Big Sky Country (Parable, Montana Series #1)

Big Sky Country (Parable, Montana Series #1)

by Linda Lael Miller

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Overview

No one writes Western romance better than #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller! 

Let her take you to the town of Parable, Montana… 

The illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher, Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a trailer hitched to the Curly-Burly hair salon his mother runs. He was never acknowledged by his father…until now. Suddenly, Slade has inherited half of Whisper Creek Ranch, one of the most prosperous in Parable County. That doesn't sit well with his half brother, Hutch, who grew up with all the rights of a Carmody, including the affections of Joslyn Kirk, homecoming queen, rodeo queen, beauty queen—and the girl Slade's never forgotten. 

But Joslyn has come home to Parable under difficult circumstances. Resented by many of the townspeople cheated by her crooked stepfather, she's trying to rebuild her life and repay everyone who lost money because of his schemes. With a town to protect, plus a rebellious teenage stepdaughter, Slade already has his hands full. But someone has to convince Joslyn that she's responsible only for her own actions—and that someone is Sheriff Barlow!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488099083
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 03/12/2018
Series: Parable, Montana Series , #1
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 14,721
File size: 773 KB

About the Author

Linda LaelMiller is a #1 New YorkTimes and USA TODAY bestselling author of morethan one hundred novels. Long passionate about the Civil War buff, she has studied theera avidly and has made many visits to Gettysburg, where she has witnessedreenactments of the legendary clash between North and South. Linda exploresthat turbulent time in The Yankee Widow.

Date of Birth:

June 10, 1949

Read an Excerpt

Parable, Montana

"You weren't at the funeral," Slade Barlow's half brother, Hutch Carmody, accused, the words rasping against the underside of a long, slow exhale.

Slade didn't look at Hutch, though he could still see him out of the corner of one eye. The both of them were sitting side by side in a pair of uncomfortable chairs, facing what seemed like an acre of desk. Maggie Landers, their father's lawyer, who had summoned them there, had yet to put in an appearance.

"I went to the graveside service," Slade replied evenly, and after a considerable length. It was the truth, though he'd stood at some distance from the crowd, not wanting to be numbered among the admitted mourners but unable to stay away entirely.

"Why bother at all?" Hutch challenged. "Unless you just wanted to make sure the old man was really in the box?"

Slade was not a quick-tempered man—by nature, he tended to think before he spoke and offer whatever response he might make with quiet deliberation, traits that had served him well over the several years since he'd been elected sheriff—but the edge in his half brother's tone brought heat surging up his neck to pound behind his ears.

"Maybe that was it," he drawled with quiet contempt as the office door whispered open behind them.

Hutch, who had just shoved back his chair as if to leap to his feet, ready to fight, thrust a hand hard through his shock of brownish-blond hair instead, probably to discharge that rush of adrenaline, and stayed put. He all but buzzed, like an electric fence line short-circuiting in a thunderstorm.

Slade, though still confounded by his own invitation to this particular shindig, took a certain grim satisfaction in Hutch's reaction. There was, as the old saying went, no love lost between the two of them.

"Good to see you haven't killed each other," Maggie observed brightly, rounding the shining expanse of the desk to take the leather chair behind it. Still gorgeous at fifty-plus, with short, expertly dyed brown hair and round green eyes, usually alight with mischievous intelligence, the lawyer turned slightly to boot up her computer.

"Not just yet, anyhow," Hutch replied finally.

Maggie's profile was all he could see of her, but Slade registered the slight smile that tilted up one corner of her mouth. Her fingers, perfectly manicured every Saturday morning at his mother's beauty shop for the last quarter of a century, flicked busily over the keyboard, and the monitor threw a wash of pale blue light onto her face and the lightweight jacket of her custom-made off-white pantsuit.

"How's your mother, Slade?" she asked mildly without glancing his way.

