was a real piece of work. It was easy to see how she had affected Sara and influenced Sara's life. I really found myself rooting for Sara to finally get the confidence to deal with Mom once and for all. Other characters, such as April and Josh's friends, made me look forward to the possibility that they will have stories of their own. 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Here's to second chances By tcsvt This is a well-paced, satisfying story about second chances and the courage we exhibit when we craft a life for ourselves based on the person we want to be, not the person we may have been or seemed in the past. Although in this case the characters are both former celebrities, the way the dynamic played out was more as people who had fallen dramatically from the top of their professions at an early age. So their stories were actually somewhat universal about the way we have these peaks and valleys – or at least stalling points – in our lives, but if we can identify a new dream (and have a good supportive friend to partner with on it, as they each did), you can find a way to be take risks and go against the grain of expectation to build a new future. In addition to the chemistry between Sara and Josh, I also liked the relationship between Sara and April – the two were so different and yet demonstrated a friendship that was almost sisterly in its depth – something rare and undervalued in our busy society. See all 31 customer reviews...
About the Author Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. Soon after graduating with a degree in Journalism, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Her life and house are filled with one great husband, two beautiful kids, a few furry pets and several well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion writing stories with happy endings. Michelle loves to hear from her readers at www.michellemajor.com. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Sara Wells gripped the steering wheel of her ancient Toyota and tilted her chin. "Punch me," she said, and squeezed her eyes shut. "Right in the face. Go on, before I lose my nerve."She heard movement next to her and braced herself, flinching when a soft hand stroked her cheek. "I'd never hit you, Sara, even if I wanted to. Which I don't."Sara opened her eyes to gaze into the kind, guileless face of her best friend in the world, April Sommers. Her only friend. The friend whose entire life savings Sara had recently lost.She swatted April's arm. "You should. I deserve it." A bead of sweat slid between her shoulder blades and she rolled down the window a crack. Her lungs stung as she inhaled the crisp alpine air. "How does anyone breathe around here?" she muttered. "I miss the L.A. smog.""Go see the attorney. Stop avoiding reality.""Reality Bites." She paused, then lifted a finger. "1994. Starring Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder and a very green Ben Stiller. Who would have thought that of the three, Ben Stiller would end up the biggest star? Come on. Little Fockers? Are you kidding me?""You're doing it again."Ignoring the soft admonishment, Sara leaned forward to gaze out the car's front window at the row of brightly colored Victorian stores lining Main Street. "Look at that. Warner Bros. couldn't have created a better Western set.""This is the West." Right.Crimson, Colorado. Population 3,500 if the sign coming over the pass into town was accurate. Altitude 8,900 feet. Sara blamed the lack of air for her inability to catch her breath.April rummaged in the sack at her feet. "Aren't you curious?" She offered Sara an apple. Sara held up a half-eaten Snickers in response."I gave up curious a long time ago." She stuffed the candy bar into her mouth. "Along with cigarettes, savage tans, men and chocolate." She swallowed. "Okay, scratch chocolate."That resolution had fallen by the interstate about four hours into the thirteen-hour drive from Los Angeles. While Crimson was only thirty minutes down the road from the ritzy ski town of Aspen, it held as much appeal to Sara as a blistered big toe.Sure, it was beautiful if you were one of those back-to-nature types who appreciated towering pines, glittering blue skies and breathtaking views. Sara was a city girl. A blanket of smog comforted her; horns blaring on the I-5 made her smile. In her world, ski boots were a fashion statement, not a cold-weather necessity.She was out of her element. Big-time."Go on." April leaned over and opened the driver's-side door. "The sooner you talk to the attorney, the quicker we'll be back on the road to la-la land."Sara's need to put Rocky Mountain Mayberry in her rearview mirror propelled her out of the car. She couldn't do that until she met with Jason Crenshaw, attorney-at-law, whose cryptic phone call two days earlier had started this unplanned road trip.If nothing else, she hoped the money Crenshaw had for her would buy gas on the way back. And groceries. Sara could live on ramen noodles and snack cakes for weeks, but April was on a strict organic, vegan diet. Sara didn't understand eating food that looked like cat puke and tasted like sawdust, but she had no right to question April's choices. If it weren't for Sara, April would have plenty of money to spend on whatever she wanted. And rabbit food cost plenty of money.She pulled her well-worn jeans jacket tight and squinted through a mini dust tornado as a gust of wind whipped along the town's main drag. Mid-May in Southern California and the temperature hovered at a balmy seventy degrees, but Crimson still had a bit of winter's chill to the air. The mountain peaks surrounding the town were covered in snow.Sara didn't do snow.She opened the pale turquoise door to the office of Crenshaw and Associates and