Big Sky Wedding by Linda Lael Miller
It has been said that author Linda Lael Miller considers the cowboy to be the great North American myth, the ideal of honor, courage and persistence we need to live up to. After reading Big Sky Wedding, the fifth installment in her Parable, Montana series, I think I agree. The story is the perfect mix of hot cowboy and strong woman intent on ignoring their instant attraction to each other. The author's love for children, animals and nature shine through in this small town, family-oriented, western romance.
I picked up this paperback book on a whim and read it over the past weekend. It didn't matter that it was the fifth book in the series - all the books in the series are standalone books where different couples are the main characters, similar to author Debbie Macomber. Big Sky Wedding is the story of Brylee Parrish and Zane Sutton. Both have recently survived nasty breakups and neither one has time for romance right now. But, five minutes in each other's company and both Zane and Brylee feel like they have been struck by lightning. Now they have to figure out if that is a good thing, or if they are destined to get burned. The author's writing is so good I could almost feel that lightning strike myself!
Zane Sutton grew up poor. His mother worked hard jobs to keep food on the table and to keep Zane and his brother Landry together while their father dropped in and out of their lives throughout their childhood. They may not have had a lot of material things but they knew they were loved. When Zane's life as a rodeo cowboy turned into a career as a movie star life was pretty good, but now he is tired of the false life and looking for something solid. He ends his fake Hollywood marriage and decides to step away from all the glitz and glamour for a while. He and his brother, Landry, have bought a ranch in Montana and it just happens to be right next door to Brylee Parrish's family ranch. The brothers bought the ranch as an investment and have no real plan other than making the ranch livable again. It is the perfect spot for Zane to bring his prize winning horse, Blackjack, and he can't wait to ride the range in solitude. He starts out alone at the ranch, but is soon joined by his 12 year old half-brother, Nash. Their father has once again left Nash behind to pursue a better life, so Zane feels he has no choice but to take him in. Next to arrive is his old bossy housekeeper, Cleo, who is a hilarious addition to the story. And last to appear is his brother, Landry, who is obviously hiding his own secrets. So much for Zane riding the range in solitude.
Brylee Parrish is still sensitive from literally being left at the altar by the love of her life, Hutch Carmody. She has taken the anger and heartache of being left behind and used it to make a name for herself and create a mega-successful international home-party decorating company, Decor Galore. The last thing she needs is some Hollywood megastar moving in next door to her family's ranch and changing everything around. Since she was jilted at the altar she is mistrusting of good looking men, especially those that act for a living, so she is none too pleased when she finds out who bought the neighboring ranch. She may run an international company, but is really just a small town girl at heart. When she meets Zane the sparks fly and it is fun to watch their relationship develop throughout the book.
Big Sky Wedding is a good contemporary western, and the author delivers a story that projects a believable sense of family ties, community, and friendship in addition to the pursuit of romance.