eARC courtesy of Entangled Publishing and NetGalley.
Let me start out by saying I requested this book because it sounded interesting with a different trope/plot-line than what I normally read. When I first started reading, I had some concerns and if the general "likability" of either Ryder or Monica would be enough to overcome what issues I had with it. While I thought Monica was TSTL at the beginning, I liked her at the end. She had some good business ideas and the talent to carry it out. Ryder, on the other hand, I thought was an asshole and made a little improvement, but not enough. The rest of this review is hidden behind the awesome page break. I can't talk about the issues I had with this book without giving anything away.
So Monica gets black-out drunk and crashes her ex-fiance's wedding. She is "rescued?" by Ryder, who also happens to be the bride's brother and SOBER. He then lets Monica (or as he states later in the book "badger") him into getting married with the promise of a 50,000 payday. Oopsie, I mean loan! Consent anyone? Not only that, but his views of women: "He didn't need a woman underfoot, getting in his way, throwing tantrums, and telling him what to do."
"She's ride and rope, be tough enough to get thrown, but climb right back in the saddle. She'd cook and clean and all-in-all make his life easier." "Just like a real wife- nag, nag, nag." None of the give and take, it's all about ME! What can you do for ME! Yeah, that's romantic. Asshole.
Then the morning after when Monica wakes up, she has NO memory of what she did. None. She comes clean about what Matt (the Rat) did, and does Ryder believe her? No. Is he concerned about his sister? No to that as well. Instead, he reacts angrily. "...clenched teeth." "...he added with a growl. If his fists tightened any more, his knuckles would pop off like the buttons on David Banner's shirt as he turned in the Incredible Hulk." "Ryder's molars ground back and forth in fury.....With shoulders tense and feet spread, he looked prepared to fight. And all Monica could think was that if he took a swing at her, she should duck and run for cover." "Ryder stared at her a moment with crazed rage in his eyes." "Ryder didn't strangle her." Attractive, amiright? Just what every woman wants to read about. I just LOVE (potentially) abusive heroes!!
He thinks she could have prevented Matt from leaving her. He thinks Monica is a lazy, idiot. He continues to not believe her (and actually don't blame him there) about Matt swindling her money. What bugged me more, was he wasn't concerned at all about his sister. Learning later that Josie stood to inherit some money, I would have liked him to show some concern. She could easily be a victim too. But, this would require Ryder to think about someone else besides ME! Sure, he's got a goal to start an equine therapy program on his ranch. That's good. He, however lacks compassion. Despite all of that, Monica still wants to help him. Maybe that does make her an idiot too.
Another issue I had is the whole Matt thing. It's unresolved. He skips of of the country. And is free. How is that fair? I wanted to see his swindling ass locked up!
One last thing (and this is really just me nitpicking): One of the reasons Ryder was broke was a tornado that hit his ranch. This is Nevada. Yes, they can happen, but they are a rare. It mentions fixing up the property and the cost, etc. Did he not have insurance? Because, yah, that's stupid right there.