Maggie and his mom, Callie, were around the same age, and they'd been friends for as long as Slade could remember. Given that he'd run into Maggie at his mom's Curly-Burly Hair Salon just the day before, where she'd been having a trim and a touch-up, he figured the question was a rhetorical one, a sort of conversational filler.

"She's fine," Slade said. By then, he'd gotten over the urge to commit fratricide and gone back to mulling the thing that had been bothering him ever since the formidable Ms. Landers had called him at home that morning and asked him to stop by her office on his way to work.

The meeting had to be about the old man's last will and testament, though Maggie hadn't said so over the phone. All she'd been willing to give up was, "This won't take long, Slade, and believe me, it's in your best interests to be there."

Hutch's presence made sense, since he was the legitimate son, the golden boy, groomed since birth to become the master of all he surveyed even as, motherless from the age of twelve, he ran wild. Slade himself, on the other hand, was the outsider—born on the proverbial wrong side of the blanket.

John Carmody had never once acknowledged him, in all Slade's thirty-five years of life, and it wasn't likely that he'd had a deathbed change of heart and altered his will to include the product of his long-ago affair with Callie.

No, Slade thought, Carmody hadn't had a heart, not where he and his mother were concerned, anyway. He'd never so much as spoken to Slade in all those years; looked right through him, when they did come into contact, as if he was invisible. If that stiff-necked son of a bitch had instructed Maggie to make sure Slade was there for the reading of the will, it was probably so he'd know what he was missing out on, when all that land and money went to Hutch.

You can stick it all where the sun never shines, old man, Slade thought angrily. He'd never expected—or wanted—to inherit a damn thing from John Carmody—bad enough that he'd gotten the bastard's looks, his dark hair, lean and muscular build, and blue eyes—and it galled him that Maggie, his mother's friend, would be a party to wasting his time like this.

Maggie clicked the mouse, and her printer began spewing sheets of paper as she turned to face Hutch and Slade head-on.

"I'll spare you all the legal jargon," she said, gathering the papers from the printer tray, separating them into two piles and shoving these across the top of her desk, one set for each of them. "All the facts are there—you can read the wills over at your leisure."

Slade barely glanced at the documents and made no move to pick them up.

"And what facts are those?" Hutch snapped, peevish.

Pecker-head, Slade thought.

Maggie interlaced her fingers and smiled benignly. It took more than a smart-ass cowboy to get under her hide. "The estate is to be divided equally between the two of you," she announced.

Stunned, Slade simply sat there, as breathless as if he'd just taken a sucker punch to the gut. A single thought hummed in his head, like a trapped moth trying to find a way out.

What the hell?

Hutch, no doubt just as shocked as Slade was, if not more so, leaned forward and growled, "What did you say?"

"You heard me the first time, Hutch," Maggie said, unruffled. She might have looked like a gracefully aging pixie, but she regularly chewed up the best prosecutors in the state and spit them out like husks of sunflower seeds.

Slade said nothing. He was still trying to process the news.

"Bullshit," Hutch muttered. "This is bullshit.''''

Maggie sighed. "Nevertheless," she said, "it's what Mr. Carmody wanted. He was my client, and it's my job to see that his final wishes are honored to the letter. After all, Whisper Creek belonged to him, and he had every right to dispose of his estate however he saw fit."

Slade finally recovered enough equanimity to speak, though his voice came out sounding hoarse. "What if I told you I didn't want anything?" he demanded.

"If you told me that," Maggie responded smoothly, "I'd say you were out of your mind, Slade Barlow. We're talking about a great deal of money here, in addition to a very profitable ranching operation and all that goes with it, including buildings and livestock and mineral rights."

Another silence descended, short and dangerous, pulsing with heat.

Hutch was the one to break it. "When did Dad change his will?" he asked.

"He didn't change it," Maggie said without hesitation. "Mr. Carmody had the papers drawn up years ago, when my father and grandfather were still with the firm, and he personally reviewed them six months ago, after he got the diagnosis. This is what he wanted, Hutch."

