I spent about an hour in the Amazon store today, looking for a new book to read. I began looking in the “bestseller” category, thinking that if a book sells millions of copies, it must have something going for it. But it hit me that the descriptions of many of these top selling books sounded a lot like this:
Athena Graves is a busy corporate lawyer in New York. She is weary of the office politics, the city traffic, and the constant stress of living in the city and having to have a dog walker for her poodle, Mr. Darcy. She has bunions from wearing five inch heels.
Athena gets a letter postmarked Cattle Creek, Montana. Yipes. That’s her hometown, or should we say village. The one she escaped as soon as she could. It holds horrible memories of her alcoholic father; pill-popping mother; and cold, overbearing grandmother, who was the matriarch of the family ranch where Athena grew up loving horses but not much else.
And another memory of Cattle Creek? Drake, the hunky but hot-headed boy who filled her daydreams with lusty scenarios, but who probably didn’t know Athena existed.
She opens the letter. What? She has inherited the ranch? Her widowed father has finally pickled his liver but good, and died?
What should Athena do? Hell. Why not just quit the law practice and go back to Montana? A new start—that’s what Athena needs.
Athena gets there. My God. The ranch house is in ruins. The horses are all starving. Athena only brought two pairs of jeans, and she realizes that her Jimmy Choos will be no good out here. She really has to toughen up fast!
So she puts an ad in the paper for a handyman. She can’t resurrect this place on her own. And who should answer the ad but DRAKE BLACK, the former bad boy, now transmogrified into a building contractor with flowing locks tucked into a man-bun, a six pack that won’t quit, and a burgeoning sex drive, due to the death one year ago of his gorgeous but totally bitchy wife, Tiffany.
Drake shows up for the job interview, and Athena’s heart races when she sees him. Will he remember her? Little does she know, but Drake not only remembers her, but also remembers the hot dreams he had about her in seventh grade. He dreamed that he saw her swimming naked in the creek. And that she turned around and beckoned him to join her, and he did the breaststroke with Athena, get it?
The work restoring the ranch is back breaking. Drake sweats a lot. Athena gets into the habit of bringing him cold lemonade. They sit under the old oak tree that Athena climbed as a child, only now it is so much bigger.
Athena finds out that Drake has a bad temper. She hears rumors that he beat Tiffany—this was before Tiffany contracted a rare form of cancer. These rumors are false. Those bruises on Tiffany were, you guessed it, telltale cancer symptoms. But the damage is done—Drake’s reputation is ruined. Athena is warned to keep her guard up, both literally and figuratively.
Drake and Athena get into an argument about the size of the lanai. She wants it to be larger, but Drake says it will ruin the esthetics of the back of the house. They exchange heated words. Drake balls his fists. Athena is suddenly frightened. But then, somehow, they kiss. A passionate love scene, complete with orgasms compared to gushing waterfalls, ensues. Then it ensues again, this time seeming more like a raging, all-consuming forest fire.
The construction project comes to an end, and Athena decides to turn the ranch into a tourist attraction, using the now healthy horses for trail rides and the ranch house as a Bed and Breakfast. But she has to have a partner. Athena is good at egg casseroles, hospital corners, and fresh flower arrangements, but what about mucking out stalls, hoisting bags of feed, and driving the manure spreader?
So she hires Drake, and they go into business together, but not before they show all those busybodies in town just how gentle Drake really is—when he saves a kitten from a culvert outside the local Walmart.
After the wedding, in which Athena wears a flowing skirt and cowboy boots and Drake wears chaps, they settle down to become Cattle Creek’s most engaging innkeepers. Athena finds out she is expecting twins. Sigh. THE END
It is either this, or that other plot line. The one in which somebody dies at a bachelor party, and it turns out that the groom is a CIA operative. People from countries ending in “stan” are involved. There is a drug cartel. The prostitute is actually a spy.
I will be up all night reading.