ARC Review: Montana Actually by Fiona Lowe

Format: E-bookmontanaactually.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Medicine River, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Josh Stanton
Heroine: Katrina McCade
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 6, 2015
Started On: May 19, 2015
Finished On: May 20, 2015

Dr. Josh Stanton’s move to Medicine River County, to a town called Bear Paw comes from the need to quickly pay off his student loans. The move from Chicago hadn’t come easy for Josh. The relationship that he has just gotten out of, after being burnt from the brunt of it all doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Josh comes from a family of prestigious surgeons. The fact that he had chosen to specialize in ER medicine and lands in a town which requires he divide his time between the clinic and the ER isn’t an irony lost on him.

Katrina McCade returns to her hometown after eight years of living it up outside of it. What brings her home back to her family is too shameful for her to reveal. The fact that she had been duped by the man she had been in love with, ready to share her life with is something that is proving quite difficult for Katrina to get over from. The last thing she needs is for the entirely too irresistible Dr. Josh to be her new tenant, a man who makes her stir crazy from desire one minute and makes a side of her she is not too comfortable with to rear up the next.

While the attraction between Katrina and Josh is inevitable from the start, what makes the story juicier is that neither of them wants to be in a relationship and thinks of their non-relationship as a sort of “people who can barely stand each other – benefits” sort of agreement. What neither of them bets on is finding things that they both like, respect and eventually come to love about each other. But the scars left behind from previous relationships prove to be not that easy to get rid of. However, it does deliver the sort of deliciousness that proved Montana Actually to be a book that was hard to put down.

Fiona Lowe makes it so easy to fall in love with every single aspect of this book. From the reluctant and very sexy Dr. Josh to Katrina to the whole bunch of secondary characters that brings the whole story alive; there is nothing I would change in any of it. The entire setting, how Josh who would like nothing better than for the nightmare he has been saddled with to be over, finds himself slowly settling into the pace of life at Bear Paw and finding it in his heart to accept and be accepted into a tightly knit community was a wondrous thing to watch unfold.

Every single character that appeared in the story was endearing and unique in their own way. The secondary romance included in the story was just the icing on the cake if you ask me. Fiona’s insight and sensitivity in handling a character such as Beau with his speech difficulties reminded me of Ellen O’Connell’s story Without Words. There is an emotional impact when characters such as Beau are delivered in the right manner that just makes a story that much more worth savoring.

The sparks between Josh and Katrina that emerge from the very beginning was a sight to behold and enjoy as well. Josh with his reluctant fascination towards a woman who makes him want to grit his teeth at times and then makes every primal instinct within him come alive at the very next second shakes him up unlike anything else. The pain that Josh holds in his heart from the life and relationship that he’d left behind is very real one, one that nearly broke my heart. But the delicious fun that Josh indulges in with Katrina, all in the name of just sex alone of course, was too fun to watch to dwell on the pain and heartache. And before I knew it, I was in love with Dr. Josh myself.Oh well, who am I kidding. I was in love with him the minute he stepped into the shower – with all his clothes on!

Katrina herself has got a past that rivals Josh’s. The fact that she had come back to her hometown after so long speaks volumes. Her heart had broken into pieces when her last relationship had ended with disillusionment of the kind she never thought possible hurting her soul. Katrina swears off men, especially doctors and the last thing she needs is to have lascivious thoughts about the town’s new physician. But that’s exactly what she ends up doing and more and it was sheer joy to see these two make their way towards their happily ever after.

While the story might seem all light, fluff and laughter, it was hardly that. There is enough emotion in it to practically sucker punch you over and over again. It takes a rare kind of book for me to shed actual tears and Montana Actually turned out to be one of those unique books with the ability to make me bawl my eyes out. Perhaps it was because I was in a pensive mood myself or because Fiona Lowe is that good; I’m going to go with the latter, I had to stop reading at a certain point and take a break because the emotional impact of it all was too overwhelming to continue. I don’t mean to scare any of you into not picking this up; let me reassure you that you would want to continue because there is definitely love and laughter at the end and of course the delicious sneak peak into the second book in the series to contend with!

