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Must Love Cowboys by Cheryl Brooks
Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 5, 2016
Time and setting: Present day, Wyoming
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 386 pages
Heat Level: 3 Flames
Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns
SO MANY COWBOYS...
Shy computer specialist, dog lover, and amateur chef Tina Hayes has a thing for firefighters, but when she travels to the Circle Bar K ranch on family business, the ranch's cowboys have no trouble persuading her to stay on as their cook. Especially not when she learns that brooding Wyatt McCabe-a man who makes her heart gallop like no one else can-is also a former firefighter.
HOW DOES SHE KNOW HE'S THE ONE?
Wyatt's sizzling embraces leave Tina breathless. But being surrounded by a passel of smokin' hot ranch hands can be complicated. With so many cowboys courting Tina all at once, Wyatt must prove to Tina that she belongs with him.
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This is the first book I have read by Cheryl Brooks. When I received an invitation to read Must Love Cowboys from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, the book description sounded interesting so I accepted. I must say this is definitely an erotic romance, which was an unexpected surprise.
When Tina Hayes arrives in Wyoming to delivers letters her late grandfather had received from his old Army buddy, the dying her grandparent’s wish, she ends up cooking for the ranch cowboys when Calvin has a heart attack. The last thing the IT geek expects is a couple of the rowdy cowboys vying for her attention.
Will Tina choose Wyatt McCabe, the hottest cowboy, and former firefighter, a man who causes her dormant passion to stir, or will she play the field a bit?
Must Love Cowboys is well-written and for an ARC, exceptionally well-edited. The pacing is steady and the plot has some interesting twists. I particularly enjoyed the banter between Tina and the cowhands of the Circle Bar K ranch. There is also an intriguing mystery to solve.
This novel is written in the first person point of view of Tina Hayes. That is not my first choice since I love third person POVs, alternating between the heroine and the hero. For me, I wanted to learn more about Wyatt than what comes out during their conversations. Tina has her good points and bad. For the most part, I liked her character. I was not enthused over her lack of direction. She has a highly valued skill set, yet she easily assimilates into the position of cook. Some of her choices also did not fit with her characterization as a shy person. She’s actually quite bold in the bedroom, especially for a someone who is naïve when it comes to men.
The sexual scenes are gritty and quite explicit. While extremely hot, I would have liked more emotion with the details. I did not get a strong sense of the chemistry between Wyatt and Tina. Again, the lack of Wyatt’s introspection inhibited that a great deal, I’m sure.
Overall, this is an enjoyable read, just not a great one. If you enjoy erotic romance with a bit more story and a fair amount of intrigue than is sometimes found in this sub-genre, then you will like Must Love Cowboys. Happy reading!
Excerpt from MUST LOVE COWBOYS
“Uh, Tina,” Wyatt began. “Listen, what you said about a massage… That actually sounded pretty good.” He paused, seeming reluctant to admit he needed help and even more reluctant to ask for it. “Think you could…?”
I stared at the bowl of pie dough. I didn’t need to invent a reason why I couldn’t stop what I was doing and rub his sore shoulder for him. But at the same time, I had this itch to get my hands on something other than dough.
And some itches must be scratched.
“Sure. Just let me wash my hands.” I put a plate over the bowl to keep the dough from drying out, then washed and dried my hands. When I turned toward Wyatt, my worst fears were realized.
He’d taken off his shirt and stood facing me, the broad expanse of his muscular chest, lightly dusted with dark, curly hair, fully exposed. “Where do you want me?”
Right here. Right now.
Heat sliced through my pelvis, stealing moisture from my mouth to send it gushing from my core. My attempt to swallow failed utterly. “There at the table is fine.”
He would probably smell bad after being on the road all night and most of the day. Bad smells usually put me off immediately. I figured I was safe. But when I moved closer, he smelled fine. Not freshly showered, perhaps, but nice. “Do you have any ointment to put on it?”
“There’s probably something around here somewhere, but for now, just use a little olive oil.”
I was hard-pressed not to laugh out loud. Getting my hands on a hot, studly cowboy might make my temperature soar, but by the time I’d smeared him with olive oil, he would smell like a salad.
Not sexy at all.
Unfortunately, after dribbling oil on his back and placing my hands on his shoulders, I was forced to revise that assessment. Wyatt would’ve been sexy even if he’d smelled like a barn. And salads, on the whole, were quite tasty.
I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to block out the image of the powerful-looking muscles in his back and shoulders, but I couldn’t hide them from my hands. His hair, although relatively short, curled at the nape. Using the excuse of massaging his neck, I touched it. For some peculiar reason, that affected me even more than touching his skin had done—the gesture was more intimate, somehow.
Eventually, I found the sore spots in his upper back and shoulder and kneaded them hard. Wyatt’s groans and sighs were like candy, enticing me to keep going until I’d thoroughly massaged every muscle in his body. Twice.
After a glance at the clock proved I’d been at it for about twenty minutes, I figured it was time to quit or I was bound to do something really stupid—especially since he was getting to me on a level no real man ever had. Surely twenty minutes was enough. Then again, he wasn’t asking me to stop. If anything, I got the distinct impression he wanted me to keep going forever.
But I had work to do, a pie to bake, and chickens to roast. “H-how’s that?” My voice was hoarse and hesitant, no doubt due to the parched state of my mouth.
Despite his long, shuddering exhale, his throat sounded tight when he spoke. “Good—um, better. Much better. Thank you.”
I took a step back as he got to his feet. “Glad I could help.”
Rather than staring at the floor like I normally did, I made the mistake of tilting my head back and making eye contact. His gaze held mine for a long moment. Once again, what went on behind those enigmatic eyes was anyone’s guess. He certainly wasn’t giving me any clues.
A flick of his brow signaled the end of the interlude. “Well then. I guess I’ll leave you to it.” He slung his shirt over his shoulder. “I might lie down for a bit before dinner.”
All I could do was nod. I waited until his retreating footsteps died away before letting out the breath I was well aware I’d been holding.
I would get used to him eventually.
Yeah, right. Maybe by the time my car was packed and I was two hundred miles down the road.
Men had always made me nervous, but when it came to getting under my skin, Wyatt McCabe took first prize. Closing my eyes, I breathed deeply for a few moments before resuming my task. I still had a lot to do in the next two hours. Letting Wyatt freak me out wouldn’t help get it done.
Cheryl Brooks is a former critical care nurse turned romance writer. Her Cat Star Chronicles series includes Slave, Warrior, Rogue, Outcast, Fugitive, Hero, Virgin, Stud, Wildcat, and Rebel. She is a member of RWA and IRWA and lives with her husband and sons near Bloomfield, Indiana.
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