Hutch snapped up his copy of the document and got to his feet. Slade rose, too, but he left the papers where they were. None of this seemed real to him—he was probably dreaming. Any moment now, he'd wake up in a cold sweat and a tangle of sheets, in his lonely, rumpled bed over at the duplex where he'd been living since he came back to Parable ten years ago, after college, a stint in the military and a brief marriage followed by a mostly amicable divorce.

"I'll be damned," Hutch muttered, his voice like sandpaper. He was dressed for ranch work, in old jeans, a blue cotton shirt and a pair of well-worn boots, which probably meant he'd had no more notice about this meeting than Slade had.

"Thanks, Maggie," Slade heard himself say as he turned to leave.

He wasn't grateful; he'd spoken out of habit.

She got up from her chair, rounded the desk and pursued him, forcing the printout of his father's will into his hands. "At least read it," she said. "I'll set up another meeting in a few days, when you've both had time to absorb everything."

Slade didn't answer, but he accepted the paperwork, felt it crumple in his grasp as his fingers tightened re-flexively around it.

Moments later, as Slade opened the door of his truck, Hutch was beside him again.

"I'll buy your half of the ranch," he said, grinding out the offer. "I don't give a rat's ass about the money—I've got plenty of that anyway—but Whisper Creek has been in my family for almost a hundred years, and my great-great-grandfather built the original house and barn with his own hands. The place ought to belong to me outright."

The emphasis on the phrase my family was subtle, but it was an unmistakable line in the sand.

Slade met his half brother's fierce gaze. Reached in to take his hat off the passenger seat where he'd left it earlier, resting on its crown, before heading into Maggie's office. "I'll need to give that some thought," he said.

With a visible effort, Hutch unclamped the hinges of his jaws. "What's there to think about?" he asked, after another crackling pause. "I'll pay cash, Barlow. Name your price."

Name your price. Slade knew he ought to accept the deal, and just be glad John Carmody had seen fit to claim him, albeit posthumously. All he had to do was say yes, and he could buy that little spread he'd had his eye on for the past couple of years, pay cash for it, instead of depleting his savings for the down payment. But something prevented him from agreeing, something that ran deeper than his utter inability to act on impulse.

Indirectly, John Carmody had, at long last, acknowledged his existence. He needed to be with that knowledge for a while, work out what it meant, if anything.

"I'll get back to you," Slade finally reiterated, climbing up behind the wheel of his truck and putting on his hat. "In the meantime, I've got a county to look after."

With that, he shut the truck door.

Hutch thumped the metal hard with the heel of one palm, then turned and stormed away, rounded the hood of the Whisper Creek pickup, yanked open the door and jumped into the driver's seat.

Slade watched as the other man ground the engine to life, shoved it into Reverse and threw some gravel in the process. He was all sound and fury, though. Half again too smart to actually break the speed limit with the sheriff looking on.

With a wry twist to his mouth, Slade waited a few moments, started his own rig and pulled onto the narrow side street. He was supposed to be in his office over at the courthouse, assigning his day shift deputies to patrol various parts of the county, but he headed for the highway instead. Five minutes later, he pulled up in front of his mother's place, an old trailer with rust-speckled aluminum skirting and a plywood addition that served as living quarters.

As a kid, Slade had been about half-ashamed of that jumble of metal and wood, jerry-rigged together the way it was, lacking only waist-high weeds, a few rattletrap cars up on blocks and household appliances on the porch to qualify as out-and-out redneck. Callie nagged him into power-washing the two-toned walls of the trailer—the part that housed the shop—at least twice a year, and he painted the rest of it regularly, too.

This week, all the words on the dusty reader-board at the edge of the gravel parking lot were even spelled correctly. Acrylic nails, half price. Highlights/perms, ten percent off.

Slade smiled as he shut off the truck and got out.

The shop didn't open for business until ten o'clock, but Callie already had the lights on, and, most likely, the big coffeepot was chugging away, too. As Slade approached, the door opened, and Callie, broom in hand, beamed a greeting.

