Can’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe

Title: Can’t Buy Me Love (Crooked Creek Ranch #1)

Author: Molly O’Keefe

Genre: Contemporary

A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Tara Jean Sweet knows that opportunity will never knock; she’ll have to seize it. Elderly Texas rancher Lyle Baker has a dying request: He will give Tara Jean a stake in his leather business in exchange for a little family subterfuge. All Tara Jean has to do is play the part of a gold-digging fiancée to lure Lyle’s estranged children home. The mission is soon accomplished.

Now Lyle’s gone—and his ridiculously handsome son, Luc, an ice hockey superstar sidelined by injuries, is the new owner of Crooked Creek ranch. He’s also Tara Jean’s boss. But being so close to sinfully sweet Tara Jean does crazy things to Luc’s priorities, like make him want to pry her deepest secrets from those irresistible lips. But when Tara Jean’s past demands a dirty showdown, will Luc stay and fight?

I loved this book! I believe Molly O’Keefe has only written category romances before and this is her debut single title romance–and I’m so glad she’s writing single title now, too!

Do not be fooled by the cover for CAN’T BUY ME LOVE. It seems fun and flirty and, well, playful. While there’s plenty of crackling sexual tension and other sexiness in this book, it definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. Possibly not for readers who only like to read about “nice” heroes and heroines, either.

This book is dark. Dark in the sense that Luc and Tara Jean and each of the secondary characters are real people with real issues. They are flawed and they make mistakes, and it’s exactly because of this–and because Molly O’Keefe has done a phenomenal job in breaking down stereotypes I didn’t even know I held in my mind–that I highly recommend CAN’T BUY ME LOVE.

Tara Jean Sweet (yes, she was born with a different name) looks like the kind of woman you’d expect to step off the pages of a 80s Playboy magazine–lots of skin and boobs and hair and make-up. She’s the kind of woman that other women instantly dislike; most would describe her as “low class” and “obvious”. I’ve never read this kind of a woman as a romance heroine, and I thought the author did a fabulous job in showing us the reasons why she dresses and acts like she does, and the ways in which this persona both conflicts with and is a true reflection of her inner self.

Luc Baker is an older and injury-ridden hockey player who’s become jaded and skeptical. When he first sees Tara Jean, he sees exactly what she wants him to see; she’s a woman who might be good for sex and robbing an old man of his money and not much else. It’s the glimpses he quickly gets of her inner strength, however, that hold his interest and make him want to know more about her.

The summary of the book is a fair description of the setup, and I don’t think going through the chapters or scenes for the plot is necessary. That’s not to say that there is no plot in this book, for there certainly is. It’s just that Ms. O’Keefe has done such a tremendous job of bringing her characters to life that they will be the reason any reader will either love this book or hate it.

For me, it’s definitely a “love”.

Grade: B+


1 Comment

  1. Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm)

    I totally agree that this cover was deceptive – definitely doesn’t look like a book that made me a bit teary more than once. I can’t believe I never read any of Molly O’Keefe’s category romances, but I’m glad to find she’s written a lot – she’s fantastic. I haven’t had a chance to read Can’t Hurry Love yet, but I already love how she set that one up in Book One.


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