His chivalry was strangling her.
He thought he was helping her—and in truth, he was. She was in desperate straits. But as honorable as he was, he was also breaking her heart.
Her attraction was drowning him.
When World Champion rodeo cowboy Rossen Rockland and his friends rescue a young runaway who has been abused by her foster father and take her home to his parents’ ranch, he expects her to turn out to be a pain in the neck. And sometimes she is.
It doesn’t take him long to figure out that she has way more than her allotment of troubles—and far more than her share of gifts. Lovely, talented, and ravingly brilliant, Kit Star is too young, unbelievably humble, and oh, so loveable. Knowing that she needs his protection and time to grow into her potential, Rossen also figures out that what she really is, is a pain in the heart.
Watch for more of the Rockland Ranch Series!
Millions of lights on the Las Vegas strip streamed through the smudged bus windows like alarm beacons. It felt like hundreds of flashing cop cars at some freakishly huge accident. The glare made the hungry knot of worry in the pit of her stomach tighten. Before she’d even gotten off the Greyhound, Kit knew she’d made a disastrous mistake.
Girl, what are you doing? As Rossen Rockland began to fill his truck with gas, he shook his head as he watched a slender young girl walking alone in the dark carrying a guitar. She was anything but safe out by herself in Las Vegas at almost one o’clock in the morning. Down a side street he could see a number of teenagers hanging out in an unruly bunch. Even though he was from a part of Wyoming that didn’t have a problem with gangs, he still recognized one when he saw one. They were making hand gestures to another group of youth who appeared near the rear of the station, not far from the young woman and he heard himself repeat out loud, “Girl, what are you doing?”
His best friend and roping partner, Slade Marsh, had gotten out to double check the horses in the trailer they were pulling and wash the windows, while Slade’s fiancée, Isabel remained in the cab. Even at this hour of the night, Las Vegas was just really getting going and she was more secure inside in this wide open party town.
The three of them had just come from the last round of the National Finals Rodeo, where the two men had taken top honors in their events. They’d reached their ultimate rodeo goals, but now, as tired as they were, they just wanted to go home. They’d been on the road rodeoing for most of the year, and it had been a great ride. But the season was over, Christmas was a mere ten days away, and they intended to be home on their ranches in Wyoming by morning. The entire National Finals had been a roller coaster of not just rodeoing, but several other troubling instances as well, and the three wanted to leave the hubbub of the City of Sin behind, and return to the peace and serenity of the mountains.
Almost as if Rossen’s thoughts had started it, the girl was approached by a cocky youth from the gang hanging out behind the station. Even though Rossen’s tanks weren’t yet full, he returned the nozzle to the pump and jumped back into the truck. As Slade climbed back into the passenger seat, Rossen drew his and Isabel’s attention to what was going on as the heavyset young gangster approached the girl. She immediately turned around and started walking in the opposite direction, but the youth simply turned and followed her. As he dogged the young woman, Rossen gunned the truck toward the girl, all three of its occupants tense at what they were watching take place.
The gang member followed the girl for a moment, then grabbed her by the arm and started dragging her toward the back of the station as Rossen and Slade slammed out of the idling truck. Rossen yelled, but it was only swallowed up in the music that issued from the station speakers and they started to run.
It all happened so fast they couldn’t stop it as the girl slapped her aggressor and began to fight him. The much larger youth backhanded her, sending her reeling into the building. Her guitar was knocked away and shattered as it hit the pavement and the gangster jerked her arm up behind her back, turned her and slugged her full in the face. The blow knocked her backwards. She stumbled off the curb, tried unsuccessfully to put an arm back to break her fall and then slammed into the asphalt on the back of her head. Rossen was horrified when the young woman lay sickeningly still.
Arriving seconds too late, Slade punched the gang member, doubling him over, and then slamming his face into his raised knee, as Rossen bent to the still form on the pavement.
At that moment Isabel shouted and began to gesture at something around the corner of the building. She was pointing and yelled, “Get her inside quick, before they get here!” Rossen scooped the unconscious girl off the street and quickly climbed into the rear door Slade held for him, then Slade jumped into the driver’s seat, pulled out of the station and onto the freeway, literally closing the door as he drove away.
Slade drove as fast as he dared with a trailer full of horses, while Isabel bailed over the seat to help Rossen try to stop the girl’s bleeding. At first, they couldn’t believe a nose could bleed that much, but it took only a moment to find she also had a two inch gash down the back of her head that was gushing blood. They quickly depleted the supply of napkins in the cab and went through a pillow case and then Isabel’s soft jacket, before the flow even slowed. It wasn’t until then that they noticed her left arm bent at a strange angle, and it felt like hours more before they sighted the hospital sign posted at the freeway exit, and pulled off the interstate.
I was a little leery about trying this LDS book, since I’m not at all Mormon, but I gave it a chance after reading that it was appealing even for those who aren’t LDS. I’m so glad I did. While I’m not Mormon, I’m Christian, I was curious what message the book would have.
The book starts out with twenty-six year old Rossen Rockland, and two of his friends, fueling up at a gas station in Las Vegas to head home from the rodeo circuit. Rossen notices a girl, seventeen year old Kit, being attacked, and he goes to the rescue. Kit is unconscious and the doctors there in Vegas won’t operate on her, because no one knows who she is. Rossen decides to take her home to Wyoming, where he lives in a rural town and knows the doctor personally. Rossen’s family ends up taking Kit and her unborn child in, and she blossoms under their care. Through the process, Kit and Rossen fall in love, but because of the age difference, Rossen sees Kit as completely off limits.
I found I could relate to Kit and her desire to settle down although she’s young. I did the same thing, although in my case it was completely planned, and I’ve NEVER regretted it. I saw that in Kit. She was becoming a mother, and she just desired a stable family. She had lived through a rough life, and she had no desire to run around dating as a single mom.
I really loved Rossen’s character. It was so easy to see why Kit would love him. He’s very masculine, and yet he has a nurturing, protective side, too. I appreciated all the decisions he made, with the exception of feeling like he had to push Kit to go out and be “young.” This really seemed to be a strong part of the book, and yet I so completely disagreed with it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this wouldn’t be right for most girls out there, but I just didn’t feel like it was what Kit needed. She was extremely blessed through her adventures, but I hated seeing her go through so much heartache after all she had been through.
Overall, I really loved the book. I think so many women would envy the relationships in the book on a whole. For the most part I agreed with all the lessons in the book, and as a non-Mormon, it was easy to overlook the LDS references, and focus on the good relationships and morals of the story. It was a very heart-warming romance. I’ll definitely read more from Jaclyn M. Hawkes. 4 STARS!!
Praise for Above Rubies:
I absolutely could not put this book down. It had me laughing, crying, angry and pretty much every other emotion. I can not wait for the next one in the series to come out. Keep them coming!!! ~Addicted to Books
This is the second book in the Rockland Ranch Romance Series. It can be read as a stand alone or copies of Peace River can be supplied if you would also like to review it.
Peace River (Book 1)
The police didn’t understand the danger, but she did. Her father had always been abusive, but now, with a ten million dollar Thoroughbred farm on the line, and a powerful bookie leaning on him, her father had become out of control. But how do you get away and take a world famous stallion with you? Carrie was getting desperate when a handsome and honorable but thoroughly cynical rodeo cowboy from Wyoming happened to show up with a horse trailer. He didn’t ride a white horse, but he was definitely a knight in shining armor.
He’ll protect her from the mob, but can she survive falling in love with a bull rider?
Praise for Peace River
“Give me a clean romance, humor and a good looking cowboy and I’m a happy girl. LDS fiction isn’t always my favorite but I really enjoyed the characters and adventure in this book.” ~Carol – Goodreads
“There was plenty of action, adventure and danger to keep me guessing just how everything was going to turn out. I didn’t want to put it down until I finished! Jaclyn Hawkes is one of my favorite LDS romance authors. You really can’t go wrong with any of her books that you pick up!” ~Cathy -Goodreads
Author Jaclyn M. Hawkes
Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.
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