Harlequin HQN, Jun 2009, $24.95
When she was a teen Gracie March was attracted to her older stepbrother Jason Pendleton, but she hid her feelings though not her hero worship of him. Jason also was somewhat attracted to her, but felt it was inappropriate so he blocked his feelings. He ultimately left with plans to make it on his own. However, when her mom died, he arranged for Gracie to be cared for.
Jason comes home for the first time in years as he owns Comanche Wells Ranch. He and Grace share a passionate kiss and he realizes he loves her. However, she rejects him as she fears her secret shame will drive the only man she ever loved away so thinking convoluted she leaves first. Jason becomes engaged on the rebound; unaware his fiancée plans to rid his hanger-on family members starting with Gracie who is thinking of leaving Comanche Wells anyway. A couple of abductions led by the “General” leave Gracie and Jason reconsidering the past, present, and mostly the future.
The latest Texas contemporary romance (see FEARLESS) is an engaging tale starring a lead female used to being care for by family and an older experienced champion used to getting his way. His plan is to take care of his stepsister and ignore their attraction, but that proves futile. As Gracie becomes independent, Jason knows he must give her the chance to fail though his gut is killing him. Although the suspense seems more a detractor even if it forces Gracie to act, readers will enjoy the omega female trying to become at least a beta as Diana Palmer provides an entertaining ranch romance.