Review: Branded by Laura Wright


Title: Branded (Cavanaugh Brothers #1)
Author: Laura Wright
Date of publication: 3 June 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Cowboys

Author links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 2 stars


In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers...

When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.

Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.


I've read a previous book by Ms Wright - a contemporary romance, First Ink (my review) - which I enjoyed and my main complaint was its novella length didn't allow for much character development. So, when I got a chance to read an ARC of her full-length cowboy romance, Branded, I was curious to read it. 

Unfortunately, it didn't work well for me. I expected a cowboy story of love and second chance and instead I got a billionaire hero (a character which I generally don't like and avoid reading about) and some instalust and over-the-top love scenes which read more like paranormal that contemporary.

The hero and heroine had a complicated history, he was her best friend's older brother, her teenage crush and he had tried to stay away from her. At present they have opposite goals and nothing much in common. The beginning was promising - liked the atmosphere at the ranch and getting to know the characters, not Deacon and Mac, but Deacon's brothers as well. They had an important role and strong presence in the story which I quite liked. 

Deacon and Mac didn't work for me as a couple. I felt we were not given any reasons for them coming together (except, pure lust) and no real development of their relationship. They became from adversaries to soulmates overnight. It was unrealistic and their romance seemed forced. 

The love scenes, which were plenty, were so over-the-top that I skipped a lot of them. The chemistry didn't seem authentic but forced, the dialogue was stifled. 

On the positive side, there was a strong mystery/thriller element and it really held my attention throughout the whole story. This, together with the interactions between the Cavanaugh brothers were the best elements in this book.  

Still, despite being intrigued by the mystery I had too many issues with this story and I'm on the fence about continuing with series.

Purchase links: Amazon | B&N

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