Publication Order of Sweetwater Ranch Books
|Maverick Sheriff||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Cowboy Behind the Badge||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Rustling Up Trouble||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Kidnapping in Kendall County||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Cowboy Deputy||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Reining in Justice||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Surrendering to the Sheriff||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Lawman's Justice||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
The Sweetwater Ranch series has a number of compelling characters dealing with themes of family, love, danger and mystery and in rural Sweetwater Springs, Texas. In this Harlequin set, family is about both blood ties and the bonds shared by those who serve in law enforcement. Initially and primarily following various members of the McKinnon family, these stories include terrifying, edge of your seat thrills, heart-wrenching loss, and plenty of romance.
One could say that the McKinnon family itself is one of the main protagonists of the series, although the individuals we meet throughout the books all have their own unique voices, personalities and dilemmas. We meet other leading characters in the McKinnon orbit in the later books in the series, but we never truly leave the McKinnons, or Sweetwater itself, behind. Instead we are witness to the intensely personal dramas and conflicts of characters that live lives of danger, passion and intrigue all happening in stark, beautiful, windswept West Texas.
Some of the plots involve danger to children, and are not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, powerful quests for love and redemption interlace the formidable circumstances that these characters are faced with. Murder and kidnapping are just the beginning of the troubles they must face.
Some of the decisions that the McKinnons and others must make involve choosing between love and duty in life or death situations. We meet many characters in Sweetwater, and quickly get a strong sense of the community from early on. That sense of community is as much of draw to read the stories as wanting to learn about outcomes.
In the first book in the series, Maverick Sheriff, we are introduced to Sheriff Cooper McKinnon, still tortured over the mysterious loss of his son two years ago, at the time of his wife’s tragic death. Cooper is asked to donate blood to a child, Liam, that shares his rare blood type. Liam needs a lifesaving transfusion, and only Cooper can help. When Cooper sees the little boy, he is struck by Liam’s resemblance to his lost son. Given this and their shared blood type, he has to wonder whether this boy could truly be his.
Complicating matters is the fact that the boy’s adoptive mother, Jessa Wells, is the Assistant District Attorney. Jessa is on a quest for justice for a murder in Cooper’s family, and the target of her inquiry puts her at odds with Cooper. Jessa now worries that she might actually lose her son to Cooper. Complicating matters even more is a growing attraction between the two, and the decisions they must make to ensure Liam’s safety.
As Jessa and Cooper grapple with these challenges, plenty of action unfolds. There are violent threats to all of their lives, mysterious and villainous foes, a tangled web of devious lies. The robust plot developments and character portraits suggest many more stories in and of themselves. The subsequent books in the series will satisfy many a reader’s curiosity regarding outcomes and developments for characters such as Cooper’s brothers, sister and parents.
Ultimately Maverick Sheriff is the love story of a fiercely protective mother and a deeply wounded cowboy. At the same time, it is a story of morality and loyalty in the face of danger and treachery.
Maverick Sheriff is a satisfying stand-alone read, and an enticing introduction to the world and people of Sweetwater. The next book in the series, Cowboy Behind the Badge, is a welcome return to this place that by now has drawn the reader in.
Cowboy Behind the Badge hits the ground running, fast paced and action packed. We get another satisfying dose of mystery, suspense and romance where the stakes are high and the characters must somehow overcome their opposition if they want to survive.
Tucker McKinnon, a Texas Ranger, finds two babies in his pantry, put there by a woman, Laine Braddock, who shares a conflicted past with Tucker. If Tucker is to protect the babies and Laine from a murderous threat to their lives, he and Laine must also confront dramatic revelations and their now not-so buried feelings for each other.
While Tucker is all about doing one’s duty and doing the right thing, nevertheless he is truly conflicted. The murder that ties, and divides, his and Laine’s families has long overshadowed his past feelings for Laine. Now, while he is compelled to protect her, and struggles with his feelings for her, he is pulled by family loyalty and troubled by the things he learns.
Laine is drawn to Tucker as a matter of survival, and yet she also must contend with their shared past and the unanticipated electricity between them. Like Jessa in Maverick Sheriff, Laine is a resolute and determined protector of the babies, as well as a strong model of an insightful, intelligent and loving woman.
In Cowboy Behind the Badge, we continue to get to know the McKinnon family, and by now are truly invested in them. The cast of intriguing supporting characters also continues to grow, as well as the sly plot twists and hints we’ve come to expect from this series. This second book in the series takes the best features of the first book and amplifies them.
The intrigue, action, passion and conflict make Cowboy, like all the books in this series, a fast read. It too leaves the reader breathless and wanting more. The pacing is engaging while bedeviling conflicts, excruciating heartbreak and character evolution add depth to most every scene.
Obviously a common theme, among others, between the first two books in the Sweetwater series is a threat to children. What is also a common thread, and part of what wins this series such a loyal fan base, is the humanity, frailty, morality and sheer will of it’s protagonists.
On the one hand, these stories may challenge some readers’ idyllic, romantic image of the cowboy. On the other hand, the Sweetwater series brings such depth and life to it’s characters and community that, if anything, it brings the cowboy into the modern age for us, with all his iconic attributes still evident in an imperfect being.
Our realistic cowboys are paired with with strong women in these first two books, who also exhibit strengths and weaknesses that we can relate to.
Again, the second book in the Sweetwater series will have readers rooting for their favorite characters and plot lines to see in the rest of the books. The balance of the series doesn’t disappoint.Book Series In Order » Characters » Sweetwater Ranch