Cardwell Ranch Trespasser - B.J. Daniels

This was a weird entry into this series. I'm not sure what this book wanted to be. The suspense part of the storyline was okay, except that it required making Dana and Hud into complete idiots, which was the worst part of of the book. They were just so unbelievably stupid. I can't emphasize that enough. Dana had some TSTL moments in the first book, but she was nowhere near this ridiculous. And at a certain point in the book I was calling for Hud to lose his job as marshal. He can't be that obtuse and still be in charge of a police force. Nope. You're out, son.

 

For some reason, a romance was shoehorned into the story because Daniels figured that it's a Harlequin book and one was necessary. Really though the story could have focused on Hud and Dana's marriage and coming together through the trespasser situation and four little kids instead for romance. Of course, they couldn't be as freaking stupid as they were if that were the case. So we see Hilde and Colt fall in love. Sort of. Maybe. Not really. i liked them both a lot but they really felt like a side note to the story and so we didn't see a whole lot of their romance. I would have liked it if we got less of the trespasser's POV and more of Hilde and Colt. It would have made a big difference.

 

Overall, I liked the suspense storyline and where it went. Especially Hilde and Colt's parts in it. It was just, and this might be overkill at this point, Dana and Hud being idiots that made it irritating. The trespasser was appropriately crazy and evil, I just could have done with less of their POV. And, authors, you have got to stop using disliking children as a shorthand for "ZOMG, THIS CHARACTER IS EVIL!" (Especially when it's juxtaposed with someone who thought four children in six years was a good idea.) Not liking children doesn't make someone evil or a bad person. Yet it is only something that villains feel in these books. Seriously. Stop it. 

 

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but Dana and Hud were complete morons in this book. I know, right? And part of that stupidity was treating Hilde like absolute and utter crap. They were truly awful to her in favor of an absolute stranger, even though she had been their friend for six years. They should have known her well enough to give her the benefit of the doubt. It was seriously maddening. And the only thing Hilde was concerned with was the safety of Dana and the kids. She was a much better friend than anyone was to her (except Colt, of course). Unlike the other situations where I complain about forgiveness, here I don't think there is no room for it period.

She could, eventually forgive them, but let them sweat it out a bit. Damn. I knew she was going to say some dumb shit like, "there's nothing to forgive!" when they first apologized. And she did! What are you talking about? There is a HUGE amount of stuff to forgive. They were terrible! Now, in Hilde's mind she actually didn't quite forgive them. She was still hurt and apart from them. Things were awkward between them. She wondered if what was broken could ever be fixed. That was okay, but why tell them things were cool? Why let them off the hook like that? They should know how much they hurt her.

(show spoiler)

At least they'll feel stupid forever and the price they almost paid for it was high as hell enough to unsettle them for a long, long time.

 

I hope the next book in this series is more focused than this one and we get more of the likable characters and a full romance if one is to be included.