Published: March 4th, 2014
Most Eligible Sheriff (Sweetheart Nevada #3)
By: Cathy McDavid
A Reason To Stay
Las Vegas casino manager Ruby McPhee needs to lay low while the police deal with a stalker at work. So she's trading in her high heels for cowboy boots and assuming her twin sister's identity at the Gold Nugget Ranch. Ruby only plans on staying in Sweetheart, Nevada, until the threat back home has passed. But then she discovers a detail her sister forgot to mention -- the handsome sheriff she's dating.
It only takes a single kiss for Cliff Dempsey to realize the woman in his arms is someone entirely different...and completely irresistible. To protect Ruby's secret, Cliff mantains her ruse, but soon the lines between duty and desire begin to blur. Ruby and Cliff know they have a once-in-a-lifetime connection, but will they have a chance to let their love grow?
Ruby McPhee is on the run, to take over her sister Scarlett's life while her stalker is in jail in Las Vegas. She needs to get away until the trial is over, and Scarlett is trying to reconcile again with her on-again/off-again boyfriend, Dimitri. So Ruby goes to fill in at work for her, so Scarlett won't lose her job at the ranch where she works. Of course her sister left out a very important detail when she was giving Ruby the lowdown on her life - she's been dating Cliff, the local sheriff! Imagine Ruby's surprise when he shows up at the ranch, starts talking about going out on a date, and kisses her! Cliff immediately knows that she's not Scarlett and after some skepticism and anger, he decides to help Ruby pretend to be Scarlett until her stalker is put away. But when the danger finally comes to town, can everyone escape unscathed? And can Cliff and Ruby ignore their attraction to one another, or are they simply meant to be?
I for the most part really enjoyed this small-town romance! I didn't realize that it was #3 in an on-going series, but it definitely works as a stand-alone as well. The history of Sweetheart, the town Cliff lives in, was very adorable and I loved how it played into his romance with Ruby. Also, the differences between her and Scarlett, and the mishaps they caused were pretty funny at times. The attraction between Cliff and Ruby definitely rings true throughout the book, and I liked that this one wasn't all about the sex between two people. It was more about the falling in love part of love, than the lust factor in the equation. I totally understood why Cliff was hesitant to get involved with Ruby, after having gotten involved with a witness to a crime in Reno and being burned by the relationship. Plus, it ruined his standing with the police department he worked for. Probably my least favorite things about this one were the selfish, flaky attitude of Scarlett, who is stringing along Cliff as a placeholder until she can be with Dimitri, and the attitudes of Cliff, his family and the other townspeople after the showdown with the stalker. Yes, Scarlett made a bad decsion to go off on her own with Cliff's cousin's children, when a crazed freak was after her identical twin. But it was Cliff's fault for leaving the kids with Scarlett, when he knows she's an undependable, opportunist who has not a brain in her head most of the time!
The way they blame Ruby for everything and how they treat her about it, is completely abominable. The ending resolves very sweetly after Cliff and his Aunt (the mayor) take their heads out of their asses and Ruby swings a high profile wedding to jumpstart the town's economy. Overall, a very cute and fast-paced romance, with a slight thriller element to it. But that ending just left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. If you're looking for a quick, romantic read and you might enjoy it.
VERDICT: 3.5/5 Stars
*I received a print ARC of this book from a representative (thanks Anna!) at Harlequin, as part of their Just Can't Get Enough campaign (March Theme: Weddings). No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book was published on March 4th, 2014.*