Certified Cowboy

Hey dudes! We’re two books into cowboy month! Actually it will probably go a bit longer than a month because I have SO MANY cowboys in my corral thanks to Harlequin’s leap day cowboy sale. The only thing I love more than cowboy romance novels is not paying full price for cowboy romance novels, AM I RIGHT OR WHAT? Actually that’s not true. The only thing I love more than cowboy romance novels is their covers! Oh boy, what is going on with that pony? Not his best angle. I also really enjoy the cowboy’s face. He makes riding a bucking horse look effortless – like, really, he’s putting no effort into it. He might as well be sitting on a couch. Also is it just me or is he gazing longingly at his own crotch?

So, anyway! Our heroine for this novel is Rachel, who is on the run from her seriously abusive ex-husband with her young son in tow. I feel like an abusive ex-husband is automatically an incredibly unsympathetic character, but this guy is REALLY evil. So Rachel runs away in the middle of the night from yet another hiding place and ends up at Bucking Bronc Lodge, a ranch for troubled boys run by our hero Johnny Long (yeah I bet it is…). Johnny is smitten from the first because she’s soooo lovely and the bruises make him want to protect her. Rachel gives him a fake name and Johnny gives her a job and a place to stay. Everything, of course, is peaches and sunshine for a little while, Rachel is soooo hot for him but holding back, and Johnny is soooo hot for her but holding back, and the kid is all, “MOM! I want a puppy!” Then Rachel goes into her cabin one day to find a snake in her bed. A SNAKE!!!! IN HER BED!!!!! (Not a euphemism!) She freaks out, assuming that her evil ex has found them, and Johnny disposes of the snake, which is not poisonous just very confused. Turns out, her evil ex actually HAS found them (how did this happen? Who cares! It just did!), but he’s still in the creepily spying on her stage. The snake was put in her bed by one of the ranch’s troubled boys, who gets a big speech from Johnny about how REAL men don’t play scary pranks on women and he’s immediately contrite and vows to change his ways and Rachel accepts his apology and we are peaches and sunshine again.

Except! Oops! One of Johnny’s employees tries to assault Rachel in the barn. Johnny puts an end to that and also the guy’s employment, but Rachel refuses to press charges and just wants the whole thing forgotten. Meanwhile there’s also beef (haha, no pun intended) with the neighbor who’s anti-helping-troubled-boys and some fences get cut and cows get out and there’s a mysterious black SUV on the property and things have just been weird since Rachel showed up. That girl! Bad luck, I tell you! But Johnny doesn’t care about bad luck, he cares about boning. I mean, not boning! Being gentle and sweet! Being a strong protectory manly man! But also boning, if possible. So then there’s a fire in the dining hall where Rachel works, and of course it involves Rachel and her kid being stuck in a room and nearly killed by this fire. But Johnny saves them!!! And then the police show up to investigate and the sheriff is very concerned and promises to find out who’s behind the fire and also says he’ll definitely check up on the evil neighbor, which is Johnny’s guess for whodunit. This eagerness to help out is very important, so just remember that for later.

And then Rachel’s kid almost gets kidnapped. Or maybe that happens after a photo of Rachel with her face cut out surfaces on her bed? Or maybe that comes after the black rose? And the bone-a-thon? I don’t really remember the order of all that crap. Suffice to say a lot of stuff happens to Rachel, her kid, her bed, etc. But eventually she comes clean with Johnny about her abusive ex and her past and the fact that there’s a warrant out for her arrest because her ex said SHE tried to kill HIM and Johnny is like, you’re absolutely right that we should not go to the police with this because they cannot be trusted! And Rachel is like, that’s right! My ex is very rich and he buys off the police wherever we go! Except, wait? Wasn’t the sheriff, like, super eager to help out? Do we really think this guy got paid off by the evil ex? Do we really? Guys? REALLY? Well, they do, so whatever. (Also, isn’t Johnny, like, kind of rich? If the Bad Guy “buys off” the law, can’t Johnny just…buy them back? I’m just saying! Rita Herron does not want us to trust the police.)

And then…like…other stuff happens? I don’ t know. This book didn’t make much of an impression on me, you know? It just sort of happened and then it ended. Here’s what I do definitely know: RACHEL AND JOHNNY FALL IN LOVE AND GET MARRIED. Which is…happy? I don’t know. What I really want for Rachel is to take a long trip somewhere and relax and unwind and figure out what she wants to do with her life and where she wants to go next. I kind of hate the idea of her immediately settling down with Johnny and getting married again (no offense, Johnny). Especially considering we never actually get to review his certifications. What, I’m supposed to just trust that he’s a certified cowboy? Just take his word on it? No thank you. How much do we really know about this guy really…

Anyway. I’m only disappointed, not spitting mad, so…that’s something?

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