Series: With This Ring #1
Published by Forever on May 7, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
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There's nothing florist Ainsley Fairfax won't do to help her sister get the love of her life-even if it means taking her place on a bachelorette weekend at a Wyoming ranch so Cecelia can sail off with the man of her dreams. Ainsley is determined to spend the time keeping her head down and her heart safely tucked away-until an encounter with the ranch's hunky owner gets her heart-and steamy desires-to bloom . . .
Riley Pommer doesn't want to be lassoed into any relationship. But with the family ranch in dire straits, Riley knows his sisters' crazy plan to turn the ranch into the setting for a dating competition-and using Riley as the bait-is the only thing standing between them and foreclosure. But the rules of the game change the instant Riley lays eyes on the spirited Ainsley. Now, as others try to stampede over their love, can Riley prove to Ainsley that true love is a prize worth fighting for?
If you you’re a fan of the TV show, The Batchelor, this story will probably be a fun read for you.
Ainsley Fairfax comes from a wealthy South Carolina family with a matriarch from hell. Her mother is adamant that she’s going on a cruise with Edward, the man of her choosing, and work on their nuptials when they return (her command was that they get engaged). Ainsley schemes with her black sheep sister to switch places and take her trip to a cowgirls weekend in Wyoming.
It’s two weeks of competition with seven other women for the attentions of Riley Pommer, eldest of the four siblings owning the ranch. Of course, some of the women show their catty and nasty sides once it’s apparent Riley only has eyes for Ainsley.
There were aspects of the story I really enjoyed, primarily Ainsley’s efforts to get a spine and get out from under her mother’s outrageous control. She had relapses but her attempts were gutsy and it was satisfying to follow her self discovery. Meagan, her Wyoming roommate, was also refreshing, even though her romance was more satisfying than the main characters’ relationship.
Where I fell off the rails was with the competition itself and Riley. Not being a fan of The Batchelor, the whole concept just offended my sensibilities. Riley was a reluctant participant (his sisters concocted the idea to raise much needed money) but often allowed himself to be played by the women trying to undermine Ainsley. It got tiresome and it baffled me when he would take their word over Ainsley’s. His rants just made him come off as a jerk. And, the whole Edward storyline was a bit too much for me to swallow. There were too many trust issues that never found a foundation to build from.
It’s a well written story that I would have enjoyed more if it didn’t involve that 8-women competition. It just turned me off to the hero, Riley and lose interest in the HEA because I can’t stand the idea of a group of women jockeying like this for one man’s attention, willing or not. But, it was worth it to see Ainsley develop and mature. She never intended to compete and didn’t.