I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for small towns, cowboys, and main characters with close-knit families. You Had Me At Cowboy by Jennie Marts checked each of those boxes for me in some very delightful ways.
Now, I will admit that Tessa Kane, our lead female, doesn’t have a lot in common with me… about eight inches of not in common. *insert hysterical sobs here* She is a tall, curvy heroine who curses her height and the extra weight she gained following a painful break-up. Have I mentioned that she is tall? All whopping five-foot one-inch of me envies the build she despises. But I digress.
In a scene that puts the “cute” in “meet cute,” Tessa and her half naked self meet the charming, tenderhearted, and disgustingly handsome Mason James. Within their first few hours together he manages to give her his clothes, feed her his Mama’s good old fashioned home cooking, get her caught in a rainstorm, and break into the car she locked her keys and change of clothes in. From the first covert glances and timid smiles you can feel their attraction.
Only one problem… Tessa carries a secret. A big one.
She’s only at the event where they meet to gain dirt on Mason’s brother, NHL pro Rockford, and his super quick marriage to former high school sweetheart turned rekindled flame Quinn. Even her undeniable and overwhelming feelings for Mason can’t deter her from her prize because the article about Rock and Quinn is the solution to a massive issue her grandmother has found herself in.
But this also led me to my biggest issue with this story. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers (my hair isn’t curly enough, my accent not British enough, and my fandom references are probably not specific enough). Tessa’s grandmother’s sudden appearance at the ranch and the catalyst behind it felt very contrived and unauthentic to me. It was a subplot that was presented and resolved too quickly and, as a reader, gave me the impression it was plunked in to up drama/tension when it wasn’t necessary. Tessa and Mason’s issues had that in the bag.
You Had Me At Cowboy had some tender and sexy moments in addition to cautious exploration as they test the waters of lust that turned to like and then grew to more. It is a sweet, contemporary romance with all the charm of small town life that has been touched by fame. Starring a hot rancher who is disillusioned with the masks created by his brother’s celebrity status and the girl who shines a light of hope into his grumpy world while hiding the truth that brought them together.
Check it out when it is released in November!