by Maisey Yates
Series: Copper Ridge #3
Published by Harlequin Audio on July 28, 2015
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Cowboys
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Can the bad boy of Copper Ridge, Oregon, make good—and win the rodeo girl of his dreams?
Kate Garrett keeps life simple—working hard, riding her beloved horses, playing cards with her brothers. Lately, though, she feels a bit restless, especially when family friend Jack Monaghan is around. Sexy and shameless, Jack is the kind of trouble you don't tangle with unless you want your heart broken. Still, Kate could always use his help in learning how to lasso someone a little less high-risk…
Jack can't pinpoint the moment the Garrett brothers' little sister suddenly stopped seeming so…little. Now here he is, giving flirting tips to the one woman who needs zero help turning him on. Love's a game he's never wanted to play. But he'll have to hurry up and learn how before the best thing that ever entered his life rides right back out again…
Bad News Cowboy is book #3 in Maisey Yates’s Copper Ridge series, which is about the Garrett family in Copper Ridge, OR. I loved the first two books, Part Time Cowboy and Brokedown Cowboy, but Bad News Cowboy is my least favorite of the series thus far. While the general quality of the writing itself is great, I was unable to connect with the main characters and didn’t find their attraction very convincing.
The heroine is Kate Garrett, who’s always been more interested in horses and barrel racing than in the opposite sex. Kate is the youngest of the Garrett family and her older brothers (Eli from book #1 and Connor from book #2) basically raised her. Their mother left and their father became a drunk when Kate was only a toddler. While Eli and Connor are naturally protective of Kate, they’re also a bit overprotective given the fact that they’ve essentially been her surrogate parents for most of her life.
The Garrett family is changing: Eli and Sadie are planning their wedding and Connor and Liss have gotten married. Everyone’s pairing off and Kate’s starting to feel lonely now that their family landscape is shifting.
Over the years, Kate has always had a huge crush on Jack Monaghan, best friend to Eli and Connor. This is where the “sibling’s best friend” trope comes in. Jack and Kate aren’t exactly enemies, but they’ve had a playful, teasing banter with each other over the years. Their relationship has always been platonic–until now.
Under the guise of planning a charity event, along with helping Kate with rodeo practice, Jack and Kate begin spending time together alone. They somehow come to a mutual agreement that they’re going to be friends with benefits, but they can’t tell anyone–especially Kate’s brothers. Along the way, of course, the lines between friendship and something more become blurred, and they have to figure out where their relationship is headed.
I had issues with a couple of things. First, Jack has a reputation for being a manwhore, which is why Kate’s not exactly eager to make her feelings for him public (either to her family or to the residents of Copper Ridge). By contrast, Kate has never had a boyfriend–never even been kissed–and at times, she comes across as a stereotypical, wide-eyed virgin. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t care for her character much. In the previous books, I remember her being more feisty and not so naïve. But in this book, she comes across as super innocent, especially when it comes to sex.
Second, Jack has known Kate all their lives, yet for some reason, he’s now seeing her in a romantic light. Why now? I guess he has just grown weary of empty sex, but I had trouble believing that Kate’s the reason the bad boy of Copper Ridge is suddenly willing to try a serious relationship.
In addition to Kate and Jack’s storyline, there’s a subplot involving Jack’s biological father that sets up the story arc for the future books in the series.
I loved seeing the couples from the previous books reappear in this book, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy Kate and Jack’s love story nearly as much. I plan on reading the next book, but this one definitely isn’t my favorite from the series so far.
Note: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my review. I’m working through my NetGalley backlog and this book has since been published. My review is for the published version of the book, specifically the audio edition.
Rating: 3 stars