"Hey," she called.

"Hey," Slade replied gruffly.

Callie Barlow was a small woman, big-busted, with an abundance of auburn hair held to the top of her head by a plastic clasp roughly the size of the jaws-of-life, and she wore turquoise jeans, pink Western boots and a bright yellow T-shirt studded with little sparkly things.

"Well, this is a surprise," she said, setting aside the broom and dusting her hands together. Her expression was warm, as always, but her gray eyes showed puzzlement bordering on concern. She knew Slade took his job seriously, and it wasn't like him to drop in during working hours. "Is the county running itself these days?"

"My deputies are holding down the fort," Slade answered. "Is the coffee on?"

He knew it was; he could smell the rich aroma wafting through the open doorway, along with tinges of industrial-strength shampoo and a variety of mysterious hair-bending chemicals.

"Sure," Callie responded, stepping back so he could come inside the shop. "That's about the first thing I do every morning—plug in the coffeepot." The faintest ghost of a frown lingered in her eyes, and then her natural bluntness broke through. "What's wrong?" she asked.

Slade sighed, took off his hat and set it aside on the counter next to Callie's cash register. "I don't know if wrong is the word for it," he said. "I just came from Maggie Landers's office. It seems John Carmody remembered me in his will."

Callie's eyes widened at that, then narrowed in swift suspicion. "What?" she asked and had to clear her throat afterward.

He hooked his thumbs through the belt loops of his jeans and tilted his head to one side, watching her. If Callie had known about the bequest ahead of time, she was doing a damn good job of hiding the fact.

"Half," he said. "He left me half of everything he had."

Callie sank into one of the dryer chairs, nearly bumping her head on the plastic dome. She blinked a couple of times, and one of her false lashes popped loose at the outside corner of her eye. She pressed it back down with a fingertip.

"I don't believe it," she murmured.

Slade raised the dome above the chair next to his mother's and sat down beside her. Took her hand just long enough to give it a slight squeeze.

"Believe it," he said, not knowing where to go from there. He loved Callie and they were close, but she hadn't raised him to come running home to her with this or any other kind of news.

"What happens now?" she asked in a small voice. Her lower lip wobbled a little, and her eyes, usually bright and mischievous, looked dull, almost haunted.

"I have no idea," Slade answered quietly. "Not surprisingly, Hutch didn't take it real well. He's already offered to buy out my share of the ranch."

Callie closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them again, the shine was back. She was tough—she'd had to be, orphaned young and later giving birth to a child out of wedlock in a town where such things mattered, and mattered a lot—but her problems hadn't hardened her the way they would've some women. She'd taken things as they'd come, made the best of them and raised Slade to respect her—and himself. She was one of the most emotionally balanced people he'd ever known, but he wondered sometimes how much of that was an act.

"Once or twice, when you were growing up," she recalled now, her tone musing and a little distant, "John slipped me a few dollars for groceries or light bills or something you needed for school—things like that—but I never thought he'd do this. Not for one moment."

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Miller tugs at the heartstrings as few authors can." -Publishers Weekly

"Linda Lael Miller creates vibrant characters and stories I defy you to forget."-#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

"Miller excels at creating extended-family dynamics in an authentic western small-town setting and richly populating her stories with animal as well as human characters."-Booklist on A Creed in Stone Creek

