Trying to get off my cowboy romance slump I picked up How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy without reading the blurb. At first I was surprised at the premise, but then I jumped in feeling this was going to be a good book. While I enjoyed it, I did get bogged down in what these two felt were dreary lives rather than something to live for.
Ridge Cooper’s rodeo cowboy career is over after a bad injury leaves on of his hands unusable. Back home at the spread, he is looking for a way out of his depressing future as rodeo was all he knew or wanted. When asked to help out with foster kids, he gives it a go and finds it means more to him that what he ever thought it would. As he gets to know the main caretaker and the boys better, he puts together a list to get his life back in control and achieve a new goal to his life.
Sierra Dunn was once a cop, but the day to day grind go to her and she wanted to help out more. Going back to school to become a social worker is her dream, but when her dream job goes to another, she takes a group of foster boys to a small town to help raise them and create a home they can feel safe in. Needing a coach, she puts in for help, only to have it come in the unlikely form of a broken rodeo cowboy. But the dream job crops up is ugly head and tugs at her to move on to what she really wants.
While I loved Ridge, he was a little to rigid for my liking. He was also a product of foster care, in fact he is one of three that wasn’t wanted by anyone until they ended up on the ranch. Faced with no future, he decides he wants to resurrect the ranch, adopt a kid and find a woman with Sierra’s name at the top of the list. Now Ridge was standoffish, but also steadfast with being there for the kids and Sierra. When he falls, he falls hard.
Sierra was where I had most of my problems. In the beginning she is closing her online dating account having given up on finding anyone. Kind of sad. She has moved to the middle of no where and now knows she won’t find a man. So she takes on Ridge as a one night stand while constantly questioning everything he does. Then the big whopper! She gets that dream job to make decisions for kids at a high level and gives he notice on the current job. This is what turned me off on her character. Here she has a group of abused boys around 10. They need a stable life and someone they know cares and who will stick around. Now she loves these kids, but she is ready to just run off and leave them. This is where I kind of started to check out on the story.
Well, things work out in the end, but in reality I think Ridge needed to find a different woman….but then again, there isn’t much selection for any young person in this town.
The side characters at times were endearing and other times just got on my nerves. The kids broke my heart with their problems. The “elected himself” sheriff needs to be knocked down a few pegs. Riley the first child Sierra tries to save redeems herself. Just all around different emotions.
So while I wanted to like this story, it just didn’t resonate with me.
What makes a good cowboy story?
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