Simple Man (Whiskey River Road #9), by Kelly Moore
Expected Publication: November 1, 2021
She ran away hard and fast to escape a reality she couldn’t face. He was forced to live life without her. Can the rift between them ever be mended? Can he learn to trust her again?
Jane took off without a word, disappearing into the night. She left behind the one man she truly loved. Her misguided thoughts wanted him to move on without her. If she couldn’t give him a child, someone else could. She left town before she knew the truth…and she’ll regret her choice when she finds out.
Ethan is a Simple Man. He knows what he wants and needs. Jane is his heart’s desire and the only woman for him. When she runaways out of the blue, he’s lost and finds himself a single father. What option does he have other than learning to live without his wife?
He searched for her for months before he finally gave up. A year later, after he’d finally figured out how to live on his own as a single dad, he sees her standing in the background during a television interview. Should he go after her or leave well enough alone?
Welcome to my review for the 9th book in Kelly Moore’s Whiskey River Road series, Simple Man! Book 9 picks up about a year after book 8 ends with Ethan still struggling to adapt to life without Jane and life as a single father. He has an army of family to help but he’s struggling to focus on work while also fighting off advances of the sneaky mayor, Tally. Just as he decides it’s time to really make some changes and move on, they spot Jane standing in the background on the news. When Jane snuck away from Ethan and her family, she luckily came along Eureka Springs and met Gerty. Having spent the last year barely living and just working with Gerty while missing Ethan and her family, Jane is shocked when she finds Ethan at Gerty’s for dinner one evening. She instantly knows she wants him and their life back, but will he ever forgive her for leaving?
Oh my gosh, this one is so good!! After the way book 8 ended, I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about Jane in Simple Man. She created all of these reasons in her mind why Ethan was better off without her, left, and made a mess of things for everyone. Then she was all sad because Ethan and her family weren’t just bowing down at her feet. But all of that’s o.k. because she won me over in the end also. However, the best part of the book is the internal and external conflict regarding Ethan. I have adored his character since the very first book and have loved all of the changes he has gone through both personally and professionally. Throughout Simple Man, I found my heart breaking for him repeatedly while he fought this push and pull between his heart and his pride. He wanted her back but wanted to punish her. He wanted her back but wanted it to be on his own terms without her knowing everything. Ugggh, it was so frustrating at times, almost as bad as Wyatt was in Kentucky Rain, but there is no way not to be head over heels in love with Ethan, even when you want to smack him.
As always with Kelly Moore’s books in this series, Ethan and Jane’s story wasn’t the only one going on. Tally, the mayor of Salt Lick (and the character that I hate the most) was a constant annoyance to everyone throughout this book. Obsessed with hooking up with and hopefully marrying a Calhoun, Tally decided to up her game with Ian after realizing there was no hope with Ethan and truly went above and beyond with her seduction attempts. I’ve never been so frustrated and aggravated while reading, but this is what makes Kelly Moore absolutely shine as a writer. The plot and character development are so good that the writing becomes incredibly real to the reader, drawing you in so much that you forget you are reading a fiction novel.
Simple Man is one of the best things I have read in a while, and certainly in my top books for the year. It tugged at my heartstrings, it made me laugh, it made me angry, and every emotion in between. The typical banter and laughter were there, along with the mix of sexy and steamy, (there is a make-up scene that is off the charts hot), and of course – the overall theme of family being there for one another, forgiving each other, and always loving one another. This is a must-read that I highly recommend, and please don’t be intimidated by the “book 9” part if you haven’t started the series yet. Grab the first book and you will be hooked instantly, just waiting to get to this one. Kelly Moore is absolutely a favorite author of mine, but this one is special and an honor to read and review!
*Thanks to Kelly Moore for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!
Missed the start of this series? Check out my reviews for books 1-8! P.S. they are free right now with Kindle Unlimited!
Coming Home (Whiskey River Road, #1)
A cowboy. An empty altar. Coming home is complicated.
What stopped me from walking down the aisle to the perfect man? My stupid rebel heart, that’s what.
I loved Boone Methany with everything I had, but I wanted more than just the ranch I grew up on and training horses for the rest of my life. Leaving him on our wedding day wasn’t something I planned on. Neither was coming back to my family ranch after seven years in the military just to eat a heaping helping of crow.
I thought I was prepared to see him again. What I wasn’t ready for, was him being engaged.
Coming home is about to get mighty complicated.
Stolen Hearts (Whiskey River Road, #2)
A thief and a single father don’t bode well. She’s snarky, and sexy which can only lead to two broken hearts.
It was a day like any other on the ranch.
Hard work and no play makes for a cranky cowboy. Needing a night out on the town left me sneaking in my father’s house like a teenage boy. That was my first mistake of the day.
The second was playing hero to a damsel in distress that turned out to be no damsel at all but a sexy, snarky woman who took me by surprise.
How you ask?
I’d been a ladies man. That is until I became a father. My rebel days were gone. A six-year-old sassy daughter changed all of that for me. I didn’t need the complicated messy kind of love stuff. My hands were full.
A mission into town to handle a family issue would make my life more muddled. The day I met the woman who would steal my heart.
A thief. A woman on the run. A woman with one too many secrets. A woman whom I had to save because if I didn’t, I feared she disappear and take two hearts with her. I wasn’t prepared for the danger she was in and the decision I’d have to make. She’d hate me for sure.
I definitely wasn’t prepared for her to leave.