"[Miller] is one of the finest American writers in the genre."-RT BookReviews

Customer Reviews

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Big Sky Country 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 99 reviews.
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: I am definitely going to like this new series by Linda Lael Miller. Set in Montana ranch country, this little town features some really sexy guys. I do have a thing for cowboys and this is already set up to be a fabulous series. This book starts with Slade, the town sheriff who was also the illegitimate son to one of the town founders. His father has died and although he never acknowledged him in life, has now left him with half his substantial estate. Slade doesn't quite know what to do with that, either the money or the fact that his father left him it. To complicate things, he's having to deal with Hutch, his half-brother who inherited the other half. They've never gotten along and this change of circumstances certainly hasn't helped that fact. On the other side of the story is Joslyn. She grew up as one of the town's wealthy elite, until it came out that her step-father ripped off almost everyone in town and went to prison. Since that time, Joslyn has been trying to repay those citizens who were victims although none of them realize it's her behind the substantial checks they've received. There's a lot of backstory for both these characters. They knew each other growing up, but were both very different people then. I like how their chemistry is so confounding to both of them. They don't know quite what to do with it or even if they want to do anything with it. It's a good chemistry which builds throughout almost the entire book. It made it even more satisfying to read when they finally gave in to that passion. I really liked all the aspects of this book. I loved Slade and Joslyn. I liked the addition of the stray animals and the teenager, Shea. I loved the town and all the characters therein. It was definitely an entertaining read, but I do admit I felt like the end was rushed and not quite everything was resolved. Maybe, *crossing my fingers*, those other little details are still to come in the next books in the series, because that was really my only complaint about this book. It set up several story lines that I am excited to see in the next few books, Kendra, Hutch, Boone, Amy (chicken farmer)...so you can see who I hope are the characters who are coming. ;o)
bookholiday More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story. There was so much to like. very good book!
The_Paperback_Pursuer More than 1 year ago
Review: I am usually not a fan of Harlequin romances or westerns, but somehow the love-struck crime-fighting cowboy in Big Sky Country kept me entertained. Of all the characters involved, I loved Slade (the aforementioned cowboy) the most! He's a down-to-earth, passionate man, full of rancher's dreams, and a lot of history to go with them - not to mention a lot of muscles... I found Slade to be the most well-developed character, however, I did enjoy reading about most of the characters milling about in Parable, Montana - especially Joslyn, Hutch, Opal, Shea, Boone, Jasper, and Lucy-Maude (furry friends included). Speaking of Parable's pets, I must comment on Linda Lael Miller's writing abilities, it is rare to find a book where the reader is groomed to care as much about the four-legged characters as they do for their human counterparts. I am an animal lover, so I liked the contrast between the person-to-person and person-to-pet relationships - dogs, cats, horses... they tend to bring out the "softer" (and more vulnerable) side of the people they interact with. The story is filled with rich imagery, making me yearn for the openness of the Montana skyline; if the cover-art did not thrill me, the landscape descriptions sure did! I found the dialogue simple, yet effective, although I wish that the conversations between Slade and Joslyn had not been so predictable. I enjoy a well-cultivated romance - slow to bloom, but full of promise, potential, and hidden passions - however, I thought that once Slade and Joslyn got over their history of "sideways glances" and "hidden feelings" that they moved too abruptly into a full-blown relationship. I understand that they had known each other since childhood, but there was no real "build-up" or excitement. It is unfortunate that the romance never seemed to hit a peak, because it made the ending feel rushed and unrealistic (no spoilers). I hope that Linda Lael Miller rounds up some of the loose-ends in book two of the Parable series, Big Sky Mountain, due out this August; I would love to know more about Hutch and Kendra! Overall, Big Sky Country is a nice summer romance that will warm the heart and leave readers homesick for Montana's big sky. Rating: Bounty's Out (3.5/5) *** I received this book from the author (Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS Its a nice romance story that deals with some real issues. Fast easy read. thier is a couple of love scenes. Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a with a single mother and a father who never claimed him or showed him he cared. So Slade was surprised when he was included with his half brother Hutch in the reading of the will. He finally was claimed and left half of the estate. Hutch did not care about the money but he did care about the ranch. Everyone knew they were half brothers but no one mentioned it. Hutch and Slade have been in a few fights with each other and where never friends. Hutch is divorced and misses his step daughter who now lives in another state. She wants to come live with him because her mom and new stepfather were going to send her to boarding school for her last two years of school. Joslyn Kirk has come back to Parable, Montana after years of being gone. They had snuck out of town at night after her stepfather was arrested for conning money from a lot of the town. It was not her fault but she is trying to make amends. Hutch was one of her oldest friends and they dated in high school. He never turned away from her as others did. She is drawn to Slade though. Kendra is living in Joslyn old home and running a business. She is another old friend and is renting the guest house to her and a job. It was a good book to relax with. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley. 05/29/2012
WhatsOntheBookshelf More than 1 year ago
Linda Lael Miller does it again. Okay so I love Linda Lael Miller. Her books are real, engaging, and sweep you up into the lives of hardworking cowboys. BIG SKY COUNTRY is no different. Not only do you get to escape into the small town of Parable, Montana, but you get to do it with Slade Barlow. Slade is one very hot and rather surly sheriff. He doesn't really want the job anymore, but there isn't anyone else to take over. Slade is gifted half of Whisper Creek Ranch. He wants a ranch, but the only reason he wants Whisper Creek is because it belongs to Hutch. Brotherly love abounds---even though they've never been close like brothers. But there's a softer side to Slade. We don't only get to see it when he's with Joslyn, but also with his stepdaughter, who's not really his stepdaughter anymore. It is a fun to go through the story with Slade and see him deal with a teenager girl as well as Joslyn. Joslyn has her own set of problems without Slade added to the mix. She's always had a thing for him though, and when she returns to Parable Joslyn quickly learns that her feelings have intensified rather than waned. I really liked Joslyn. She has a heart the size of the ocean and wants to make right what her father did to the people of Parable. The relationship between her and Slade is fun to watch unrravel. There were plenty of times I laughed at their bickering back and forth. When things finally work out for them I couldn't stop smiling. These two deserve each other. Hutch and Kendra are good friends with Joslyn. Even though Hutch and Slade don't get along, it's still entertaining to watch them at each other's throats. As secondary characters they added a lot of spunk to the book. After you read BIG SKY COUNTRY you've got to check out BIG SKY MOUNTAIN to find out more of what's going on between Hutch and Kendra. If you like small country town stories then Linda Lael Miller is the author for you. This is definitely a book I'd recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of linda lael Miller but i have to say that i was dissapointed in this story. While im intrigued by the set up for the rest of this series (LOVED Hutch and Kendra) i spent most of the book waiting for Joslyn and Slade to be in the same room together. Their relationship really only begins to develope in the last 80 pages or so. As always the writing was wonderful and the characters were strong but i just got bored with all the backstory.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book took a long time to develop. I felt like I was getting the dog and cat's story rather than Joslyn and Slade's. The plot was rather weak. I found myself struggling to keep reading. All of her other books had me on the edge of my seat but this one did nothing for me. Hopefully the next one will be better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story as I do Linda Lael Miller's books. I look forward to more in this new series of hers.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
This new series takes place in the small town of Parable, Montana. The tale offers us Joslyn Kirk’s and Slade Barlow’s story. Joslyn has just returned to the town of Parable after her family left years ago in the middle of the night. She and her mother where shamed into leaving when her step-father was sent to jail for swindling half of the town folk out of their money. Joslyn has recently sold her successful company and has secretly begun paying them back. Parable has always been home to her and so she returns. Her best friend, Kendra Shepherd, gives her a job as a receptionist in her successful real estate business. Joslyn finds herself living in the guest house of the home she and her family once owned. Swoon worthy Sheriff Slade Barlow is living in limbo after a painful divorce that left him more upset about the lost of his step-daughter then his wife. He is due for re-election, but secretly dreams of owning his own ranch. Things are about to get a little crazy for him. He learns the father who never claimed him as a son has left him half of Whisper Creek Ranch. As if that wasn’t enough he bumps into Joslyn the former beauty and rodeo queen who stirred something in him as a teenager. The chemistry between them is all fireworks. Both are