Carolyn Brown wrote a fun letter to her readers that appeared in the back of this book. Apparently, we’ve all been pestering her since book one of the Lucky Penny Ranch series that we love our Deke and wanted his story. I confess that I was one of those folks doing the pestering. He appears right away as best friend to the heroine and shirt-tail kin to all of the Logans while becoming close with the new to town and new Lucky Penny owners, the Dawsons.
He’s loyal, hard-working, great looking and a fun-loving type who always seems content to live it up at a bar and take home a pretty woman so by the time Wicked Cowboy Charm came along I was eager to discover just what special woman would turn his head permanently.
The story opens when Josie Dawson comes to town to join her brother in the oil drilling project. She is thinking Dry Creek is her opportunity to buy a small spread and start raising rodeo stock. Deke Sullivan the family friend turns her head a bit, but Josie doesn’t see him settling down any time soon even if he adores babies and being around the family, works steady and shares some similar interests in rodeo stock.
Resistance gets tough when the pair of them end up in Montana looking at livestock for sale only to get caught in a blizzard. Deke’s been attracted in Josie, but just as wary of something permanent with a gal he thinks is going to do her oil job and leave. However, getting stranded out at a cabin in a blizzard and a long road-trip back home makes them both start thinking about plans and people changing.
I reacted very differently to this one than any of the author’s books since the very first time I picked up one of her books. I’ve gotten so used to her writing that I wasn’t expecting to not instantly sink into the story and connect with it. For the longest time I could not figure out why I was still sitting on the outside looking in. I could not figure out how after this story ended up in Montana I got distracted. I stayed that way off and on until nearly the point they returned home and from there on, I was fine again.
Because I have never had this problem with the author’s books that I’m well into the double digits on, I was bugged and had to figure it out. I like the characters, I like them together, I like the country cowboy backdrop, and I liked the plot. So why the issue? The only thing I could come up with amused me to death, but I think it is true.
Here it is: she wrote it too well.
That is to say, she wrote what it would truly be like for a couple in this beginning of an attraction getting stranded on a small ranch spread, in a small cabin without electricity, chores to do, but idle days and then a long weary drive from Montana to Texas in winter weather. It got tedious because being snowed in or traveling under those circumstances can be that way even when romance is in the air. So yes, I laugh because I think that was my issue. Now, I can move on and know why I loved this story, but struggled to stay engaged for some of it.
As to Deke and Josie. They were a great pairing though I liked that the instant attraction was only the beginning. I think one of the strengths of this author’s stories is that she really sells the relationship and how it looks on an everyday basis. Deke’s rep of never dating or being in a relationship really has Josie pausing. She is barely over her ex cheating on her with one of her childhood friends so she is wary of a guy who gets around. Deke, himself, only figures out that he’s just been looking hard for the right woman so he’s skittish that Josie might not be around permanently and he doesn’t want to get attached only to see her move on. They both feel the connection and the rightness of being together, but wonder if this is like an enchantment that will wear off when they get back home. I liked how there was that extra time in the last quarter of the book back home because I had the same need to see them back in reality and dealing with how they could make it work.
So, I am sad to see this series end, but ecstatic by the news that there will be a spin-off for the Dawson cousins back in Happy, Texas. The author writes cowboy country romance brilliantly and I can’t praise her books enough. Those who like their small town cowboy romances really need to give her stuff a go if you haven’t already.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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