It is tough to pull off a book with multiple characters and even plot in a secondary romance and make ALL of it work to give such a deliciously beautiful book. I for one am kicking myself for having waited this long to read this. Oh well. Life happens and my reading ambitions definitely have a way veering off track during those times. Last but not the least dear Ms. Lowe, keep em’ coming. For there is nothing more that reaffirms my belief that romance books are what keeps the world turning than a good book that engages all my emotions.

Final Verdict: Fiona Lowe effortlessly charms her way into your heart with Montana Actually. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

Josh strode quickly through the door, filling the diner with his height, his breadth and his restless energy.
Light gray eyes—eyes that no longer looked like a red trail map—met hers. A flare of surprise burned in them along with something that made her shiver in a very good way. As fast as it had glowed brightly, it faded away leav- ing her wondering. In its place was the more familiar and slightly detached gaze.
She swallowed hard, determined to sound cool, calm and collected. “Doctor Stanton.”
“Nurse McCade.” He eyed the coffeepot in her hand suspiciously. “I hope you’re more in control of hot coffee than paint.”

One minute there was a safe and healthy distance between them, and then the old sofa cushions caved inward, rolling her sideways. Her shoulders bumped into his arm and then she fell across him. Suddenly, she found herself sprawled half on his lap.
“Sorry,” she spluttered as her body squealed in delight. “This sofa is a disaster.” She tried to move but the sucking cushions pinned her against him—a solid wall of muscle radiating heat. Heat that wove through her, taunting her with delicious quivers that danced and swirled before rushing straight to the apex of her thighs.

He groaned and, tantalizingly slowly, traced the outline of her top lip with the tip of his finger. Like a match to paper, she went up in flames as heat and joyful anticipation rocked her. She opened her mouth under his touch, her tongue licking the tip of his finger before her lips sucked it inside her mouth.
The black pupils of his eyes bled into the silvery gray. “Dear God, you’re killing me.” As he withdrew his finger, his other hand curved around the back of her neck and he kissed her.

The kiss was deliciously restrained and divinely decadent. Honor and lust—a kiss of the ages. A kiss any woman would envy.
A kiss that was driving her wild. She wanted to shake the control and unleash the passion.
Tingling from head to toe and desperate to really taste him, she opened her mouth under his, flicked out her tongue and invited him in. He didn’t hesitate. He branded her with his heat and his need for her, both giving and taking, and her knees buckled. She grabbed onto his shirt and he staggered backward, bringing her with him.

He waited for her to say or do something to tell him exactly what she wanted, but she stayed silent, so he lowered his mouth to hers.
He tasted salt, beer and restraint. He lightly nipped her lower lip.
She moaned, rose on her toes and opened her mouth under his, taking him in.
Thank you.

“If I didn’t think it would give you a swelled head, I’d tell you that the reality of you naked, even fuzzily out of focus, far outshines the fantasy.”
He grinned at her with dimples dancing. “I aim to please.”
“So do I.” She closed her hand around him, loving the hot and silken feel of him in her palm.
“Jesus, Katrina,” he moaned as his hands reached for her. “Too much of that and I won’t be pleasing you for another twenty minutes.”
“Where’s your self-control?” she teased.
“I lost it the moment I met you.”

She wasn’t sure if she crawled up him or if he lifted her or if it was a bit of both, but suddenly her arms and her legs were wrapped tightly around him and her back was pressed up against the tiles.
All of her quivered with unmet need and her body screamed for him. “Fill me up.”
Snowstorm gray eyes gazed into hers, filled with match- ing need. “Now?”
“Yes, please, right now.”
He pushed up. She pressed down and beseeching muscles gripped him tight, so tight it was as if they were scared he might change his mind.

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