Book of the Week, romance

Book of the Week: A Thorn in the Saddle

I mean it’s only a few weeks since I wrote a whole post about romances on ranches, and here I am recommending another one! You wait ages for a a cowboy and then a while load of them come along at once!

Lily-Grace and Jesse went to school together, but she skipped town for the bright lights of tech startups as soon and she could and he stayed at home to help run his family’s luxury dude ranch and look after his siblings while his parents were away acting. Jesse has never really had time for relationships – and the ones he’s tried have gone badly – but he’s been approached to run for public office, so that single status might have to change. Lily-Grace is back in town after a breakup and after Jesse decides that Lily-Grace’s dad can’t date his grandmother she gives him what for. But when she sees his shy and awkward side at a community event, she offers to help him. And you know where this is going!

This is the third in Rebekah Weatherspoon’s Cowboys of California series and this one is a Beauty and the Beast sort of thing, with a side order of a sexually inexperienced hero to boot. I was a bit worried at the start with where it was going with Jesse’s anger issues – but actually it’s more boundary issues and the fact that he’s had to take on a parental role to everyone and never had the chance to have any fun. I really enjoyed the way his nurturing side came out as his relationship with Lila-Grace continued.

This at the higher end of the middle of Rebekah Weatherspoon’s steam and peril range. Yes I know that sounds confusing. I would say this is closer to the heat levels of Rafe than the other books in the series as and it also has a little more of a suspense-y peril element, but no where near as dramatic as her actual suspense stuff. But mostly it’s just a fun way to pass a few hours reading about a couple of people falling in love in a low-key money is no object sort of way. Oh and there are horses. And that was just what I fancied last week.

My copy of A Thorn in the Saddle came from the library but it’s out now on Kindle and Kobo and in paperback – although I suspect if you want it in paperback you’re likely to have to order it from Amazon.

book round-ups, Recommendsday, romance

Recommendsday: Romances on Ranches!

Now I said in yesterday’s post about Better Luck Next Time that it is not a romance. And I absolutely standby that. But I know that a lot of people who read my blog read romances, so for Recommendsday today here are three books set on ranches that *are* romances!

If the Boot Fits by Rebekah Weatherspoon

A Cinderella retelling with a downtrodden PA and an Oscar winning actor who have a fraught first encounter when she accidentally takes his goody bag – containing his statuette – home with her and then end up at the same wedding at his family ranch. I wanted more comeuppance for the villain of the piece but enjoyed the dancing around about whether Sam and Amanda are just a fling or if they want it to be something more. The first book in this series – A Cowboy to Remember was a BotW just over two years ago and that’s just as much fun – even if it does have an amnesia plotline which is usually something I hate – and there’s a third book in the series that I haven’t read yet, but have on my watch list.

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

I haven’t read a lot of Nora Roberts, but I read Black Hills for the 50 states challenge in 2020. This is a romantic suspense with a long slow build and a resolution that happened a little too quickly for me after the build up. But how often have you heard me complain about romances wrapping up too quickly? Yeah, I know, a lot. When they were kids living on neighbouring ranches, Lil and Coop found the body of a dead hiker. Now they’re adults Lil is running a wildlife reserve and Coop is back in town taking a break from his life as an investigator to look after his grandparents. When pranks on the ranch turn into the killing of a cougar, the two start investigating only to find that the trail leads back to that body from long ago. Can they find the culprit before a killer finds them?

Summer Nights with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews*

This isn’t out until later in the month and it’s *slightly* cheating, because although it is in Crews’ Kittridge Ranch series, our hero Zack is running away from the ranch and rebelling by being the town’s sheriff. The heroine is Janie, a travelling nurse who has come to Cold River to find out more about her family’s past. Zack is suspicious of Jamie’s reasons for being in town and Janie can’t work out why she’s so drawn to the glowering guy who lives across the road. There are charm lessons and a hero who has to come to a reassessment about what he thinks his parents’ relationship is about. Probably the least ranch-y of this group, but worth a look.

NB: these are all contemporaries because historical romances in ranches are Westerns and I just dont really do westerns – and not just because so many of them are mail order bride stories… If you want one though, go read one of Beverly Jenkins’ ones – like Wild Rain.

Book of the Week, romance

Book of the Week: A Cowboy to Remember

As I said yesterday, it was a tough week for me last week, with all the changes in the world getting to me a bit. And I struggled to find my usual relaxation from reading, but there were some bright spots, And after a run of murder mystery picks, today I’m back with a contemporary romance choice.

Evie Buchanan is on the edge of something big. After winning a TV-cooking show, she’s snagged a hosting gig and she’s killing it. But when a fall down some stairs at a party nearly *literally* kills her, she’s left with a case of amnesia that she really needs to hide from her bosses and her fans. Her assistant gets in contact with the only “family” Evie has left – cowboys who run a ranch in California. Evie doesn’t remember them at all –  but when they arrive at the hospital to visit, one of them is the guy she’s been having dreams about since her accident. Zach hasn’t seen Evie since she left the ranch when he refused to admit that there were feelings between them. His family have always been desperate to pair them off together, but is he ready to admit that they might be perfect for each other? And what will happen if Evie gets her memory back and remembers how it ended the first time?

So, tell me again that I don’t like amnesia as a plot line (or cowboy stories), because this is so good and just goes to show in the right hands anything can make a great romance*. I’ve read a couple of Rebekah Weatherspoon’s other books (including Xeni which I wrote about after my birthday trip back in the times when we could still go away on holiday) and this has all the relatable characters and interesting plot that the others do, but with less on the page bedtime action. The chemistry between the leads is still as good, and it is in no way closed door – but it’s not as blush inducing as Xeni was. I was a bit concerned about how Zach and Evie’s relationship could be resolved if (well when) her memory came back because there seemed to be a couple of unresolvable things there – as I was concerned that one or other of them would have to become less (or give up their dreams) to make it work but actually, it was really cleverly worked out and fit in with both characters.

This is great fun and made great escapist reading at these difficult times. Your mileage may vary, but a ranch in California is sufficiently different to my every day life that I wasn’t constantly worrying about social distancing or viruses the way I am everytime I try and read something set in the contemporary UK at the moment! It’s also the first in a series – because luckily for us, Zach has brothers (and one of them is a pro-sports player, so they may not all be cowboy romances). The next one is out in the autumn and I’m hoping it’s about Jesse, but there’s no blurb for it on Goodreads yet.

My copy of A Cowboy to Remember came from the library, but it’s available now in Kindle and Kobo or as a mass market paperback. The delivery time claims to be quite short, bu I suspect you might be waiting a while for that physical copy because of it being a US release and you know: the ‘rona.

Happy Reading – and stay safe.




*but I’m not prepared to read a lot of Secret Baby or pregnesia romances to try and prove this though.