A quick rundown… Grace is a makeup artist running from L.A. with nothing. Cole is a cowboy who is looking at an uncertain future. Can love blossom between these two unlikely types?
Strengths: Really fun to read! More than just romance and cowboys, it offers insights into the way we act.
Weaknesses: You know the ending (but the ride is fun).
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Setting: Jackson, Wyoming
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Close Enough to Touch is a fun, sexy romp just perfect as a relaxing read in the lead up to Christmas or for those lazy summer holidays. (Alternatively, it would be just as good snuggled up under blankets). It’s light hearted, warm and relaxing; a romance at heart with a good general plot to keep you interested.
Grace is the main character of this story (I hesitate to call her a ‘heroine’, as she’d probably have my guts for garters!). She is completely broke after the end of her relationship and run out of Hollywood after some incidents and nasty rumours. The only place she has left to go is her Great Aunt Rayleen’s apartment in the middle of nowhere – Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After learning she is now living in what the locals call ‘The Stud Farm’, Grace’s hackles are up when she meets Cole, broken cowboy.
Why is Cole broken? He’s got some baggage from previous relationships and a nasty injury that may prevent him from reaching his dream as ranch owner. Sparks fly between Cole and Grace, but is there enough of a connection to keep conversation flowing? Add in some wonderful characters, such as Rayleen (who has killer one liners) and Jenny, the sweet-hearted barmaid and you’ve got a good story.
But wait, there’s more! Hollywood follows Grace to Jackson to film a cowboy/monster/alien movie and suddenly both Grace and Cole find their new relationships tested. Is the country really better than the big smoke?
I admire Dahl for writing a story that kept me entertained on so many levels – the relationship between Grace and Cole (very steamy), Grace’s shady past, Cole’s past and future in addition to having the reader interested in the fates of the supporting characters like Rayleen, Eve and Jenny. Not only did I want Cole and Grace to get together, I wanted Grace to make friends with Jenny, develop a good working relationship with Eve and a closer relationship with Rayleen. Her strengths are in forging the different types of relationships between the characters – in particular, the girls’ makeover is a wonderful, heart-warming scene. There’s also enough cowboy physique descriptions to keep you interested. Grace’s prickly, spiny demeanour is not so intrusive to be a clichéd plot device; in fact, I was so happy for her when she learned to trust a select few!
I hear there’s another book coming in this series and I’d be pleased to read another book about Grace, Cole and Aunt Rayleen! This is not your standard romance, please don’t pass it by.