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Sinful by Joan Johnston
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Very good book and story of a second chance at love. Connor and Eve come from two feuding families. Eve's father had been married to Connor's aunt until she died of a drug overdose. Connor's father blamed Eve's father for the death and their feud carried over to their children. Connor and his brothers (the Wild Flynn Boys) and Eve and her sisters (King's Brats) spent a lot of time as they were growing up pulling pranks on each other. One prank the Eve pulled on Connor ended up with him dating and then marrying her best friend Molly.

During his last tour in Afghanistan, Connor's wife was killed in an accident. Molly's parents took care of Connor's two kids until he came home, but then refused to give custody back to Connor. Strangely enough, it is testimony from Eve, who is also the kids' godmother, that results in Connor's success. But his kids don't know him any more, so he has to call on Eve for help getting the children settled. When it looks like he's going to need more than expected, he makes Eve an offer she can't refuse - marry him and she can have it all.

Eve is a wildlife photographer and recently rescued a herd of wild mustangs, which are currently living on her father's ranch. Thanks to the return of her estranged half brother, Eve is about to lose her home and a place to keep her horses. When Connor offers her a place for herself and her horses in exchange for her help, she can't say no. She loves his kids as if they were her own and will do anything for them.

But both Eve and Connor have a secret. Eve has been in love with Connor since they were in school, but because of their families she had never acted on it. Then he was married to her best friend, making him even more off limits. Now that Molly is gone, Eve feels guilty about being able to act on those feelings. Connor had also had feelings for Eve back during high school. He'd gone out with Molly to teach Eve a lesson, but over the next couple years had actually grown to love her. He was happy in his marriage, but there had always been something about Eve, even though he never acted on it. Now that there's no barrier between them, he has to fight his own guilty feelings.

I really liked the way that they both admitted their attraction to each other, even though they weren't quite ready to admit their feelings at first. They had the maturity to talk to each other about it. The chemistry between them was hot, and they were very willing to give in to it, even though fate seemed to make them work for it. They also get to know each other very well outside the bedroom. Eve helps Connor to deal with some of his memories of the war and supports his work with veterans on the ranch. Connor understands Eve's love of her photography work, and what she wants to have happen with her horses. I loved how they grew to trust each other with their hearts, and wanting what was best for the other person. I loved seeing the surprise each one had for the other at the end, and how those surprises came about.

As the first book in this part of the series, there's quite a bit of time spent on set up. The book started with Eve's father, King, finding his estranged son and working to get him to come back to Wyoming. There must be reasons for what he did, but the results make him even more unlikable. His son, Matt, is another man who seems cold and selfish, especially regarding his half sisters and what's to happen to them. I'm looking forward to finding out more about what caused their rift. Then there is Connor's father and brothers, who have their own parts in the drama. His father's actions when Connor married Eve were manipulative, and I loved seeing Connor stand up to him. Angus also seem to have some kind of revenge plot going on that will affect the Grayhawks. There are also some extra tensions between one of his brothers and one of Eve's sisters that I am looking forward to finding out more about. There also seems to be some mystery involving Connor's brother Devon. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series to see how all of these play out. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Aug 24, 2015 |
I received a ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley and Dell publishing. This does not alter my view or opinion.
Summary
Eve has always been in love with Connor, ever since high school, but he has never acknowledged her as more than his wife’s best friend. Now her best friend is dead, with two little children without a mother, and Connor, back from the military, fighting to keep custody of his children. Eve loves her work, and has a passion for horses, but when her father makes a deal with his son Matt, to take over the ranch, she realizes that she and her two sisters will soon be kicked off, and she has 22 wild horses in need of a home. Connor has faced quite a bit in his life, after serving in the military, and he is back now and facing the biggest battle….getting his children back. He loves his children and will do anything to keep them. When he sees Eve again, he offers her a deal, marry him and she will have a place on his ranch to put her wild mustangs and study and photograph them to her heart’s content. Both Connor and Eve have loved each other for quite some time, and Connor adored his first wife, but Eve is something more, and will do whatever he can to keep her in his life…

The Hero
Connor is a military hero. He is a Flynn, fought for years in the military. But when he comes home and retires his wife has an accident and he is now a widower with two young children to raise, two children that barely know him. Now he is in a custody battle against his late wife’s parents. He has recently set up a ranch for veterans, to come to a place that offers peace and quiet, a ranch in the countryside that offers them healing. But he has one secret, he has been in love secretly with Eve, who is “forbidden fruit” to him. Her father and his father hate each other, and both families despise each other. Its been a feud for years, but Connor doesn’t care what his family thinks…he loves Eve and will have her. What a character Connor is, quite different from the rest of his family. He is protective, a family man, honorable and loyal. The perfect cowboy and knows how to give good lovin’.

