Review: With Open Arms by Cindy Nord

With Open Arms by Cindy Nord
Series: The Cutteridge Family (# 2)
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Samhain
Pages: 309
Source: book provided by the author for review
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Hardened in childhood by the death of her parents, then left to run the family’s southwestern territory ranch when her brother rode off to fight for the Union years before, Callie Cutteridge hides her heartbreak behind a mask of self-sufficiency. Breaking horses for the army proves she’s neither delicate nor helpless. When a former cavalry officer shows up claiming to own her brother’s half of the Arizona ranch, she steels herself to resist the handsome stranger’s intention to govern even one single aspect of her life. After all, loving means losing…to her it always has.

For months, Jackson Neale has looked forward to putting the bloodstained battlefields back east behind him. Callie isn’t the agreeable angel her brother led him to believe, but he’s damned well not the useless rake this foul-mouthed hellion thinks he is, either. His quest for calm stability contradicts sharply with her need for control, yet still their heartstrings tangle. But how can these mistrusting partners transform their fiery passion into happily-ever-after?

Warning: Contains a high-strung, tart-tongued heroine who drives the hero past the point of rational thought. If she were a man, he’d be happy to connect a well-aimed fist at her jaw. As it is, he’d be happy to give her foul mouth a good scrubbing with a bar of soap.

 

Review:  I started reading With Open Arms almost immediately after having finished No Greater Glory.  I was on such a high from that read that I was giddy with anticipation.  While With Open Arms wasn’t quite as good, for me at least, it was still a very solid read and I can’t wait to read more from Ms Nord.

This tale follows Callie and Jackson.  We met Jackson in book one where he had a supporting role and he provided some comedic relief.  Callie’s brother was the lead in No Greater Glory and she was briefly mentioned mainly when he was selling his share of the family farm to Jackson, unbeknownst to Callie.  From their first meeting, sparks are flying and I was turning the pages to find out how they were going to find their happily ever after.

Oddly enough, I preferred Jackson’s character to Callie’s.  Generally I much prefer to read about the headstrong independent woman and how she tames the alpha male.  But in this case, Jackson had to break down Callie and more often than not I kept wondering if it was even worth all the effort.  Callie’s character just wasn’t as likeable to me.  But since I did like Jackson, I figured there must be a reason he was so entranced and so I was cheering them on.  In the end, I came around to enjoy Callie’s story just as much… it just took a little while for her to grow on me.

I suppose my biggest problem and why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped is that you have two headstrong characters, way too many misunderstandings and then in the end everything comes together just a little too easily.  I get down to the last 20 or so pages and I thinking there just isn’t enough time to wrap things up and then it’s over and we’re enjoying an epilogue (which was a very nice touch).

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the story and read it pretty quickly.  But I felt a little let down and wished the ending wasn’t quite so abrupt.  But I do look forward to reading more from Ms Nord in the future.