This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Published by Forever
Released on January 8, 2019
Justin has watched first his brother and then his best friend get hitched up and now his brother has a baby on the way. For the first time, this honky tonk loving cowboy starts to feel that maybe he’s ready to plant some roots and end his tumbleweed ways. But, is a woman set on city-living his match? Loved my trip back to Longhorn Ranch and seeing all my favorite ranch folks!
Cowboy Brave is book three in the Longhorn Canyon series and, in a pinch, can get by out of order, but it is best enjoyed following the earlier stories so the references to earlier events and the returning cast of characters make sense.
Cowboy Brave jumps in when Emily Baker contacts Justin about the possibility of the Longhorn hosting five seniors from the home where she’s employed. The plan is a go and Emily finds herself back on a ranch where she said she’d never be and letting a flirting cowboy turn her head. She tries to resist the lure of ranch life and Justin’s home and really tries to call a halt to the attraction forming with Justin himself, but by the time the week is over, she is well on her way to a confused, unsettled feeling that only feels better the more time she spends with Justin who point-blank tells her he doesn’t want to change her , he’s not against compromise, he isn’t just flirting, and he wants to explore what they have together. Can Emily let go of her big secret and her issues and trust Justin with her heart?
Cowboy Brave will probably end up being my least favorite book in the series. I didn’t hate it and I enjoyed some of it. I love this series and was eager to see the final Longhorn bachelor get his story. Justin was just a generous, hardworking good old country boy and I liked him as much as his brother. I was glad to see him getting his own romance, seeing where things are at with the two previous couples and the whole Longhorn Canyon family. Justin’s mom was being a pistol most of the time and his dad was a laid back salt of the earth type that were fun when they were in the scenes.
I had a deja vu feeling in that a Maguire brother was wooing a city girl who was also a country girl while a group was staying at the ranch. That isn’t a complaint, but an observation. In this case, it was an elderly group calling themselves the Fab Five. The Fab Five seniors were a hoot- strip poker, skinny dipping, bullriding at the Rusty Spur Honky Tonk, and of course, a bit of matchmaking on the side for a certain young couple.
The reason I could not get into this story was my so-so feelings about the heroine, Emily. Honestly, I still can’t figure out her issues- or should I say the dept of her issues- even after the story. Oh, she didn’t get overly angsty, but it was more her reason for being so adamant against ranch life. I didn’t buy it. She spends nearly the whole book pretending, lying by omission, getting short and cranky with her family for calling and wanting her to visit (you know, loving her and being concerned when she didn’t call like she promised?).
And why was she this way? She didn’t want to get stuck with doing the paperwork back home on the family ranch and preferred the active outside jobs. And, she had the desire to work with people so that leaves out living on a ranch. She felt her family was pressuring her to conform to their plans for her. And, they were, but not in a mean way. Then she didn’t want to date a cowboy because he would be associated with a dreaded ranch and he couldn’t possibly be telling the truth that she’s beautiful to him. The thing is, five minutes with Justin relieved the reason she was outright lying about who her family was and a few days with him made a liar of her about the other stuff like she hates ranches and cowboys. It was obvious she loved the life and she really liked Justine. Justin made it crystal clear that she could do whatever made her happy for work if they were together and that he thought she was the most amazing woman he’d met. His family and friends corroborate this, but she still doubts it all.
The book is literally her denying the truth and Justin starting to settle down and plan a future that might include Emily. Not sure how he worked it out since she wasn’t being honest. And when he calls her on it? She blows up and says he’s making a mountain out of a molehill as she flies off in a pelter and he ends up mutually apologizing. I got fed up with it, but I didn’t hate her. I couldn’t like her or respect her until the end when she finally got her head screwed on straight realizing she’d made a tempest in a pot of tea.
I’m glad to know that Emily’s younger twin brothers are getting the next two books. The were fun in the scenes they were in. This might not have been a favorite, but I love the Longhorn Ranch world with Skip and Mavis, Benji, Cade and Retta, Levi and Claire, and Justin. It’s possible Emily will grow on me now. I hope the Fab Five make more appearances.
Those who read my reviews know that I will always recommend this author and her books for those who enjoy cowboy romances and a strong down home country feel with an uncomplicated story.
I’m thankful to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.