The Heroine
Eve Greyhawk, is known as one of the “King’s Brats” and even though they have had a home on their daddy’s ranch, each of them have worked on their own careers. Eve adores horses, is a professional photographer, and could soon be working for “National Geographic”. She has just rescued a herd of wild horses, horses that would have been bought and sliced and diced for foreign countries as “cuisine”, horses that need to roam and run free. Now it appears that she and her sisters will soon be kicked out of their home, so their father can make reparations to Matt his oldest son. When Connor makes an offer, how can she refuse sharing a life with a man she has always wanted. Eve was an endearing heroine, and I loved her. She is passionate and strong, she stands on her own and defends what she believes in. I adored her passion for saving horses, and I couldn’t help but admire her will in protecting them. She had a quality to her character that is somewhat unique, she could be both practical and emotional…she could see both sides of a situation.

Plot and Story Line
Sinful is part of Joan’s Bitter Creek series, but a bit set apart. Now most of the series focuses on the Creeds and Blackthornes…the next few books will be focusing on two feuding families….The Greyhawks and Flynn’s. Its a modern western romance. Now we have two sides we have the Flynn boys, and the King’s brats (three of them). Sinful is Connor and Eve’s story. The story starts off with Connor saves Eve from being manhandled and she testifies in court in his defense so that he can regain custody of his children back. Then we see Eve’s father make a decision where it looks like he is choosing his son over his daughters. And Eve needs to find a new home and soon. What happens here is what sets up the story more, and brings Connor and Eve together. These are two people who have loved each other from afar, and now they have a chance to be together, but they know their troubles may just beginning once they get hitched. Because they are both part of a feud, much anger and distrust between them both, but we also see the balance that Eve and Connor begin to bring to their families, and soften the hurt a bit. I do love a good feuding family story, and Joan Johnston does a spectacular job at it. She has been a favorite author of mine for quite some time, and she has written both contemporary and historical….and she just gets better. I just couldn’t get enough of “sinful”…it had a simplicity to it….but there are complex issues that she brings to life, characters that jump out at you and grab onto your heart and refuse to let go. Their romance was soft and sweet…delectable in every way. And there are definite future books coming for more of those Flynn’s and Greyhawks…and should be a wild ride.

The Cover
I have grown to adore this cover….I love the pose against the tree (which connect to the story, love it when that happens), and we see the beautiful scenery in the background…sensual and majestic.

Overall View
Sinful is a warm and sensual romance, that has spice and flavor on every page. A story to leave your taste buds salivating…delectable and tangy!! SPLENDID!! ( )
  addictofromance | Apr 30, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joan Johnstonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gibson, JuliaReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Books, RecordedPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804178666, Mass Market Paperback)

For readers of Linda Lael Miller and Susan Mallery comes New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston’s sizzling contemporary Western romance, where power, money, and rivalries rule—and love is the best revenge.
 
WHILE HE SEEKS A HAVEN,
SHE SEARCHES FOR A PLACE TO CALL HOME
 
After a tragic accident leaves Delta sergeant Connor Flynn a widower, he faces the toughest fight of his life: battling his in-laws for custody of his two young children. To win he’ll need a make-believe bride to take care of the kids while he runs his Wyoming ranch. Who better than a woman he already knows and likes—his late wife’s best friend?
 
Ruthlessly forced from her home by her powerful father, King Grayhawk, Eve needs somewhere to go . . . and so does the herd of wild mustangs she’s rescued. Connor’s offer sounds like the answer to a prayer. But Eve has a guilty secret she’s guarded for years: She’s always been in love with Connor.
 
Now forced to live under the same roof as her heart’s desire, Eve must hide the love that has never died, while Connor vows to resist his growing need for a woman who was forbidden fruit during his marriage. Can two lonely people set adrift by fate and haunted by guilt find redemption in the healing embrace of love?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:25 -0400)

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