Sunday, June 19, 2016

Quote-tastic/Review-- a defiler of womenfolk? -- The Devil You Know (McKenna Brothers #2) by Jo Goodman

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Goodman has quickly become one of my favorites when it comes to historical western romances. Utterly captivating and full of grit, humor, and beautiful romances. They're just an amazing time.

Now, this first one. Kids don't usually work for me in books but Annaleah (who is 10 and the heroine's sister) is freaking hilarious. This is early on when she's just found the hero laying in their fields a good way towards dead and he just wants to be left alone and she just keeps on talking and talking at him.
"I am a bad man," he said. "A villain, if you must know. Unworthy of your concern or your assistance. There. Go away."

Annalea did not move but regarded him more curiously than before. "What sort of villain? Thief? Murderer? Defiler of womenfolk?"

"Jesus," he said softly.

"Ah, blasphemer." Quickly, before he could ask where she came by every other notion, she added. "I read. All sorts of things, if you must know."
 And then this one. Willa is just like her sister. I loved their mouths and that you never really know what they'd come up with or say. They were awesome ladies. 
Willa stared at him. "Sometimes I simply don't know what to say."

He grinned. "I know. Now about those other words..." He tapped them out on his fingers, every tap against the curve of Willa's hip. "There are five that come to mind immediately."

"I felt six," she said. "I'm sure I felt six."

"One of them I won't say."

"All right. I know that one. Tell me the five you will."

"Besides carnal knowledge and now, fornication, there's coupling, covering, mating, intercourse, and making love."

"Good Lord."

"Do you have a preference?"

"Hmm. Well, covering is what our studs do to the mares, so I'm not sure I like that. Coupling makes me think of trains."

Israel made a strangled sound but still managed to say, "That might not be entirely bad."

She gave him a withering look. "Mm-hmm." She turned thoughtful. "Mating makes me think of rabbits."

As quickly as he'd come the last time, Israel was not in favor of it either.

She said, "Intercourse is what we're doing now."

"Well, yes, but--"

"And to call it making love seems presumptuous at this juncture."

"When you put it like that..."

"Until something else occurs, I suppose we are left with fucking."

Now it was Israel's turn to stare at her. A sly shadow of a smile touched her lips while her black coffee eyes regarded him with such innocence that it could only be feigned. 

The Devil You Know was everything I expect from Goodman. She just has a way of pulling you in completely and making you feel like you're right there with the characters every step of the way--through the hard times, the laughs, the dangers and as they're falling in love. It's a wonderful experience. 

Okay so the quick of it is that Willa's little sister found a man in their fields on day. He'd been beaten and left for dead and couldn't remember a thing of how it had happened. Because it's just who they are they take Israel on while he heals and tries to remember what brought him to this point in his life and what he's doing next. And so begins a slow but steady healing of not just Israel's body but of the hearts and lives of those on the ranch as well.

Goodman just writes the best heroines. Willa's tough as nails and no damsel in distress. If it needs doing...she'll do it herself, dammit. She's hard working, slow to trust and has no time for romance or letting someone new into her life. She's a hard woman but I just loved her, the unexpected moments of humor and seeing her heal.

Israel was an interesting hero, too. He's not been a good man in his past. He wasn't lying about that. He's done shameful things--which becomes clearer as his memory returns--but he's trying to be a better man. Even though you know he's not been perfect he's one of those characters who's charisma is undeniable. It was impossible not to fall for him. 

I loved these two together. Their romance and the trust between them was slow building. I loved watching them both become better people and heal because of the other. Many times without even realizing. They had lovely chemistry and despite things being taken a little out of their hands at one point their romances and the love that came from it was stunningly beautiful. 

Beautiful and breathtaking. Goodman never fails to sweep me away. Everything about the book was just as captivating as Willa and Israel. Issues with a neighboring ranch and the truth of Israel's past brought in danger and mystery. Willa's sister brought in amazing humor. This girl was wild and sassy and just amazing (I hope one day she'll get a book). The ranch hands and Willa's father brought in family and healing as well. It was just an amazing mixture of elements that completely captivated.

After a horse drags him through the countryside, Israel McKenna awakes bruised and battered in a field in Pancake Valley, Colorado. He can recall where he came from and where he was going, but the memory of how he came to be on the Pancake homestead eludes him. He’s certain he did something wrong to deserve such a harsh punishment—and so is the beautiful woman who reluctantly comes to his aid.

Wilhelmina “Willa” Pancake must focus on running her family’s ranch. With Israel’s hazy memory, she is unsure if she can trust him, let alone handle the budding attraction between them. And as men fight to steal her land and the truth about Israel’s past rides toward them, love is a risk she cannot easily take.


*covers link to Amazon
Challenges: Pick Your Genre (historical) | Goodreads

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