Title: Cowboy Tough by Joanne Kennedy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
She’s looking for paradise…
When Cat Crandall ditches her career in advertising to take a job teaching painting workshops in exotic locations, she’s hoping to be sent to Tuscany, or maybe France. Instead, she’s assigned to lead a group of aspiring artists through the backcountry of the isolated Boyd Dude Ranch in Wyoming.
He’s looking for a way out.
Mack Boyd is in the middle of the best bronc-riding season of his life when his mother asks him to help lead an artists’ retreat at the ranch. Mack might be able to ride a wild stallion to a standstill, but he can’t say no to his family.
Together, they just might find what they both need.
It doesn’t take long for Mack to figure out that artists are a lot harder to herd than cattle—especially when they’re led by a spitfire of a city girl who doesn’t like to be bossed around. Cat Crandall is nothing but trouble—so why is he so drawn to her?
Joanne Kennedy brings her readers another romance that perfectly captures not only the Western way of life, but the wild and untamed beauty of the vast Wyoming countryside in her newest release , Cowboy Tough. This beautifully written novel is sweet, sexy and full of emotions. It is also a marvelous story about the importance of family and following your dreams.
Following her sister’s death, Cat Crandall is burned out in her career in advertising. Re-evaluating her priorities, she takes a job as an art instructor that she hopes will allow her to pursue her dreams. It also gives her an opportunity to spend time with her grieving niece, Dora. While the Boyd Dude Ranch is not exactly the exotic location she was hoping for, Cat is enthralled by the beauty of the land. She is also instantly attracted to the sexy bronc rider and “dude” wrangler Mack Boyd. With nothing going quite as planned, Cat’s future plans are becoming more and more uncertain with every passing day.
One of the things I enjoyed most about Cowboy Tough is the fact that Cat is not a cowgirl. She is definitely out of her element on the ranch, but from an artistic viewpoint, she fully appreciates the splendor of the surrounding landscape. She slowly adapts to her rather rustic living conditions and she gradually comes to realize that she does not enjoy life in the city as much as she originally thought. It is this realization that finds her rethinking exactly what she has been searching for.
Mack Boyd is the quintessential cowboy. His good manners and love of the family ranch are deeply ingrained in him. Protective of those he loves, Mack willingly puts his rodeo career on hold to help his mother save their ranch. He too has an instant attraction to Cat, but with a failed marriage to a city slicker in his past, he has his doubts about a relationship between them.
One of the secondary story arcs involves Cat’s niece Dora. Cat is determined to help Dora reach her potential as an artist despite Dora’s overwhelming resistance. Dora is still deeply mourning the loss of her mother and she clings tightly to her anger and continually lashes out at Cat. Mack’s experiences with his teenage daughter, Viv, prove invaluable and he does not hesitate to offer his advice to Cat. This part of the plot reveals a lot about Mack’s character and gives him added depth and dimension.
Many of the subplots in Cowboy Tough involve the secondary cast of characters. They are a well-developed and eclectic group of people that I really enjoyed getting to know. There is also wonderful storyline with Mack’s mom, Maddie, that is very endearing. Equally interesting is the mystery aspect of the plot. It does not overpower the novel, but it adds another layer to the complex and well-executed plot.
Cowboy Tough is another delightful and engrossing novel from Joanne Kennedy that I heartily recommend. A truly wonderful cast of characters along with an entertaining storyline make this a must read for anyone who enjoys contemporary Western romances.