Synopsis from Goodreads: At sixteen, Dakota Dunn was America's Pop Princess. Now twenty-five, she's all grown up-and definitely washed up. She decides to head to her parents' lakefront retreat in Tennessee, fixing to write songs and transform her image from squeaky clean to kickin' country.
Turns out her folks have handed things over to sexy, if cranky, cowboy Trace Coleman-a former bull riding champion benched by injuries. He's none too happy about Dakota's arrival-and makes no secret of it. But though Trace is rough around the edges, Dakota feels a pull of attraction she can't quite shake. For all his brooding, Trace has an animal magnetism that may just lead Dakota to dig in her heels and hold on tight...
Stats for my copy: Signet Eclipse mass market paperback, published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2009.
How acquired: Bought.
My thoughts: Dakota is a former pop star, who at the height of her fame bought a marina in her home town, which her parents ran. After her father’s health declined, he turned over the running to Trace. Now Dakota has come back to the marina to take up temporary residence in her old cabin while she tries to write some new songs and reinvent her image.
I really liked Trace. A former bull-riding champion who had to give up his career – along with fame, adulation and money - after being injured, he’s the wounded, scarred, reserved, tough as nails, push everyone away type of hero that I love. Dakota, on the other hand, got on my nerves. She was constantly tripping, stumbling, falling, and doing other clumsy things that caused her to constantly scream, shriek or squeal.
While this is their story, the sidekicks get plenty of page time also, and as much as I loved Trace, I was more interested in the romance developing between Grady, who runs fishing tours and does other odd jobs around the marina, and Sierra, the camp cook. Grady has been a love and leave ‘em type, and Sierra has always just been one of the guys while nursing a crush on Grady. She and Dakota make a pact between them – Sierra will help Dakota become a redneck country girl, and Dakota will help Sierra bring out her feminine side. Which gets Grady’s attention. Their relationship developed a bit quicker than I would have liked, but was still more fun than Dakota’s mishaps.
Fortunately, the last three chapters put Dakota in a better light and everything was resolved quite satisfactorily.