Sometimes you can judge a book exactly by its cover. The brooding, petulant-looking cowboy on the cover of The McCaffertys: Slade is a good indication of what you’ll find inside. Instead of carrying an armload of firewood, though, he should be carrying a club - it would fit his idea of “romance” so much better.
Jamie Parsons was once a rather wild teenager living with her grandmother in Grand Hope, Montana. She had idolized Slade McCafferty, and for one glorious summer, it appeared that he returned her feelings. Jamie willingly lost her virginity to Slade, only to be dumped by him as he returned to his ex-girlfriend. Now Jamie is an attorney, back in Grand Hope, dealing with her grandmother’s death and doing the legal work on a McCafferty land transaction. It’s only to be expected that she’ll run into Slade again.
Slade is shaken up at the sight of Jamie. Gone is the headstrong young girl he’d cared about. Now she’s polished, professional - and cool to the point of frosty toward him. He’ll just have to make her see that she still cares about him, that’s all.
And that’s pretty much the sum total of Slade’s attitude toward Jamie for the rest of the book. Annoyingly know-it-all, he refuses to listen to Jamie when she tells him she’s not interested and to back off and leave her alone. Nope, Slade knows she still loves him, see, and if she doesn’t want to admit it, he’ll just have to force it out of her. Slade turns up at grandma’s house, time and again, and manages to get inside where he can badger Jamie with innuendoes and suggestive leers, all the while refusing to explain his behavior toward her fifteen years ago. Jamie, predictably, weakens.
Oh, how I wanted this book to have an unhappy ending, because Slade’s Neanderthal tactics wore thin after a few pages. Jamie’s other suitor, her boss at the legal firm, is no prize but next to Slade he looked like Prince Charming. As for Jamie, she actually does maintain her defenses for a good portion of the book, and her bad-girl background was a refreshing change. I liked her a lot. I just wanted her to walk away from Slade for good. He needed a major comeuppance - badly. And he didn’t get it, which violated my code of reader justice.
As for the rest of the McCaffertys, this book jumps in during the middle of a series, so it’s hard to tell what exactly is going on. Slade’s two brothers are happily married/engaged (see previous books, I gather). His sister has a new baby and she won’t name the father. She also claims she has amnesia. Since the sister comes across as a snot for much of the book, it’s hard to care what happens to her or her child, though the mystery baby is the tie that binds the books together, I gather.
I liked Jamie’s spunk and determination to chart her own course - away from Slade, if possible. But I couldn’t stand Slade. His brand of hulking alpha hero felt dated and repugnant. The rest of the cast made little impression. All in all, The McCaffertys: Slade was a disappointment.