I don’t read many Cowboy books these days. No real reason, they just kind of fell off my radar. A few weeks back, Forever Romance was doing an Instagram Read-A-Long of Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom. They posted a quote that piqued my interest (that I can’t find now) and I messaged my friend Estelle, publicist extraordinaire at Forever, and said “I’m going to have to read this, aren’t I?” Estelle was kind enough to send me an e-ARC of Big Bad Cowboy. I dove right in. I had already had A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon on my Kindle so I figured I could make it a Cowboy theme reading week. I read three Cowboy books in a week. Three very different, yet very enjoyable stories.
First up- Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom. Bloom is a new to me author but I wanted to give it a try after seeing the IG read-a-long. This story is a loose retelling/inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. The characters meet at a masquerade ball and quickly go from flirty banter to having STEAMING hot sex in a shed. Seriously this book is HOT. There are also very sexy sexting conversations.
Before I go on, if you have issues with characters keeping secrets from each other, this book is probably not for you. Skip to the next cowboy on this list.
Maggie thinks Travis is going to destroy her business. Travis returns to town to care for his nephew, Henry, and to take deal with the ranch that is left behind. Maggie and Travis have a not great working relationship that quickly gets better. For lots of reasons but possibly the best one is Travis’s nephew Henry. Henry was the perfect little plot moppet. Involved in the story enough, but not too much and appropriately manipulated the story.
Travis is a perfectly imperfect guardian. He didn’t really want to take on the responsibility of caring for Henry at first, but he evolved really quickly and Bloom portrayed a really loving relationship.
Travis also had some insecurities about his body that I don’t think we see often in romance that I wish we saw more of. It is mentioned that Maggie doesn’t always reach orgasm via PIV sex and I love any sort of glimmer of “imperfect” or realistic sex.
Maggie was a great heroine. She was strong physically and mentally. After the big conflict and the appropriate grovel, Maggie forgives but also tells Travis that it must never happen again. I would love to see this more in romance. I think it is the unsaid thing when forgiveness happens, but I am all for clearly setting expectations.
There were a few instances of being judgy toward porn/erotica. There is also a side character who is kind of the town idiot that makes some statements about gay people that made me raise my brows a little. Neither of these things were horrible and didn’t ruin my overall enjoyment of the book. I teared up at the end. I really liked the whole world that this book was set in. It was hard to not jump to book 2.
Next up on my cowboy roster was A Cowboy to Remember by Rebekah Weatherspoon. I have been eyeing this book for months. The cover is great and it has amnesia as a plot point and is a loose Sleeping Beauty retelling.
Evie is a chef on a TV show that sounded similar to The Chew or an extended hour of Good Morning America. It was descriptive enough for me to imagine Evie on the TV. Evie was a great character. She is injured at a party and wakes up and can’t remember anything. Her assistant calls her emergency contact and Zach and Jesse Pleasant drop everything to go to New York and help Evie. They decide to take Evie back to their ranch in California for her to recuperate out of the public eye.
Present day Evie feels drawn to Zach but she doesn’t really know why. In the past, they were childhood friends and she had a massive crush on him. He liked her, but never acted on his crush. She told him, he was so awful to her and they haven’t talked in ten years. Zach sees this as his second chance with Evie. Zach is kind and gentle. Although there are at least two missed opportunities for Zach to give Evie a great big comforting hug to help her feel safe. I was disappointed in Zach over this. Zach and Evie spend a lot of time together and rediscovering each other as adults.
Weatherspoon does a good job of depicting solid female friendships between Evie and multiple other women in the book. I always love seeing this.
My big issue with this story was I was not convinced that Zach had spent the last ten years pining for Evie. He doesn’t really express it well. Evie calls him on it too, but by then it was a little too late for me. It made it hard for me to truly believe in their relationship when I didn’t believe that he’d spent the last ten years being miserable and being remorseful for doing her wrong.
The side characters are great. It was clear that Weatherspoon is setting up other love stories, including that of Jesse, Zach’s brother, and Leona, Zach’s grandmother. Maybe others but those are the ones I am most interested in.
Overall this was a good but not great story. I liked the ranch and family life that surrounded Evie and Zach. But I was unconvinced by Zach and his intentions. I will read more in this series though.
Last entry in my cowboy reading week was Cowboy Come Home by Carly Bloom. This isn’t out until March 31, but you might as well go ahead and pick it up now. This has a much heavier feel than Big Bad Cowboy. (CW: for grief, discussion of deceased sibling, flood/natural disaster, ailing parent with cancer )
Claire and Ford and their relationship are briefly introduced in Big Bad Cowboy. This book starts two years after the close of the previous book and they are no longer together. Ford is a loner cowboy who thinks he is cursed and can never be in a long term relationship (insert eye roll).
Claire’s family owns a large ranch and Ford has come back to town to manage the ranch. Ford helps Claire when a heavy rain storm washes her car away. This is the book that had me tweeting last week that romance novels need more hugging in them. Claire is rain drenched and her car is being washed away by a flash flood. Ford helps her to safety. He is overcome by emotion. She is too. But instead of a missed kiss, she could have used a HUG. I was mad at Ford. lol
Back to the story, I enjoyed seeing their story evolve and watch as truly fall in love with each other. Claire is juggling her own struggles and challenges with her career and her parents ranch. Ford acts like a big old dumbass about this “curse”. I was annoyed with him, especially when he did a big dumb thing. But this is romance, so you can be assured that he made it better.
The nature of their relationship was different so this book wasn’t quite as steamy, sexy as the first book but it was still sexy. I enjoy this town and its inhabitants. I look forward to reading more in this series.
Overall, all three books were very enjoyable and I would recommend all these stories. They were all stories with great characters, strong female relationships, and they all built great worlds that the characters live in and I am interested in visiting again. All of them offer a great cowboy to take you away.