Three Words (Whiskey River Road #3)
Wild at heart. One hot cowboy. A heap of trouble.
What stopped me from saying the three words Ian wanted to hear? My stubbornness that protected my heart, that’s what.
A handsome cowboy with a hot body and a sense of humor to boot, Ian Daughtry was everything a woman could ask for. He was downright pretty to look at. The day he left my world spun out of control. It changed me inside. I was no longer the sweet, innocent girl. Instead, I became the wild child desperate to feel anything but love.
Now he’s back, slipped into town unbeknownst to me. My family knew but didn’t want to tell me, afraid it would rip me apart.
I have a news flash for him. I don’t care how hot he is, he ain’t gettin’ me back. This woman has done fine on her own. But boy howdy… just seeing him he sent me in a tailspin. One that might get me in a heap of trouble.
Kentucky Rain (Whiskey River Road, #4)
A law-abiding man, breaking all the rules and dodging love. I’ll either run her off or give her my heart.
I threw in my hat, giving up my job as a lawyer to become the one thing I swore I never would…a cowboy. I’ve lived on my father’s ranch my entire life, but never learned how to be a rancher’s son. Instead, I was urged to become an attorney by my father, who doesn’t live by the letter of the law.
Now, I’m left picking up the pieces of my life, trying to figure out who I am, and what I want. Trouble is brewing for me, I can feel it in my bones, especially when my friends-with-benefits relationship with Margret starts to feel like something more than I have to give. She deserves a better man than me.
My plan is to keep her at arm’s length. Her plan is to pull me in closer
Wild Ride (Whiskey River Road, #5)
He’s a tough cowboy. She’s a wild ride and the daughter of his family’s enemy. Will they let passion win out, or will it tear them to pieces?
Noah was raised apart from his family. Now, he’s trying to fit in with the Calhouns. But fitting in isn’t always easy when you’ve been a loner. A roll in the hay with a gorgeous woman fits his lifestyle. Falling in love was never in his plans.
Molly Granger’s lived a hard, dedicated life to her father. A man she loathes but has pledged her loyalty to—at least by all appearances. Her only focus has been revenge, even at the cost of her own life. Her goal is thrown off-kilter the day she meets Noah in a bar.
The connection between Molly and Noah is raw and intense, but neither one wants to admit their attraction. A wedge forms between them when Noah finds out her father is enemy number one.
Trapped between desire and vengeance, will they find a middle ground?
Magnolia Mill (Whiskey River Road #6)
She moved to Salt Lick Kentucky to a family she never knew. Now that she’s cured, she has a second chance at love. Will she take it or will she let fear chase him away?
Jane moved from Texas to Tennessee with her twin brother Noah to a family she had never met. She was overwhelmed with the warmth she received from each one of them. She was broken and dying. They healed her physically but they couldn’t take away her inward scars. She fixed herself up, plastered on a smile, and won the hearts of the town. As mayor of Salt Lick, she had a new beginning to fulfill her dreams, fall in love. Her only problem was, she wasn’t ready to let go of her heart so easily.
Ethan York came home with his best friend, Clem Calhoun. He was a big city boy trying to manage his life on the ranch. He found his calling in life; to be a cowboy. He also fell in love with Jane the first time he laid eyes on her. Neither one of them were ready to explore their emotions. Time passed and Ethan felt like he couldn’t breathe any longer with her in his life. His new job landed them working together on projects. The fire within him was ignited. Jane pushed him away. But Ethan proved to be one persistent man, like a dog with a bone.
She was trapped behind her secrets, not willing to share them. Will she ever be able to let go and fall in love, again?
Rough Road (Whiskey River Road #7)
Clem and Boone are the backbone of the Calhoun family. They found their second chance together many years ago after Clem left him at the altar. They’re happily married, but Clem has never been able to give Boone the one thing she feels he wanted the most.
Boone is a happy, satisfied cowboy. He adores his wife and daughter, wanting for nothing more, but to live the rest of his days growing old with the woman he loves. His life is perfect other than the teenage daughter that’s driving him nuts. His ideal life is about to take a rough road he never saw coming, and he’s not sure he will survive it.
Clem is madly in love with Boone. He’s a good husband and father. She’s one lucky lady to have such a hot cowboy. He’s protective and broody when it comes to the Calhoun’s and she wouldn’t have him any other way. Life couldn’t be any better…until she gets news that will turn her whole world upside down. Rough doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The secret she keeps from Boone may tear them apart. It will be a test of their love not only between them, but the entire Calhoun clan. Will they be able to stand together or will it finally be the one thing that rips them apart?
Lucky Man (Whiskey River Road #8)
Does she or doesn’t she? She makes my head spin. All he knows it that he wants her heart. Missy Calhoun is the youngest horse trainer and owner in the business, and she has one goal–to win the Kentucky Derby. Missy threw love aside to focus on her passion. The last thing she needs is the sexy, smooth-talking cowboy whose horse is seated in first position stealing her thunder. Or her heart. That belongs to another man. Despite the chemistry she feels with Tucker, she’s unwilling to give in to him. Things ignite when he shows up out of the blue and sees her with another man. Tucker Anderson has one thing on his mind—giving Missy Calhoun the world if she’ll let him. Her on-again, off-again attitude only makes him more determined to melt away the hurt she harbors inside. When a real threat emerges, he’ll risk his own life to give her what she wants. Will they be able to weather the storm between them or will their hearts be broken?