Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: A Creed in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller

I love to read as well as write and one of my favorite authors, among many, is Linda Lael Miller. She's launced a new series, The Creed Cowboys and below is my review of the first novel just released this month, A Creed in Stone Creek.

Lawyer Steven Creed suddenly finds himself the guardian of a bright and precocious five year-old named Matt after the tragic death of his friends, the boy’s parents. Steven recognizes this is the most important role he’s ever going to play in life and, after legally adopting the boy, he moves to the small town of Stone Creek where his distant relatives, the McKettricks, live to start fresh, away from the painful memories. He’s given up a lot for Matt including the woman he thought he was going to marry until she found out about the package deal. But Steven did so without hesitation, because he loves the little boy and, besides, any woman who couldn’t love Matt wasn’t a woman he wanted to be with. Still, bringing up a rambunctious five year old as a single dad isn’t going to be easy. And then he meets Melissa.

Stone Creek’s prosecutor, Melissa O’Ballivan, has always had problems with commitment. No surprise since her mother walked out when she was little and her father passed away not too much later. Raised by her brother and surrounded by her two sisters, one of whom is her fraternal twin, family is very important to her. All of her siblings have found their soul mate and have started families of their own, apparently able to overcome their difficult childhoods. All of them but her. She seems to sabotage her relationships whenever someone gets too close. ConsideringStone Creek isn’t a hot bed of criminal activity, she doesn't have work to keep her mind off of her personal life. When the parade committee lassos her into being the chair, she can’t very well say she’s too busy, because she isn’t. Besides, a cute little boy, new to town and named Matt, seems to have his heart set on seeing that parade and how can she disappoint him—or his handsome father.

Steven is struck hard by the competent, independent-minded, and hard charging Ms. O’Ballivan but unfortunately she reminds him an awful lot of the career woman who just walked out of his and Matt’s life. He’d have an easier time keeping his distance if she weren’t so darn attractive and Matt wasn’t drawing pictures with Melissa as his “new mom.” But when a conflict over a case pits Steven and Melissa against each other, it’s clear that they see the world in very different terms. And compromise just doesn’t seem to be in Melissa’s vocabulary. Can these two find common ground and make a little boy, and themselves, happy?

This novel, the first in the Creed Cowboys series, contains strong, well-defined characters, a welcoming small town setting, and a sizzling romance. The opening scenes depicting Steven and Matt’s relationship are sure to bring a tear to the eye as Steven grapples with the emotional toll of Matt’s loss. I fell in love with Steven Creed in those scenes and, having taken the “Whose your cowboy?” quiz at Miller’s promotional site, , it was no shock that he’s my cowboy.

While I would have liked to see a little more turmoil in the later scenes where Steven and Melissa lock horns, the romance is what keeps you turning those pages. This book also introduces the two spirited and engaging brothers whose love life will be depicted in the next two books. With Miller’s signature high flying cowboys and the feisty women who tame them, this series is bound to be another winner.



Sarah M. Anderson said...

Great review! I'm looking forward to this one!

Anne Carrole said...

Sarah, I'll be interested in what you think of the hero in this one. He's a lot more tender-hearted than some of the other cowboys she's written about but that only made him more attractive in my eyes.