by Patricia Thayer
Series: Rocky Mountain Twins #1
Published by Harlequin on March 8, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Cowboys, Military
Source: Book Buyer's Best Contest
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Stepping onto her estranged father's Colorado ranch, Brooke Harper hopes to find the missing piece of the puzzle that's left a hole in her heart—her long-lost sister. But the Bucking Q Ranch is deserted…except for the tall and rugged cowboy, Trent Landry, who is taking care of the place while the owners are away. She's determined to wait until the family she's never met returns home…
And Trent will keep an eye on the mysterious Brooke until he finds out if she is telling the truth about finding her sister. Spending time alone with her, watching her take to ranch life as if she's a natural, he realizes she is definitely not a threat—except maybe to his heart.
I received a copy of this book from the Orange County Chapter of RWA’s Book Buyer’s Best Contest, for which I was a first round judge.
Count on a Cowboy by Patricia Thayer is part of Harlequin’s American Romance line, which falls under the Home and Family category. This isn’t the type of book I would normally read, but I’m always open to trying different things once in a while.
I had numerous issues with this book. There’s a lot of plot. Las Vegas card dealer Brooke has just learned that she was separated from her twin sister at birth. Their mother has early-onset Alzheimer’s, which is how Brooke learned about her twin, Laurel. Their mother is demanding that Brooke fetch Laurel so that she can see her before her health gets worse.
When Brooke shows up on a Colorado ranch looking for Laurel, she doesn’t find her. Instead, she walks onto a vacant wedding site. Turns out that Laurel has been left at the altar—and her would-be groom is actually a con man who has stolen money from Laurel and her family.
Brooke soon meets Trent, local cowboy and former Special Forces soldier. More—A LOT more—on that in a minute. Brooke decides to stick around the ranch and wait for her sister to return before revealing her true identity to Laurel, as well as to their father, Rory.
If the plot sounds kind of confusing, it is. Although Brooke and Laurel are twins, when Brooke shows up, their resemblance isn’t obvious, for some reason. People can see that they look similar, but no one can tell that they’re twins. So for the meantime, Brooke tells everyone that she’s Laurel’s half-sister because it’s not well-known that Laurel’s father is also Brooke’s father.
Meanwhile, Brooke and Trent hit it off right away. Personally, I found their chemistry forced and didn’t really understand their instant attraction to each other. The relationship moves along rather quickly—so quickly, in fact, that they’re already dropping the l-word after only one week of knowing each other. There is some sensuality, but the sex scenes, for the most part, are fade to black.
As for the main things I took issue with…
View Spoiler »– Early in the book, Trent is described as a retired Army master sergeant. It’s later mentioned that he’s 33. I’m going to state right now that there is no way a 33-year-old can be retired military, and definitely not at that rank. Even if he was medically retired due to injury—which he’s not, but just hypothetically—there’s still no way he could have made rank that fast. It literally does not compute. On top of this, later in the book, his rank inexplicably changes to sergeant major—which is a completely different rank. *headdesk* Which is it? This probably sounds like nitpicking, but it’s SO easy to Google military rank and time in service. It’s irritating when details like this are just impossible.
– Brooke and Laurel’s mother, Coralee, gets blamed for everything. Fine, so she was a crappy mother. But last I checked, Rory was present and accounted for during the baby making (unplanned or not). Yet Coralee is demonized by every other character in the story. I felt that was unfair.
– Brooke is a virgin who has sex with Trent after one week of knowing him. Okay, fine, maybe. After what amounts to fade-to-black sex, he tells her that she should have saved herself for her future husband. WHAT. NO. No no no NO.
– Everything gets wrapped up tidily and everyone loves each other in the end, which I found a little too convenient. « Hide Spoiler
I had so much trouble getting through this book. If not for the contest, I would have abandoned and DNFed it, but managed to finish. Between the military errors, the lack of development between the main characters’ relationship, and the low heat level of the romance itself, I can’t recommend this book.
Rating: 1 star