Title: Falling for the Ranger
Author: Kaylie Newell
Series: Men of Marietta #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 11th April
When Todd Harris makes the move from the mean streets of Chicago to the sleepy roads of Marietta, Montana, it’s not just his career that’s changing… it’s his entire life. Going from police officer to forest ranger isn’t too much of a stretch, but getting used to how things work in a small town is. As he settles in, Todd realizes he loves the slower pace of the countryside, but then… an Olympic gold medalist comes to town and shatters his hard fought peace.
But the town’s new forest ranger doesn’t like attention and he sure as hell isn’t looking for any kind of relationship with someone who does. When Molly gets lost in the woods though and Todd is the one who saves her, the spark he’s been trying to ignore smolders and ignites. It’s then that he realizes there’s a lot more to Molly than ambition and public adulation.
When Todd signs up for the Men of Marietta calendar shoot to raise money for Harry’s House, a place for children to commemorate a fallen firefighter, Molly realizes the kind of man he is. With the shoot wrapping up, she faces a painful decision–return to her old life, or give her new life with Todd a fighting chance.
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
Despite loving the idea of this series, so far it’s been a bit hit and miss for me, and this latest installment was sadly a miss. Mostly because of Molly and my complete inability to like her, but I also felt that Todd’s visceral reaction to fame would have made more sense if there had been even the slightest explanation for it.
Let’s deal with Molly first. The darling Olympian who turned from America’s sweetheart into a laughing stock because she smashed up her boyfriend’s guitar in public. My problem with her was that I had no sympathy. She seemed childish and petty and self-absorbed as she pouted over her troubles, which she also appeared to have brought mostly upon herself. I think I was supposed to connect her mildly bad behaviour with grief over her mother’s death, but the book does little to play up this angle and it just didn’t work for me. Especially because she spends all her time lusting after Todd, regardless of the situation. Her only redeeming quality was her love for Bug.
Todd was okay, I suppose, in a grumpy, wild man of the woods kind of way. He had a bit of romantic angst in his past, which made him wary of Molly, and a real hatred of publicity. It was so strong, in fact, that I expected some bad experience in his past. Sadly not, he just hated it on principal… or something, I’m not sure.
All of which left me rather uninterested in the romance. There is definitely attraction between them, but I wasn’t convinced by anything deeper. Molly comes across as too shallow most of the time for someone as deep and brooding as Todd. Throw in the fact that she gives absolutely no real thought for her future and it was understandable that Todd – who has planted himself firmly in Marietta – was wary of her intentions. Which in my opinion never really get resolved, leaving the whole thing firmly in a HFN territory, and even that felt tentative.
So in all this one wasn’t for me. Maybe if there had been more about the calendar, Harry’s House or what Todd actually does all day, I might have liked it more. But if you like your heroes broody and aren’t bothered by pushy, mildly narcissistic heroines, then you may enjoy this. I’m still interested in seeing where this series heads next, but I’ll probably approach the final book with a bit more caution since it’s the one I’ve been most interested in since the start.
Falling for the Ranger is out April 11th.
Visit Kaylie Newell for more details.