by Linda Turner, contemporary (2007)
Silhouette Romantic Suspense, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-373-27543-4
Before I begin, I have better let you guys know that the mystery subplot in Fortune Hunter's Hero does not conclude by the end of the story. This is the first book in a series called Broken Arrow Ranch and the mystery is supposed to span across all the books in the series. This is definitely a series where you may just have to end up reading all the books in order to get the whole picture.
At any rate, this one reminds me of a story that will happen when characters from an Enid Blyton mystery story grow up and start having sex with each other. I don't know if there is anything more ridiculous than a British stockbroker who decides to move to America to play at being a cowboy, but the hero Buck Wyatt is exactly just that. At least he has the right name to play the cowboy, I suppose.
Buck and his sisters have inherited the predictably run-down Broken Arrow Ranch from a recently deceased aunt but they have to fulfill a few conditions set down by the will in order to keep the ranch. At least one of the Wyatt siblings must live in the ranch at any time for one year. Also, they have to move to the Colorado ranch before the week is out from the day the will is read. If the ranch is left vacant for more than two consecutive nights, the ranch will go to another person whose identity will only be revealed should the Wyatt siblings fail to meet the conditions set down in the will. And judging from how bad the condition of the ranch is, I can only imagine that the late Hilda Wyatt secretly hated the Wyatt siblings and wanted them to uproot their lives in London only to be killed when the roof of the ranch collapses on them during their first week in the ranch.
At any rate, Buck is the first of the siblings to move into the ranch. He spends his time depleting his savings on repairs (he quit his job before he moved to the ranch) and trying his hand at being a cowboy. He also harbors a grudge against his ex-girlfriend Melissa. Apparently when she broke off their relationship, she has proven herself to be a mercenary slut who is only after his money rather than, say, a sane woman who is convinced that Buck is mad to quit his job to play cowboy at a broken down ranch and is too smart to join that man in his insane plan.
The ranch also houses a gold mine that isn't exactly a secret, so the ranch constantly attracts all kinds of fortune hunters. One of them is our heroine Rainey Brewster - who is never ever called Punky at any time in her life, I'd like to believe - and she is convinced that she and her late father have found definitive clues that will lead to the gold. Will Buck believe her and let her set up camp in his ranch in exchange for a share of the finder's fee?
The whole set-up from the unnecessarily convoluted and tortuous will to the whole thing about the gold mine reminds me of those Enid Blyton mystery stories my kids used to read. Apart from the sex scenes, this one could easily be what it would be like should one of the Famous Fives grow up and cross-pollinate with one of the Five Find-Outers. From the story structure to even the amusingly stiff-lipped "that's so stereotypically British butler-like!" way the hero can speak at times, this one offers a pretty cute nostalgia trip. The conflict in this story, apart from someone wanting to kill them to get at the gold, is that both Buck and Rainey are convinced that the other person isn't in love as they are in love with that person.
Between the silly characters, their predictable and often tedious antics, and the unsolved mystery subplot, I am not sure whether I would have enjoyed Fortune's Hunter Hero as much as I did if it doesn't amusingly enough reminds me of those old Enid Blyton mystery capers.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
Search for more reviews of works by this author: