Title: Once Tempted by Laura Moore
Silver Creek Series Book One
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 402 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Sweeping passions, family drama, and searing scandal play out at the magnificent Silver Creek Ranch as the heirs to a powerful dynasty seize their legacy of love.
Oldest son Ward Knowles feels the sprawling California ranch in his blood. And now that the family business has expanded to include a popular resort, he’s working harder than ever. Silver Creek is his legacy and his life, which is fine for the ruggedly sexy ladies’ man and committed bachelor. Love and trust don’t come easily for Ward since he lost his heart to a gold digger—until he meets a shy, unpretentious beauty whose sweet grace is about to turn his jaded heart into a hungry one.
Tess Casari has found sanctuary at Silver Creek, working as an assistant to Ward’s mother, Adele. Grateful for her busy new life running the ranch’s spa and resort, Tess can escape the heartbreak, humiliation, and secret shame of her failed marriage. The last thing she needs is temptation—especially from a man who reminds her so much of the husband who shattered her faith in love. But passion and destiny are about to change the rules for two people who have stopped believing in the healing power of love.
If you are a fan of contemporary western romances, then you are going to love Once Tempted, the first novel in Laura Moore’s Silver Creek series. This fast-paced novel is a beautifully written love story between a sexy cowboy and a city girl who have both had their hearts broken in the past.
Following her estranged husband’s death, Tess Casari is ready for a new beginning. Randomly selecting a place on the map, Tess travels from New York to a small town in California where she finds a job on a local ranch/resort. Tess is instantly attracted to Ward Knowles, her boss’s son and part owner of the Silver Creek Ranch, but she has no intention of getting involved with a man who reminds her of the past she has left behind. When Tess and Ward are forced to work together planning his close friends’ wedding, the two find it impossible to resist the passion simmering between them. But just when they are considering taking their relationship to the next level, their pasts threaten to tear them apart.
Tess is strong, sassy and determined to begin a new life after her husband’s death. A city girl through and through, a job on a ranch is not what she anticipated, but she soon discovers she enjoys her new career. Tess really enjoys getting under Ward’s skin, but he is a pretty worthy adversary and he quickly figures out a way to sneak past her defenses.
The romance between Ward and Tess is slow growing and full of sexual tension. It takes place over several months and I like that they take the time to get to know one another. But with so much emotional baggage along with their trust issues, when trouble arrives in the form of Ward’s ex-fiancée, it does not take long for their insecurities to drive them apart.
Laura Moore’s Once Tempted is a charming novel with a delightful cast of well-developed characters. Some of the plot is a little predictable, but it never detracts from the overall story. The issues between Ward and Tess are resolved fairly quickly and without an excessive amount of angst. An entertaining story that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next book in the Silver Creek series.