hung up on their own personal demons and neither knows how to react. They choose avoidance…however this doesn’t work at all, and the tale that unfolds is delightful. I love the town of Parable and we meet some memorable characters. There is Hutch the legitimate son of John Carmody and the half-brother of Slade. Kendra Shepherd looks like a million bucks and personifies success, but inside she is lonely and fearful of love. Other characters make the tale and the town come alive and I look forward to hearing more of their stories. I likes both Slade and Joslyn, they are good people and their pasts present them with a lot of emotional luggage. Seeing them dance around the fireworks that occur whenever they are near each other is hilarious. When the two of them finely connect..the results are smoking! I want to thank netGalley and Harlequin for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
Anonymous 26 days ago
I was really
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author does a wonderful job crafting the characters and establishing the setting, but I felt that there really wasn’t enough conflict. It felt like 80% of the book was setting up the story and introducing all of the animals involved, and then there’s a little bit of actual story and then it just ends. Compared to the rest of the story, the climax and resolution legit made up 10ish pages - that’s it! Kinda disappointing. I’m probably going to read another book by this author, but I hope it will be a little more balanced.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
his was another wonderful western romance by Linda Lael Miller. I feel that I can depend on her for heart-warming romances. Joslyn is back in town after leaving in the night with her mother and housekeeper when the scandal broke that her stepfather conned a large number of people out of their life savings in a scam. She had been a pampered princess until this time. Since then she has grown up, gone to college, and started a software company but there was always something missing. She sold her company and used the money to anonymously pay back the people her stepfather defrauded.Slade Barlow is the county sheriff now but he grew up the unacknowledged illegitimate son of the wealthiest rancher in the area. Now his father has died and has left Slade half of his estate. However, he has to get along with his half-brother Hutch when they have been rivals all of his life. He is also a man who has gone through a divorce and is a little hesitant to start a new relationship especially with a woman he thinks might leave.Nonetheless, Joslyn and Slade do start a relationship which is complicated by the fact the Hutch is her former boyfriend and now is her friend and Slade's stepdaughter, now a teenager, wants to come and live with him. He adores her and probably, in fact, married her mother so that he could be her father but a 16-year-old girl who is giving her mother fits is pretty disruptive to his lifestyle. Lots happens in this story as Joslyn and Slade work on their romance and Slade and Hutch also try to work out what their relationship will be. I look forward to the sequel Big Sky Mountain in August in the hopes that Hutch will find a romance too.
Allizabeth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review: I am usually not a fan of Harlequin romances or westerns, but somehow the love-struck crime-fighting cowboy in Big Sky Country kept me entertained. Of all the characters involved, I loved Slade (the aforementioned cowboy) the most! He's a down-to-earth, passionate man, full of rancher's dreams, and a lot of history to go with them - not to mention a lot of muscles... I found Slade to be the most well-developed character, however, I did enjoy reading about most of the characters milling about in Parable, Montana - especially Joslyn, Hutch, Opal, Shea, Boone, Jasper, and Lucy-Maude (furry friends included). Speaking of Parable's pets, I must comment on Linda Lael Miller's writing abilities, it is rare to find a book where the reader is groomed to care as much about the four-legged characters as they do for their human counterparts. I am an animal lover, so I liked the contrast between the person-to-person and person-to-pet relationships - dogs, cats, horses... they tend to bring out the "softer" (and more vulnerable) side of the people they interact with. The story is filled with rich imagery, making me yearn for the openness of the Montana skyline; if the cover-art did not thrill me, the landscape descriptions sure did! I found the dialogue simple, yet effective, although I wish that the conversations between Slade and Joslyn had not been so predictable. I enjoy a well-cultivated romance - slow to bloom, but full of promise, potential, and hidden passions - however, I thought that once Slade and Joslyn got over their history of "sideways glances" and "hidden feelings" that they moved too abruptly into a full-blown relationship. I understand that they had known each other since childhood, but there was no real "build-up" or excitement. It is unfortunate that the romance never seemed to hit a peak, because it made the ending feel rushed and unrealistic (no spoilers). I hope that Linda Lael Miller rounds up some of the loose-ends in book two of the Parable series, Big Sky Mountain, due out this August; I would love to know more