His Kind of Cowgirl
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Would he still love her…if he knew?
Tanner Hayes smashed Claire's life to pieces when he chose the rodeo over her ten years ago. And now he'd wrecked her truck! Fantastic. She'd lost her husband, the family ranch was mired in debt, her father was recuperating from a stroke and her son was being bullied. Why not throw a reckless bull rider into the mix?
All she'd wanted was a safe, stable life. But with Tanner back in town—and staying on her ranch—nothing was safe, or under control. Not the feelings she'd fought so hard to forget. Not the son she was determined to protect. And certainly not her long-held secret…
If you are up for a read that challenges, this is it.
3.5 – rounded
Second chance stories always intrigue me: characters are older, have more experience and often more baggage, and reinforcing the ‘it’s meant to be’ feel is nice. And Claire and Tanner now have that chance, even with the many obstacles in the way.
Years ago, Claire and Tanner were a thing: but he also was obsessed with the rodeo and bull riding, and took his chance at a life chasing those eight seconds. Left behind, Claire did move forward: married and made a life. But now, widowed with a son Jonathan, her father having suffered a stroke and a ranch that is having financial issues, her plate is full. And while she has wonderful relationships with her son, father and the animals, OMG Claire – let go of the reins a bit. There is ZERO daring in Claire – perhaps she used it all up when she was younger but helicopter caretaker (not just Mom) doesn’t come close to her approach.
Tanner is far more relaxed and matter of fact about life and unexpected events – but he’s also not particularly observant, and of course, he has issues. Perhaps some are from the guilt of leaving Claire, his need to ‘prove himself’ now as he did in the ring, but he wasn’t passively accepting everything Claire was handing out. And Oh Did They Fight. About everything. Constantly. I am not a fan of conflict carried to the point where I wanted the characters to STOP interacting: from hiding secrets and regrets and their inability to actually talk out a situation instead of instantly jumping to the wrong conclusions…repeatedly. It was that relationship that you can’t see the couple AS a couple, and find excuses to avoid dinners with them.
And then, there’s the big secret (which really isn’t) and the moment where all the growth that the two had experienced went south with yet another conflict and plenty of harsh words. To be honest, I had just started to come around to liking Claire, and if not agreeing with her choices I could understand, and with a handful of harsh words and a retreat to her old patterns I was again wanting to Shake. Her. Silly. Yep – it only takes a moment.
Rating this was incredibly difficult – I disliked Claire’s behavior for the majority of the book – she isn’t a mean person, but thoughtless when she’s scrambling to convince herself, and everyone else she’s in the right. And Tanner just sort of meandered through for me, clueless to the dynamics around him more often than not. I was intrigued and emotionally involved, angered and frustrated – I cared what happened and needed to know how the story would end. But the tension and discomfort from the repeated arguments and refusal to see what a blind man would have was more frustrating than I thought possible. If you are up for a read that challenges, this is it.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.