So I've been researching and preparing to write a romance featuring a cattle ranch and cowboys. Naturally, I turned to published books to see what's being done, and by who. There's a LOT of cowboy romance out there!
But two I've devoured in the past week are SECOND CHANCE RANCH by Cindi Madsen and THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS GIFT by Donna Alward.
About THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS GIFT: Returning to Crooked Valley is more terrifying than the battlefield to ex-soldier Duke Duggan. Still, Duke has an important reason to be back--to take control of his late grandfather's ranch. But being thrown headfirst into his old life makes Duke feel like a fish out of water. That is, until he sees Carrie Coulter again. Twenty years may have passed but the chemistry between them is stronger than ever.
When Duke threatens to sell the ranch, Carrie, the foreman, realizes she could lose her livelihood. But no decisions will be made until after the holidays. Until then, they have time to explore the feelings that draw them to each other. Together, can they come up with a way to keep the ranch...and the burning love between them?
1. I really liked the spicy heroine in this one. She's actually the rancher! I really liked that. I liked that Duke needed to learn as much as I did about ranching.
2. The chemistry is hot in this one. I don't necessarily mind it, and Donna Alward always does a nice job of keeping the door somewhat closed.
3. This had a surprise twist I wasn't expecting -- I won't divulge it, but I liked it. Made me think about my romance plots, and how they take shape.
Royce has moved on from his memories of the beautiful Sadie. Now he’s focused solely on running Second Chance Ranch, where he rehabilitates troubled teens through ranch work. But when he needs a new employee and Sadie’s the only one to volunteer, he has no choice but to offer his old flame a job.
Whether riding a horse with the wind in her hair or mucking out the stalls, Sadie can still get Royce’s heart beating like no one else. But Nashville is her dream, and Royce can’t settle for second best.
1. I love the trope of second chances, as well as high school sweetheart reunions. I've written a couple of them myself. This fit that bill, and I liked it for that alone.
2. I liked the dialog in this one. It helped me remember that cowboys are people too, and they don't all talk with a twang or need to be dumbed down. (Not that I think cowboys are dumb! Just sometimes the dialog feels stilted. This didn't.)
3. This felt a little young to me. Like a YA novel, but with older characters. I realized that I wanted my cowboys to be older and feel that way too. It was a great read, so I'm not knocking that. It just helped me realize some things about my own book and what I'd like to do.
What cowboy romance have you read that you liked?