stepped in, lifting her knock-off Prada sunglasses to the top of her head.The desk in the reception area sat vacant, large piles of paper stacked precariously high. "Hello?" she called in the general direction of the office door at the back of the lobby.A chair creaked and through the door came a younger man who looked like he could have been Andy Griffith's rumpled but very handsome son. He peered at her over a pair of crooked reading glasses, wiping his hands on the paper napkin stuffed into his collared shirt.Sara caught the whiff of barbecue and her stomach grumbled. No food envy, she reminded herself. Noodles were enough for her."Sorry, miss," the man said as he looked her over. "No soliciting. Try a couple doors down at the diner. Carol might have something left over from the lunch rush."Sara felt her eyes widen a fraction. The guy thought she was a bum. Fantastic. She pulled at her spiky bangs. "I'm looking for Jester Crunchless," she said with a well-timed lip curl."I'm Jason Crenshaw." The man bristled. "And who might you be?""Sara Wells."Immediately his posture relaxed. "Ms. Wells, of course." He pulled out the napkin as he studied her, revealing a tie decorated with rows of small snowboards. "You know, we watched Just the Two of Us religiously around here. You're different than I expected.""I get that a lot.""Right." He chuckled self-consciously. "You're a heck of a lady to track down.""I'm here now.""Of course," he repeated. "Why don't you step into my office?""Why don't you hand over the check?"His brows drew together. "Excuse me?""On the phone you said inheritance." She reached into her purse. "I have ID right here. Let's get this over with.""Were you close to your grandmother, Ms. Wells?""No." She could barely remember her grandmother.Sara's mother had burned a trail out of Crimson as soon as she could and had kept Sara far away from her estranged family."The heart attack was a shock. We're told she didn't suffer." He paused. "It's a loss for the whole town. Miss Trudy was the backbone of Crimson."A sliver of something, a long-buried emotion, slipped across Sara's heart and she clamped it down quickly. Shaking her head, she made her voice flip. "It's tragic that she was your backbone and whatnot. I barely knew the woman. Can we talk about the money?"Another pause. "There is no money." Crenshaw's tone took on a harsh edge. Harsh was Sara's home turf.Sara matched his emotion. "Then why in the hell did I just drive all the way from California?"He cleared his throat. "We discussed an inheritance on the phone, Ms. Wells. Not money, specifically." He turned to a rickety file cabinet and peered into the top drawer. "I have it right here."Great. She and April had driven almost a thousand miles for an old piece of costume jewelry or something. She mentally calculated if she could get to Denver on the fumes left in her gas tank.He turned back to her and held out a set of keys. "There's some paperwork, for sure. We should talk to Josh about how he fits into the mix. He and Trudy had big plans for the place. But you look like you could use a rest. Go check it out. We can meet again tomorrow morning."Tomorrow morning she'd be halfway to the Pacific Ocean. "What place?""Crimson Ranch," he told her. "Miss Trudy's property." He jingled the keys.Sara's stomach lurched. "She left me a property?" Before Crenshaw could answer, cool air tickled Sara's ponytail. She turned as her mother, Rosemarie Wells, glided in with bottle-blond hair piled high on top of her regal head. A man followed in her wake, indiscriminately middle-aged, slicked-back salt-and-pepper hair, slight paunch and cowboy boots that looked custom-made. Sara assumed he was the latest in her mother's long string of rich, powerful, jerk boyfriends.Could this day get any worse?Rose slanted Jason Crenshaw a dismissive glance then snapped her fingers at Sara. "We need to talk, Serena."Sara's stomach lurched, but she focused on the attorney, snatching the keys out of his still-outstretched palm."May I help you?" he asked, his eyes a little dazed. Her mother had had that effect on men since Sara could remember. It had been at least two years since she'd seen her mother last, but Rose looked exactly the same as far as Sara could tell. Maybe with a few less wrinkles thanks to the wonders of modern plastic surgery."You can ignore her." Sara bit at a cuticle."Serena, stop that obnoxious behavior."She nibbled harder. "This is kind of a coinkydink, Mom. You showing up now." Sara locked eyes with her mother. Rose knew about the will, she realized in an instant.Her mother's gaze raked her. "You look like hell, Serena.""Stop calling me that. My name is Sara." She narrowed her eyes but crossed her arms over her chest, suddenly conscious that she was wearing an ancient and not very supportive sports bra. "Sara Wells. The name you put on my birth certificate."Her mother's large violet eyes rolled to the ceiling. "The name I had legally changed when you were eight.""I changed it back and you know it." Sara took a step forward. "A monumental pain in the back end, by the way." She cocked her head to one side. "Although it's handy when collections comes calling."Her mother's nose wrinkled. "I can help you with that, Serena.""Sara."Rose ignored her. "Richard wants to buy your grandmother's property." She tilted her head at the aging cowboy, who tipped his hat rim at Sara, Clint Eastwood style."I don't understand why Gran left it to me.""To make things difficult for me, of course," Rose said with an exaggerated sigh. She dabbed at the corner of her eye. "Mothers are supposed to look out for their children, not keep them from their rightful inheritance."Sara never could cry on cue. She envied her mother that."No matter. I know you've gotten yourself