The Copper Mountain Rodeo has returned to Marietta and cowboy reputations aren’t the only thing at stake…
Rodeo cowboy Cole McArthur has spent the last ten years running from Marietta, Montana, from his father’s expectations, and from the only woman he’s ever loved. But now his past is at his front door, begging for his help.
Jess Clark doesn’t want to face the only man who’s ever claimed enough of her heart to break it, but her foster family needs their prodigal son home, and she owes them too much to not make that happen. Seeing Cole for the first time in a decade unlocks the kind of desire she’s only ever felt for him, and never acted on with anyone.
Back in Marietta facing family betrayal and family secrets, heat explodes between them, and feelings buried long ago rise to the surface. But can Jess convince this wandering cowboy that his home is with her?
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
Oh, Jess! How I felt for her throughout this book. Those McArthur’s are quite the bunch, and this book definitely asked more questions concerning them than it answered. But more on that later.
After a miserable childhood spent with an abusive father and bouncing in and out of foster homes, Jess has always wanted a place to belong. Once she’d thought she’d found that in Cole, but they were young and Cole had troubles of his own. When he left without a word, Jess tried to make a place for herself within his family, and has been content with that ever since. But now troubles within that same family have sent her out to track Cole down and beg him to return – regardless of her pride.
Because that’s the sort of person Jess is, selfless and willing to do almost anything for those she loves. Her need to belong is so strong that she feels like she constantly has to prove herself to ensure that she’s worthy. Although perhaps she wouldn’t feel like that had she chosen a different family to latch onto. To say the McArthur’s are cold would be an understatement. They’re also selfish and self-absorbed, and even though Cole is the opposite of his father in many ways, he does share some of his less loveable traits.
It’s easy to see why Cole isn’t fond of his family – they’re all brainy doctors and cold hard facts, while all he ever wanted was to ride the rodeo, while believing in instincts and fate and soul mates. Yet despite that more sensitive side, when it comes to Jess he’s still as guilty of taking from her as everyone else. The difference is that he does give something back – understanding, support, love. He’s also stubborn and prone to believing he knows best without even asking for Jess’ opinion, so it’s unsurprising that he and his father can’t compromise.
But although the family drama in this story is ostensibly more about Cole, Jess’ own emotional tale was more important for me. How she begins to open her eyes to the real family and see the truth about her place within it, as well as how others start to see her differently too. This might only be a short read, but I really loved seeing Jess transform from the quiet yes-girl into a confident woman not afraid of airing her opinions. Especially to a family in desperate need of telling off.
Oh, those McArthurs. Cold and unlikeable, and yet they’re an interesting bunch. I definitely got the feeling that there’s plenty of unfinished business hanging around the lot of them, not least Cole’s brother’s marriage. I hope they’ll be showing up in Marietta again soon.
So if you’re looking for a short read with a stubborn cowboy, family dramas and a thoroughly likeable heroine coming into her own, then you should give this a try. I can’t wait to see what this year’s rodeo has to offer next.
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