Fair warning: I am primed to hate this book. I am blinded to any positive aspects this book might have. I will see only its faults, and I will present these faults to you as though they are glaring and insurmountable. I will argue that this is worst book ever written. We’re four weeks into cowboy season and we’ve racked up an 75% suck rate, so I am in no damn mood to be charitable or patient or open-minded. The only comfort my cold, black heart will find in reading this book is being right about terrible it is surely going to be. Sound fun? Yay!
The cowboy in question is one Sam Travis. He’s kind of a loner, but a decent sort. He is not described as having a great big lunk head, so I can only assume that the cover art is not fully accurate. Anyway, he does odd jobs for Wanda Keller, an aging widow who owns a ghost-themed B&B. Wanda is kind of a hippy-dippy lady but in a very likable way! Sam and Wanda are NOT involved, get your mind out of the gutter. Wanda has a daughter, Lorelei, who lives in big bad Philadelphia and is basically the polar opposite of her mother – cautious, buttoned up, very sensible. She’s an actuary, so there you go. Wanda dies suddenly, so Lorelei comes back to her little Texas hometown for the funeral and to see to her mom’s B&B. She’s a bit surprised to find Sam living at the B&B, apparently very chummy with her mom, and she’s even more surprised to find that he’s such a hunk. High five, mom! Right? What Lorelei does not know is that her mom left the B&B to Sam – which sort of makes sense? I mean, Lorelei has been pretty vocal about her opposition to life in Texas and how much she just looooves Philly, while meanwhile Sam is around all the time and seems to like the place. But also I can see why it would bum Lorelei out to be denied the business. Oh, gosh! A realistic conflict that resonates emotionally! What is happening?! Lorelei is kind of a smart ass and Sam is kind of a doofus and they circle each other for awhile making snippy comments and hurting each other’s feelings and misunderstanding each other, but there’s never any “I loved a woman once and she destroyed me and now I hate all women!” nonsense. They both have daddy (and mommy) issues and it all feels very…real. Sometimes we love our parents even though we don’t understand what the fuck they are thinking!
I’m disappointed to tell you that this book was actually pretty good. Sam and Lorelei are damaged people, but they’re adults. They own up to their crap and they apologize when it’s warranted and they struggle with how to navigate their lives. The sexual tension is decent, including the best scene ever where the power goes out during a big storm and Sam surprises Lorelei in the bath and he says something like, “everything is bigger in Texas!” AND THEN SHE LOOKS AT HIS JUNK. It was great. I died laughing and turned into a ghost and read it again and laughed myself back to life. Also great: finally Lorelei gets fed up with all the pussyfooting around they’re doing and is like, hey buddy let’s sleep together. And they do! And there’s some side characters who aren’t fantastically annoying and terrible and who, like, actually add something to the story. So weird!
I have a lot of feelings about this book and they’re all positive, which makes for a crappy recap. Damn it, Tanya Michaels! Now I want to read more of what you’ve written! Look what you’ve done! The book is short (barely 200 pages), but it’s a good story and, weirdly, I actually cared about the happily ever after. What I’m saying is, you could do worse than this book, even if I think the title is dumb (SERIOUSLY WHAT AN AWFUL TITLE).