Once Tempted

Laura Moore
Once Tempted
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Ballantine Books
Release Date
March 2013
Book 1 of Silver Creek
Contemporary Romance, Western Romance

Sweeping passions, family drama, and searing scandal play out at the magnificent Silver Creek Ranch as the heirs to a powerful dynasty seize their legacy of love.

Oldest son Ward Knowles feels the sprawling California ranch in his blood. And now that the family business has expanded to include a popular resort, he's working harder than ever. Silver Creek is his legacy and his life, which is fine for the ruggedly sexy ladies' man and committed bachelor. Love and trust don't come easily for Ward since he lost his heart to a gold digger—until he meets a shy, unpretentious beauty whose sweet grace is about to turn his jaded heart into a hungry one.

Tess Casari has found sanctuary at Silver Creek, working as an assistant to Ward's mother, Adele. Grateful for her busy new life running the ranch's spa and resort, Tess can escape the heartbreak, humiliation, and secret shame of her failed marriage. The last thing she needs is temptation—especially from a man who reminds her so much of the husband who shattered her faith in love. But passion and destiny are about to change the rules for two people who have stopped believing in the healing power of love.

Book Review by Rho (reviewer)
Mar 31, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
204 people found the following review helpful
ONCE TEMPTED is a sexy new read by author Laura Moore that not only gives us a tantalizing tale of undeniable love but also is a great start to a new series that's sure to speak to contemporary romance lovers everywhere.

Tess Casari is ready to start over. She packed up everything and headed out to California to begin a new life. She's struggling to get over the humiliation and shame she feels about her failed marriage, so she knows happily ever afters and love are just not in the cards for her. Things change when she arrives at the Silver Creek Ranch and meets Ward Knowles, the oldest son of the family who owns the ranch.

Ward Knowles is also jaded by love. His engagement didn't end well when he found out that his fiancée was more in love with his money than him, but then he meets Silver Creek Ranch's newest employee, Tess.

Ward and Tess don't get along at first but their attraction to each other is undeniable. And when the two of them are forced to spend more time with each other in order to plan a wedding for Ward's friends, the attraction turns into a no-strings affair. Neither one of them plan on falling in love, but it happens. However, both Ward and Tess have a past and those pasts may be what keep them from having their chance at love.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started reading ONCE TEMPTED. I've never read anything by Laura Moore before, so I didn't have any previous experience to draw upon, but I was pleasantly surprised right from the beginning.

Tess had been through a lot before she decides to leave New York for California where she knew no one, but she felt like she needed a change. That takes major guts to do something like that, and it made me instantly like her. She also was a person who had life knock her down more than once but she kept getting back up with a smile on her face.

Ward to me seemed to be more of an arrogant playboy at the beginning of the story, but I was happy to see my initial (as well as Tess') assessment was wrong and there was a lot more to the handsome cowboy than what was on the surface. It seemed to me that Tess and Ward's pasts were what both made them perfect for each other but was keeping them apart as well.

ONCE TEMPTED had a great plot. Tess and Ward had so much chemistry watching them navigate each other was quite amusing. I also liked the way that the author worked their pasts into the story.

The secondary characters, especially the rest of the Knowles family, were also rich and well-developed. I cared about them as much as I did the hero and heroine. Also, there were animals on the ranch that played a big part of the story that rounded it out and made the world that was the Silver Creek Ranch so much more believable.

My only complaint about the story was how quickly the ending was wrapped up. After all of the time dedicated to the Tess and Ward's burgeoning romance, I wanted more of an ending for them. However, I was so ecstatic for them to have their happily ever after, I was able to overlook that pretty easily.

As stated before, ONCE TEMPTED is the start of the new Silver Creek series which will be centered around the Knowles family. I am interested in seeing what the two other siblings (Ward's younger, playboy brother Reid, and his younger sister Quinn) get up to in future books.

ONCE TEMPTED is a solid four star read for me. I enjoyed the book from beginning to end and was sad to close the back cover when I was done. This is my first novel by author Laura Moore, but it won't be my last. I liked her voice and pacing for this story and can't wait to see what happens next on the Silver Creek Ranch.
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