*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*
Published: June 3, 2014
Branded — Laura Wright
I’ve mentioned before that I’m always drawn to the covers before the actual stories. This one was no different. We have a scruffy, hunky shirtless cowboy smoldering at us. Do you see that smolder? I melt.
Branded is about Deacon Cavanaugh and his two brothers (James and Cole). The three men couldn’t be more different. Deacon is a millionaire businessman that owns and flies helicopters. James is a horse whisperer, and is also rolling in money. Cole is a professional fighter and covered in tattoos and bad attitude.
The three left their hometown of River Black, Texas after tragedy struck their family twelve years before. The kidnapping and unsolved murder of their only sister Cass and then the breakdown of the rest of the family afterwards causes the three to leave and not look back.
Until their father’s funeral brings them back.
This is where the drama really starts. The three Cavanaugh brothers find out during the reading of their father’s will that the Triple C gets left to the four Cavanaugh boys. The only problem with that is… there’s three of them. It’s a shock for the brothers to find out that their father had an affair with a woman in town years ago and that they now have a younger brother named Blue Perez.
Blue has been working on the ranch as a hand for years and had no idea that his boss was actually his father. He’s Mac’s best friend and right hand man. When he learns the news… that he has three older brothers, a father he didn’t know was his own, and that his mother kept all of this from him, he’s pissed. Then again, so are Deacon, James and Cole.
Deacon has for the last several years been trying to buy the family ranch — The Triple C — from his father. When that plan didn’t go the way he wanted it, he decided to go about buying all the land surrounding the Triple C and build up his own ranch. Deacon’s hated the Triple C since he left a decade before.
His sister’s best friend and Deacon’s former pain in the ass when he was a teenager Mackenzie Byrd is now running the Triple C as the foreman. Mac, as she’s known by everyone around, is hell on wheels. She’s a tough cookie and doesn’t take shit form anyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cow that’s gotten herself stuck in some mud because she was wondering where she shouldn’t have, a bunch of cowboys who may or may not have done their job right, or an asshole businessman who’s dead set on destroying her livelihood. I loved Mac. She held nothing back and said exactly what she was thinking and feeling. If she was pissed off at you, you knew it.
Deacon was an asshat. I loved him, but he was an asshat. He was pretty convinced that he’d get his way, come hell or high water. I couldn’t really blame him toooo much, because he was used to getting his way. Money sure does have a way of making things happen. Even though he was such a hardass, when he knew he’d screwed up, he did the best he could to fix it. He was very honest with his feelings to Mac, which was another thing about him I loved. He wanted a future with her, and wasn’t afraid to tell her. The only thing that stood in the way of that happening was the Triple C.
Mac loves the ranch and everything about it. Deacon hates it. How in the world are they going to make it work? I wasn’t too sure how they’d pull it off until the end and Deacon pulled his head out of his ass.
I loved getting to know James and Cole. I know that James’s book comes out next (can’t wait), but there’s no mention on the author’s website about Cole’s book. I’m crossing my fingers and my toes that we’ll get to find out more about Cole. I’m also really hoping that Blue will get his own story. He’s a sweet kid that’s been dealt a tough hand. I really loved his character.
Throughout the whole book, their sister Cass’s murder is discussed. They’re still trying to figure out who did it, and thanks to some new help… seem to be heading in the right direction. At the end of the book we don’t find out exactly what happened. It’s left open.
I’m assuming that was done so that it could be solved in the second book. I hate being left hanging though. Who is this mysterious “Sweets” character?? What role did he have in Cass’s death (if any)? I guess I’ll have to wait until Broken (book 2) comes out in October. Humph.
Overall I loved Branded. Laura Wright fully brings to life her characters and makes you fall in love with them. Even when they’re been a jerk.
10/10 would recommend.