Desperado by Lisa Bingham #Review

Desperado by Lisa Bingham #ReviewDesperado by Lisa Bingham

Series: #1 Taggart Brothers
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance
Published by Berkley on June 2, 2015
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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four-stars  

Wild West Games, ranch country setting, bruised characters with pasts? Count me in.  It wasn’t long into the story that I decided that I made a good decision.  Things get off to a feverish start as far as combustible attraction.  The two in question are leery of starting anything up, but then in the excitement of sabotage to her restaurant, the Wild West games, a dangerous opponent who doesn’t want them to win, and growing reliance on each other makes Elam and PD think hard and fast about what they really want when the competition is over and they have to go back to real life.  A sizzling, exciting start set in Northern Utah ranch country promising a rugged, wild Taggart brother with each new release.

PD Raines otherwise known as Prairie Dawn Raines thanks to her weed-smoking hippie parents has finally put down roots after all the years of endless drifting with her parents.  Bliss is home with a solid house and furnishings, a restaurant that is her life, and friends that treat her as one of them.  Now she’s in a jam when her friend Bodey Taggart can’t compete as her partner in the Wild West Games with a prize that would help her with the next phase of her restaurant.  He tells her he has a solution and soon she is filled with dread that Bodey’s solution is to corner his reclusive oldest brother, Elam to take his place.  Elam is spoken about in whispers- lost his parents and little sister in a car accident that left his youngest brother with brain damage, lost his wife while he was on a tour of duty in Afghanistan and then sent home injured with dark issues that nobody including his brothers know how to deal with.  Yeah, Elam was not going to jump at this opportunity.  But he inexplicably does agree and then she has the rush of resisting her heated attraction, pushing away her feelings of inadequacy, and knowledge that Elam could only love once and never someone like her.

Elam has been going through the motions for three years as he builds the dream cabin home that he was to share with his wife while he avoids the people in town and also his family not wanting to feel the stares or hear the whispers.  His brothers have kept their distance hoping he would heal, but now Bodey comes to him with a need.  Elam can’t believe he said yes to partnering a woman in a contest of historic western skills for four days.  PD is very different from his wife and at first he feels guilty noticing her finer qualities, but somewhere along the way of helping her with the restaurant fire, training her for the contest, spending time with his brothers and partnering PD for the contest, he comes alive.  However, as things get real, he is terrified.  Loving and losing someone has already crushed him and he doesn’t want to take that chance again.

This one got off quickly in some ways and slowly in others just like it was parts slow-paced cozy and parts exciting action and passion.  Basically it was doing the job of establishing the foundation for the series while also telling the story of individuals.  I thought the author did a pretty good job of it.  It took the time to tease out the characters and their romance.  Daily life, time with the Taggarts as family, and the description of the small ranching community along with preparations for the contest were well over half the book.  Then things got exciting as the contest began particularly with the danger element and the unleashed heat of their attraction.

I laughed when I first started reading this book and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be humorous.  I found Elam and PD the horniest pair that I’ve encountered in a while because it was instant for both of them. Whoa, Nelly!  They were hot and squirmy for each other.  I’m not a fan of insta-lust driving the romance between new people particularly when they have issues like these two have going, but this one settled into something else when Elam put the brakes on while he was dealing with his past even as they both figured out what they were to each other in the present.

Elam seems like the tough one who needs to heal, but PD has her own inner demons from the neglect of her childhood and the unsettled lifestyle that just compounded her issues.  She is absolutely convinced that she is inferior and unworthy which was sad because the evidence of her achievements shows the opposite.  Loved seeing Elam heal so that he could prove that he thought she was beautiful and special.

On a side note, I was tickled to death to discover that the fictional settings were based on the real area of the rural country around Logan, UT since I spend ever summer just south of there with family.  I didn’t have to imagine the scenes or the feel of the community as I’ve seen it and that was so neat.

All in all, I had a good time with this one with its engaging characters, well-drawn backdrop, satisfying romance and interesting plot.  I would recommend it to those who enjoy contemporary western and small town romance.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #205 CR

New to Me #104 author/series

Cliché Klatch #120 ‘Predestined for failure’

Curvy Woman #12

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • It’s already on my to-read list, Anna felt like the book had been written especially for her ! 😉

    • I think it will be a fun read for lots of people. What a unique pair and that Western Skills Race was a blast.

  • Not the hippies! lol, sorry, I just had to say it. Didnt you just read another book that had old west themed games? This is sounding like a popular element to add to the story now. How unusual, love your review though. Sounds like it’ll be a steamy and a heartwarming read all bundled into one:D

    • Nope, this was my first, but maybe you read Anna’s review too. She just posted.

      It was a lot of fun even if the hippies weren’t directly in the story.

  • vvb reads

    Not too crazy about insta-lust to love scenario either, but this sounds like a fun one. I’m curious about the Western Skills Race.

    • It was great, Velvet. They had to dress up for the time period and the tasks were all skills from the past. I loved that part. They really did well as a team even though they kept getting sabotaged.

  • Lindy Gomez

    I like that this series has each new book focus on a different Taggart brother. You have me laughing Sophia the way you called this couple the horniest pair you’ve encountered! I like that these characters were able to heal from the demons in their past. Great Review Sophia 🙂

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    • That appeals to me as well. I love series that keep it in the family so to speak. Yes, Elam had it rough losing his parents, guys in his unit, and then his wife. Glad he got his happiness.

      Oh my glands, yes! They were squirming the second they saw each other and that was across a yard and not even up close. LOL!

  • I like those series who follow different brothers, sisters or family members. it makes for a strong connectiong between the books while every book still has a different focus. Elam sounds like he has been gone through a lo and it must be amazing to see him learn to love and live again! Great review!

    • Me too, Lola! Especially when they are really close, but have such very different personalities.

  • I have been hearing some great things about this book, although I am not a insta lust reader I like seeing it grow and not just acting on it like a pair of bunnies lol.

    • Yeah, that’s me, too. Fortunately, that part was slowed down when other factors were brought into play so I could enjoy the book.

  • I like the mix of slow and fast with the pacing. I would love this one and it wasn’t even on my radar, so I am adding it now!!

    • It was interesting how she made this book both feel like it was clipping along, but had some real depth, too. I love it when you put books I didn’t know about in front of me so glad I could return the favor.

  • I really need to read this one now!

    • I think you should too, Angela! It’s good stuff.

  • Yay me too! I’m so glad I decided to pick this one up last minute. I’m totally okay with insta-lust as long as the insta-love doesn’t happen or is made to work. I liked their squirming though 😀 And now for the brothers! Eeps!

    • Yeah, they settled down and tackled the hard stuff so I was really satisfied once things got going. Oh so fine with more Taggart Brothers action.

  • Thanks for the great review! I normally don’t go for this kind of setting, but the characters sound so great. I’ll have to give it a try!

    • It’s fun to try new stuff. Hope you like it, Samantha.