Make Me Stay
Rebecca Brooks starts off her Men of Gold Mountain romance series with this sexy tale of a retired Olympic skier and a businesswoman intent on convincing him to sell his land for further development of the ski resort where he lives and works. The tricky part comes when she meets him on the ski hill and doesn’t reveal her true identity – at least not until it could cost her the man she’s falling for.
For the most part this is an enjoyable read, with a few sticky points. I like the skiing scenes and they feel very realistic (as much as I can say that, being a non skier myself). Austin comes across as a bit of a brooding hero (for good reasons) and a loner so when he finds himself attracted to the beautiful stranger (Sam) that he meets on the ski hill, a commitment free fling seems apropos. The reason behind Sam’s decision to hide her identity is weak, since she uses her real name, and Austin doesn’t seem to clue into who she might be even with all the hints (such as her obviously being a wealthy and dedicated businesswoman who seems to be on the side of Kane developments, the company trying to buy him out). Also, I’m not a big fan of the keeping-things-secret-until-late-in-the-story plot device as a way to build conflict. I’d much rather have seen Austin and Sam hash that out in the first part of the story and then build on their relationship. But they do have chemistry, and the steamy scenes are well written and engaging. I like how the story ends, the compromises they both have to make in order to consider a long term relationship and how Sam is able to work Austin’s concerns into the development plans for the area while maintaining her own professional integrity and her father’s dreams. This is well done. I look forward to reading the next in the series!