Not just another small-town babe...
Teetering on the Tennessee border, Hootertown, Kentucky, suits beautician Jamie Lee Carter just fine. She's the kind of gal who prefers longneck beers to cosmos, bare feet to high heels, and Daisy Dukes to Prada, but a bit of flash might still win out over another pool-hall line dance. That's where Parker Carrington, a hunky Hollywood producer, comes in....
Not just another Saturday night fling...
He's pegged Hootertown as an ideal movie site--and Jamie as more than a sexy extra. He's adding sizzle to Jamie's romantic slump and firing up something called jealousy in Griff Sheldon, Jamie's brother's best friend and her longtime crush. Now two hot-blooded rivals are going head-to-head. One's got a Jaguar. One's got a pickup. And only one's got what it takes to give Jamie the ride of her life.
For the most part, I did enjoy this book. It was fun and entertaining--light-hearted and full of laughs. The romance between Jamie Lee and Parker was endearing. Parker was a very sweet and likable guy (more so, I think, than Griff). Griff was just too stubborn for me, especially when it came to his feelings about Jamie Lee.
During the first half of the book, I was confused as to why Jamie Lee would have a longtime crush on Griff (as the book description implies), when she kept referring to him as a "friend" (or big brother). Throughout the beginning of the stroy Jamie Lee acted as if Griff meant little more to her than just a close friend--not a longtime crush! (That seemed weird to me). Not until Chapter 3, during their first appearance together, did things start to make some sense. Still, it wasn't clear as to why they continued to repress their mutual attraction. When Jamie Lee said, "I've been down that road," but no further details were given, I kept wondering what happened in the past to make them so skittish of each other! McLane should have discussed the history of their relationship early on, (preferably in Chapter 3), and NOT during the second half of the book.
I thought Griff's reasons for not pursuing a romantic relationship with Jamie Lee fell a little flat. At 17, Jamie Lee was in love with a then 20-year-old Griff, but he turned her down for the usual reasons: She was his best friend's baby sister; she was too young for him; and he felt guilty lusting after a girl, whom he still thought of as a kid. However, even though Jamie Lee was no longer a kid, but a fully grown woman, stubborn Griff still refused to act on his desires. I just wanted to shake some sense into the guy!
Since this is my first McLane book, I don't know if she's particuarly fond of using the first person. In romance novels, I want to know the inner thoughts and feelings of the protagonists involved. However, in this book, readers are privy only to Jamie Lee's thoughts and feelings--not Parker's or Griff's. Another thing I didn't like is how McLane overused such ridiculous phrases as "you've-got-to-be-crazy-he-is-so-hot look," or "don't-give-me-this look," or "in one of her pissed-off-for-no-apparent-reason moods." A couple of these phrases are cute at first, but becomes too repetitive and annoying! (They also disrupt the flow of the writing as well). McLane, though, sure has a knack for comedy. The funniest moment in the entire book is definitely the mechanical bull riding scene. It was hilarious; I couldn't stop laughing!
DARK ROOTS AND COWBOY BOOTS is a recommended read. Not one of the best romance novels that I've ever read, but it's good--and better than average (3.5 stars). McLane's next romantic comedy, THE REAL MCCOY, is scheduled for 2007. It will star Jamie Lee's brother, Luke, and her best friend, Macy. Can't wait!