Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genres: contemporary romance, western romance
Series: Hotel Rodeo #1
Published by Lyrical Shine on January 19th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Some Odds are Meant to be Played...
PLACE YOUR BET
The Hotel Rodeo in Las Vegas has seen better days, but managing partner Ty Morgan has come up with a way to return it to its former glory. His plan looks promising until the unthinkable happens. Suddenly Ty is working for the boss’s daughter. And Miss Monica Brandt, hot as she may be, doesn’t share his vision…
ROLL THE DICE
She left a fabulous career and a frustrated fiancé in New York to move to Vegas and save her father’s investment. But now Monica is locking horns with a sexy cowboy-turned-businessman. What does Ty think he can do that she can’t? All Monica knows is that she doesn’t dare trust him—or is it herself she doesn’t trust...
The battle lines are drawn. The stakes are high. And the attraction can’t be denied—especially the more closely Ty and Monica have to work together. Some odds are just meant to be played, and with chemistry this electric, it may be time to grab life by the horns…
I’m still not completely sure how I feel about this one. I love Victoria Vane’s work, but Hell on Heels didn’t quite click for me until the very end.
And then it clicked so hard that I picked up the third book in the series (Beauty and the Bull Rider) on NetGalley, after swearing that I wouldn’t. The baby trope it uses is far from my favorite.
I already have the second book, Two to Wrangle, and I’m very glad I do. Because the story in Hell on Heels is NOT OVER when you turn the last page. Ty and Monica are definitely not through with each other, even though they both thought they were.
The story in Hell on Heels is definitely an “opposites attract” romance. Ty Morgan is Western through and through. He grew up on a ranch in Oklahoma, and used to ride bulls for a living. Now he’s the manager of a well-past-its-heyday Rodeo-themed hotel at the edge of the Las Vegas strip.
Ty is full of plans to remodel and renovate and bring the hotel back to its glory days. And just as he convinces his boss, controlling partner and mentor to back his play, the man that Ty looks up to as a father figure has a debilitating stroke.
And Tom Brandt’s business tycoon daughter Monica sweeps in to take the best care she can of her father, including taking care of all the businesses her dad needs her to manage for him.
Top of that list, or bottom of the heap, is Ty’s Hotel Rodeo. And Monica finds herself caught between making the right business decision and making the right decision. Her heart wants to please her father by helping Ty. Other parts of her want to make Ty happy, in the hopes that they might have a future together.
But her business sense tells her that the hotel is too far past its prime to ever come back.
Does she go all in with Ty, or does she run away back to her life in New York City?
Escape Rating B-: At the end, I liked it enough to keep going with the series. But in the beginning (and some of the middle) I felt very conflicted. Luckily this is a short enough book that the beginning doesn’t last long.
At the beginning, Monica acts like a bitch on wheels, or as Ty says, “hell on heels”, while Ty comes off as a sexist neanderthal. It’s only as the story progresses, and readers start to see behind their crusty exteriors, that we are able to empathize with the characters, and they are able to see a bit past each other’s surfaces. They still argue every five minutes, but it’s more about what they are actually saying and doing than quite as many stereotypical assumptions on their part.
There are still plenty of damaging assumptions on both sides, but they are less about roles and more about the heart of their conflicts. And even though they indulge in all the sexual chemistry that their arguing fires up, neither of them can manage to see past their own baggage. Which would give them a view of the other person’s equally weighty baggage.
In the end, Hell on Heels is a novella that starts out simplistic, but develops depth as it goes. The ending is frustrating because it isn’t an ending. Ty and Monica’s rocky relationship goes through more twists and turns in Two to Wrangle. And I find myself looking forward to it.