Author: Laura Wright
Narrator: Kaleo Griffith
Story rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Audio rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Branded take place in a small Texas town. When owner of the Triple C – a ranch that sustains the town passes away his three sons return home. They left their hometown after tragic death of their little sister and they don’t want to have anything with the ranch. Actually the oldest son Deacon would stop at nothing to destroy the ranch. Mac is the foreman of the Triple C and their sister’s childhood friend. She also happens to have a crush on Deacon when she was a girl. As they battle for the ranch they can’t deny their mutual attraction.
I labeled this book as romantic suspense, but I think Branded is more of a character driven romance; suspense takes a back seat here. There was a mystery to solve of course – a tragic death of Deacon’s little sister, but it was in background. The author did a great job writing very different characters, each of them with their own distinct personality. I love character-driven stories, so it was a pleasure to meet them all.
I admit that the book was a little slow in the middle, and my interest began to waver, but then Laura Wright changed the scenery. The first 50% of the book took place in the small town and have this “cowboy story” vibe. Then Deacon invited Mac to a dinner in the big city, and we unexpectedly have a look at his businessman side. I know FSOG ruined the whole “rich and handsome businessman” plot for many readers, but I love a sexy businessman in my romance. This aspect was a pleasant surprise in this country story.
This is Adult, so as expected there were some steamy and hot scenes. They were well-written, but I wasn’t impressed by romance in this book. My favorite aspect in romance is build-up, anticipation, and unfortunately there wasn’t much of it in this book.
Branded is the first book in this series. While the story centers around Mac and Deacon, there are also subplots about other brothers.
I also want to warn you: the mystery behind Deacon’s sister wasn’t solved in this installment. And I have a feeling we wouldn’t get answers in the next book too. I found this frustrating, because I don’t like unresolved mysteries.
My thoughts about the audiobook:
Branded is narrated by Kaleo Griffith. I liked his performance. He has a smooth deep voice and he did a perfect job voicing different characters. There was a scene where all three brothers were present, and his performance was amazing. I had no problems to distinct which one of three was speaking. It was my first experience this this narrator, and I want to listen more of his works.
While Branded wasn’t a mind-blowing book, it was an enjoyable one, with interesting characters and intriguing mystery. I’m interested enough to continue with this series.
PS. I’m not a big fan of bare-chested covers, but I’m in love with this model. I showed this cover to my husband with my comment: “Look at this gorgeous guy”. He was unimpressed. I hope he wouldn’t show me photos from some men magazine tomorrow in retaliation. Lol.