into another mess, Serena. A financial nightmare, really. We can fix that right now. Mr. Crenshaw, would you be so good as to draw up the paperwork?" She leveled a steely gaze at Sara. "I'm bailing you out again. Remember that."Rose had never helped Sara out of anything—contract negotiations, come-ons from slimy casting directors, defamatory tabloid headlines, a career slowly swirling down the drain. The only times in Sara's life her mother had stepped in to help were when it benefited Rose at Sara's expense."I'm not selling.""What?""Not yet. And not to you, Mother.""Don't be ridiculous." Rose darted a worried glance toward the cowboy, whose hands fisted in front of his oversize belt buckle. "What choice do you have?""I'm not sure." Sara turned to the attorney. "Can you give me directions to the ranch?""I'll write them down," he said, and with obvious relief, disappeared into the back office."What kind of game are you playing?" Her mother pointed a French-tipped finger at Sara. "We both know you're desperate for money. You don't belong on that ranch." Rose's tone was laced with condescension. "She had no business leaving it to you."Decades of anger boiled to the surface in Sara. "She did, and maybe if you'd look in the mirror beyond the fake boobs and Botox you'd see why. Maybe she wanted to keep it out of your hot little hands." She leaned closer."Want to talk about that?"Her mother recoiled for an instant, then straightened. "You don't have a choice.""No." Sara's spine stiffened. "I didn't have a choice when I was eight and begged you not to take me on another round of auditions. I didn't have a choice when I was thirteen and I wanted to quit the show after the assistant director came on to me. I didn't have a choice at seventeen when you checked me into rehab for exhaustion because the publicity would help the fans see me as an adult.""If you'd taken my advice, you wouldn't be in the position you are now. I had your best interest at heart. Always."Sara laughed. Actually laughed out loud in her mother's face. The statement was that absurd. "You tell yourself whatever you need to make it through the day. We both know the truth. Here's the kicker. Right now I do have a choice." She gripped the keys hard in her fist. "Stay away from me, Mother. Stay off of my property or I'll have you hauled off to the local pokey.""You wouldn't—"Sara met her angry gaze. "Try me."She flicked a gaze at Jason Crenshaw, who'd returned to the office's lobby. "I'll be in touch," she said and took the piece of paper he handed her. Without another glance at Rose, she reached for the door, but a large hand on her arm stopped her."You're making a big mistake here, missy," the aging Marlboro man told her, his voice a harsh rasp.She shrugged out of his grasp. She'd been intimidated by far scarier men than this old coot. "What's new?" she asked, and pushed out into the too-clean mountain air.Josh Travers took a deep breath, letting the fresh air clear his muddled head. He'd been doing trail maintenance on the hiking path behind the main house for over three hours, moving logs to reinforce the bridge across a stream that ran between the two properties. His knee had begun throbbing about forty-five minutes into the job. Now it felt like someone had lit a match to his leg. Josh could tolerate the physical pain. What almost killed him was the way the ache radiated into his brain, making him remember why he was stuck here working himself to the point of exhaustion on a cool spring morning.What he'd lost and left behind. Voices whispering he'd never get it back. The pain was a constant reminder of his monumental fall—both literal and figurative.He turned toward the house and, for the first time, noticed a silver sedan parked out front. He didn't recognize the car as any of the locals. He squinted and could just make out California plates.Damn.He thought of his daughter, Claire, alone in her bedroom, furiously texting friends from New York. Double damn.If his leg could have managed it, he'd have run. Instead, he walked as fast as his knee would allow, trying to hide his limp—just in case someone was watching. It was all he could do not to groan with every step.By the time he burst through the back door, he was panting and could feel sweat beading on his forehead. He stopped to catch his breath and heard the unfamiliar sound of laughter in the house. Claire's laughter.He closed his eyes for a moment and let it wash over him, imagining that she was laughing at one of the lame jokes he regularly told to elicit a reaction. One he never got.He stopped short in the doorway between the back hall and the kitchen. Claire's dark head bent forward into the refrigerator."How about cheese?" she asked. "Or yogurt?""Really, we're fine" a voice answered, and Josh's gaze switched like radar to the two women sitting on stools at the large island at the edge of the kitchen. One looked in her late thirties, two thick braids grazing her shoulders. She wore no makeup and might have a decent figure, but who could tell with the enormous tie-dye dress enveloping most of her body. She smiled at Claire and something about her made Josh relax a fraction.His attention shifted to the other woman, and he sucked in another breath. She tapped painted black fingernails on the counter as her eyes darted around the room. Her long blond hair was pulled back in a high ponytail; streaks of—was that really fireengine red?—framed her face. The same blazing color coated her mouth, making her lips look as plump as an overripe strawberry. He had a sudden urge to smear her perfect pout with his own mouth, as if the most important thing in the world was for him to know if it tasted as delicious as it looked.
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