Title: Chasin' Mason
Author: Stacey Joy Netzel
When his father announced his engagement to a gold-digger with a lying, scheming fourteen-year old daughter, seventeen-year old Tripp Warner left Warner Ridge Ranch and never looked back. Until the day he got the phone call that his father had died unexpectedly.
Reggie Reed lives with her guilt every day but can't quite work up the courage to track down the son of the man who raised her as his own. When Tripp shows up at his father's funeral eleven years later--and a hell of a man to be reckoned with--he has no interest in her too-late apology. Worse, they've inherited half shares of the family ranch-but only if they work together to catch Mason's Gold, the stallion a young Reggie let escape and made sure Tripp took the blame for.
Tripp proposes a secret competition to the beautiful witch who stole his life: whoever catches the stallion first gets the ranch all to themselves. It sounds simple, but once they're out on the range, tempers and passions flare in the Texas heat and nothing goes as either of them expects.
For some reason, this book was not what I was expecting. I can't quite put my finger on why, though. At the age of 17, Tripp Warner caught Regan freeing Mason (his father's new stallion). Regan, the 14 year old brat of his father's girlfriend, ran crying to Judd Warner and blamed Tripp. Having enough of her, Tripp decides to leave and never looks back. He has blamed his father and the Princess for 11 years until he returns back to the ranch after the death of his father.
When Tripp decided to come back to the ranch, he has a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas. And rightfully so, Regan was a bitch when she did what she did. Yeah, she was only 14, but she also admits to him that she never told his father the truth. That's just wrong. Deep down, I think I was rooting for Tripp to win their little competition and win the ranch. Of course, they fall in love instead. I loved the scenes of the two of them in the tiny, one room cabin...especially when Tripp is washing and brushing Regan's hair. As for Regan, of course she regrets what she did and appologizes profusly. However, if I were Tripp, I don't think I could have forgiven her that quickly. The scenes of Tripp asking his father's friends and employee if Judd talked about him broke my heart. The joy Tripp felt when someone finally said yes, Judd did talk about him gave him the freedom and resolution that he seeked. Aww...
I really enjoyed the book. I would love to live in the country side that Stacey created. She also created two characters that had depth and were strong willed. I do wish the book was a little longer so Regan could grovel a bit more and their new relationship could develop more. I felt that it wrapped up a little quick. I look forward to reading more of Stacey's books.