Ringer by C.J. Duggan
Series: Summer #3.5
April 2, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
They say it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about, and she was quiet, very quiet—when she wasn’t busy despising me with a burning passion.
Ringo ‘Ringer’ James has a no-strings-attached policy.
Love them, leave them, and remain the eternal bachelor.
After a summer in which every one of his mates has succumbed to settling down, or so it seemed, Ringer is on the lookout for a quick exit. Having had enough of the stomach-turning love fest witnessed over the past three months, Ringer jumps at the opportunity to help out his mate, Max, by heading to Max’s dad’s property for a working holiday.
It’s just what he’s looking for. A remote, dusty homestead in Ballan, with only hard work, a cold beer and a comfy bed to worry about – no women.
Until Miranda Henry.
The privately educated daughter of his boss has returned home from overseas and things are about to get very complicated, very fast. As summer draws to its end, Ringer is about to learn that sometimes attraction defies all logic, and that there really is such a thing as ‘enemies with benefits.’
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
He doesn’t begrudge them their happiness, but now that it seems all the Onslow Boys except him have paired off with someone, Ringer just wants to get away from it all. So when Max the bartender mentions his family needing help on their land, it’s the escape Ringer’s been waiting for. Maybe some time away will do him good, get his head back in the right place.
Miranda Henry is a force of nature. Tricked by her parents into coming home for a short stay, she’s none too happy to be back in Ballan, and she’s not about to pretend any differently, even if the cocky smirk of a new worker gets her blood running hot. She didn’t leave the city to get involved with a frustrating, mischievous country boy, but when lust/hate becomes straight up lust, he’s too much to be ignored.
After reading the first three books in the series, I was a little disappointed that the rest of the characters I’ve grown to love so much don’t have much presence in Ringer’s story. Some short scenes in the beginning, and then a few at the end are really the only pieces that really connect this book to the others. That’s not to say it isn’t a great story, and it was awesome getting to know Ringer, but I really missed the dynamic of all the Onslow Boys when they’re together.
Ringer was always such a goofball in the other books that I was surprised by his negativity at the beginning of this one. Fortunately, that quickly gave way to a more playful side, even when Miranda was working his last nerve.
The love story here is rather different as well, but it fits Ringer perfectly. He’s a good guy, but a sweet, coy girl with nothing but good intentions would never be able to handle him. Miranda, on the other hand, keeps him guessing, drives him crazy, and without meaning to, makes him take notice. Neither of them may have been looking for love, but it plows right into them whether they want it or not.
Ringer may be a novella, but it’s a complete story all on its own. The chemistry, the love/lust/hate dynamic, and the characters’ constant scheming to one-up each other is brilliantly written. And while I may have missed the rest of the Onslow crew, Ringer does a great job of holding me over until Adam and Ellie’s story begins.