I was provided with an advance reader copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I received no financial incentives to review this book.
Series: Bunyip Bay #2
Published by Harlequin MIRA on May 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Rural Romance
Source: the publisher
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Ruby wasn't looking for love, Drew wasn't looking to stay...until they found each other. Can their fling survive the darkness of Ruby's past and Drew's desire to move on?
Ruby Jones was always an optimist, but the trauma of her past had made her wary. So when she flees to the small rural community of Bunyip Bay to start afresh, she has her sights firmly set on establishing her horse-riding business and rebuilding her life. The last thing Ruby wants is a romance. In fact, after all she has been through, she can't imagine she will ever believe in love again.
Police officer Drew Noble has no intention of staying in Bunyip Bay — he is just an outsider seeking temporary refuge. But as the charm of the town sways him, Drew finds himself increasingly drawn to the community and its inhabitants, as well as another newcomer, the lovely Ruby Jones.
When Drew investigates a suspicious fire at Ruby's parents' business, he finds himself feeling strangely protective of the girl with the flowers in her hair. As the details of Ruby's past emerge and she comes once more under threat, Drew realises he will do all in his power to save her.
Soon these outsiders discover they have both lost their hearts — not only to the town but to each other.
My review of Outback Blaze was originally posted on the Naughty Ninjas website.
Thanks to the ladies for allowing me to repost the review here.
There’s usually a few things about a book that let me know that it is a winner. Reading it in one sitting does it every time. Outback Blaze was that book for me.
I am an unabashed fan of Rachael Johns and her gorgeous rural romances, and when I managed to pick my jaw off the ground at the sight of “hot blue-eyed guy” on the cover …. those eyes …. sorry, got distracted …. I dove into the reading of her latest release. There was just so much to love about this book – the wonderful, colourful characters, the hint of suspense that runs through the story, a hero and heroine you want to cheer on and care deeply about.
So, what did I think of Outback Blaze?
I loved the development of Ruby and Drew’s romance. There is that to-ing and fro-ing that I love, along with a good dash of heat. Both have secrets they feel the need to hide, and neither is expecting the attraction to develop as it does. There is no rush towards the sexytimes, and there are some definite bumps and potholes on their road to a happy ending. I loved that Drew wanted to find out the truth about what led to and caused the fire, but still wanted to believe the best of Ruby’s parents. You never feel as if he’s teetering over the edge into either side, which could quite easily have happened.
With this having a suspense thread weaving its way through the story, I have to say a big, big thank you to Rachael for keeping the mystery to the very end. No flashing and obvious red lights here! Just as you think you may have it sorted out in your head, something comes along that makes you think differently. Let’s just say, without me pulling the curtain back to show you the wizard, that you will NOT be expecting things to happen as they do or at the hands of that particular person. I love this kind of suspense – the type that keeps you guessing without making you feel like you’re stuck on the never-ending Gravitron.
The events that bring about the mystery and the reactions of the people of the town are so wonderfully done. Rachael has done a brilliant job of showing how communities like Bunyip Bay can muster the troops in support of those who are suffering, but with the slightest hint (right or wrong) that something sketchy is afoot, can withdraw and shun just as quickly. I wanted to get all punchy on Ruby’s behalf when she and her family were turned on, but luckily she had Drew on her side.
If you are keen for a read that will make you laugh, give you a couple you’ll love, and show a town you’ll want to visit, Outback Blaze will definitely fit that bill. Go back and read Outback Dreams, if you haven’t already! This will introduce you to the town and the series – after reading them, you will be as antsy as I am to get your mitts on Outback Ghost. The covers are edible too.
Oh, and any book that has good looking men running through the streets in their undies has my vote!
P.S. I don’t know what offerings you made to the cover gods, Rachael, but the covers for this series are freakin’ sweet. Readers, check out the cover for book 3 – hot, muscly dude in short sleeves…..thank me later!!