by Erin Knightley
Published by BookShots on July 5, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Cowboys
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She never wanted to love a cowboy. . . .
Rodeo king Tanner Callen doesn't want to be tied down. When he sees Madeline Harper at a local honky-tonk and everything about her screams New York, he brings out every trick in his playbook to take her home. But soon he learns that he doesn't just want her for a night and, instead, hopes for forever. . . .
Learning to Ride by Erin Knightley is one of the first titles published as part of James Patterson’s new BookShots Flames imprint. I must admit, at first I had planned to avoid this line, as I don’t read James Patterson and I thought the whole concept was kind of gimmicky. But after a string of DNFs, I was hoping to find a short but enjoyable read, so I picked up Learning to Ride. And I really liked it! It helps that it’s a cowboy romance–one of my favorite tropes.
Madeline Harper is a bonafide city girl. She works for an aviation supply company, where she’s their youngest acquisitions manager. Her New York office has temporarily transferred her to the small town of Sunnybell, Texas, to oversee a high-profile merger.
Tanner Callen is a former rodeo star who has moved back to Sunnybell to help take care of his grandparents. He’s the most eligible bachelor in town, but so far no one has inspired him to settle down–until he meets Madeline.
When Tanner sees the obvious city girl in the local bar one night, he’s drawn to her immediately. The attraction is mutual and instant. The two share a kiss on the dance floor, which quickly leads to a sexy one night stand–except things don’t end there. As it turns out, Tanner discovers that Madeline isn’t just passing through town–she’s living in Sunnybell for the next year, minimum. He’s surprised at first, then delighted to spend more time with her.
Madeline has mixed feelings when she finds out about Tanner’s reputation of “Callen the Stallion” and isn’t interested in being the subject of local gossip. But she can’t deny her attraction to Tanner and wants to get to know him better.
I love a good city mouse/country mouse romance and the chemistry between Madeline and Tanner is convincing. They fall for each other fast, but I didn’t feel like it was insta-love. The story just works. It’s not all sunshine and flowers, either–there’s some conflict when the reality of their divergent lives comes into play and they have to decide if they have a real future together. Tanner also has some heartache in his past that he’s reluctant to share.
For a shorter novel, this one packs a punch. In many ways, the book reminded me of a Hallmark Channel movie with sexy times included. (And I love a good Hallmark Channel movie!) I would recommend this to anyone in the mood for a quick read that delivers an emotional story.
This was my first time reading anything by this author and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more of her books.
Rating: 4 stars