about Hutch and Kendra! Overall, Big Sky Country is a nice summer romance that will warm the heart and leave readers homesick for Montana's big sky.Rating: Bounty's Out (3.5/5)*** I received this book from the author (Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4 STARSIts a nice romance story that deals with some real issues. Fast easy read. thier is a couple of love scenes.Sheriff Slade Barlow grew up in a with a single mother and a father who never claimed him or showed him he cared. So Slade was surprised when he was included with his half brother Hutch in the reading of the will. He finally was claimed and left half of the estate.Hutch did not care about the money but he did care about the ranch. Everyone knew they were half brothers but no one mentioned it. Hutch and Slade have been in a few fights with each other and where never friends.Hutch is divorced and misses his step daughter who now lives in another state. She wants to come live with him because her mom and new stepfather were going to send her to boarding school for her last two years of school.Joslyn Kirk has come back to Parable, Montana after years of being gone. They had snuck out of town at night after her stepfather was arrested for conning money from a lot of the town. It was not her fault but she is trying to make amends. Hutch was one of her oldest friends and they dated in high school. He never turned away from her as others did. She is drawn to Slade though.Kendra is living in Joslyn old home and running a business. She is another old friend and is renting the guest house to her and a job.It was a good book to relax with. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley.05/29/2012
Cats57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
*ARC supplied by publisher* This is a slow moving book and we have a lot of opportunity to meet many of the characters that will make up the main and secondary characters in the next two books. Have patience with this novel, since the second third is well worth the wait.In this opening novel in the Parable Trilogy we meet Sheriff Slade Turner who is the illegitimate son of a deceased wealthy and respected rancher. Joslyn Kirk is the step-daughter of a man who was also rich, but who had run a pyramid scam in which much of the town of Parable lost everything.Joslyn has done her best to atone and to make reparations.There really isn¿t any sort of plot sconce this is a relationship driven story. Everyone you meet is in some sort of pain and Ms Miller isn¿t afraid to let us know this¿repeatedly. This book not only reveals past misadventures it at time will flog it like a dead horse. Fortunately, the book really does pick up in the second half. We get our typical happily-ever-after and I was left anticipating reading the next in this trilogy. The secondary characters in this book such as Slade¿s stepdaughter, and Opal, the Kirk¿s former housekeeper, make this book a much easier to read and less slow moving in the second half of this novel.Ms Miller writes with her usual in depth descriptions of her characters and giving her all to bring us to vividly see in our minds eye, the land which she so loves. Even I am now feeling the need to go to Montana and find me a cowboy and a ranch!
nsjlh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ve read this author before and so when I saw it on Netgalley I snagged it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was slightly hesitant in that I was afraid the author would deliver a similar plot line as her other books I¿ve read. Not so. Other than being the similar in country, the family dramatics involved were much more different than the other series I read. This book is a quick read. It grabbed me and I quickly needed to know what was going to happen. I enjoyed all the characters. The author has created some memorable relationships between the various characters. First beginning with what they used to be when they were all growing up in the small town and then taking those relationships to a new level now that they have all returned.It does have a western feel to the story, but anyone who likes a good story to include a romance would enjoy this book. I was also able to get Big Sky Mountain off Netgalley and can't wait to read the next book of the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not her best. Slow moving plot. Too many characters. Step daughter's story was useless filler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book has good characters and plotline. Small town quirks and history the locals don't forget
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was excited to see this book published in 2018, thinking it was a continuation to a story i really enjoyed, come to realize after i bought it that it was originally published in 2012 and i have already read it. This happens often, i read so many series from different authors that i just check the publishing dates for new releases to see whats new. Very disappointing to be mislead. I read several books a week and this has happened a few times, i dont know why they cant let us know it was previously published somewhere in the description.
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She walked in her red hair flowing behind her. She sopped and kicked some dust with her cowboy boots. She tipped her white cowgirl hat. "Howdy"