Title: Three Weeks with a Bull Rider by Cat Johnson
Oklahoma Nights Series Book Three Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
One Broken Man. . .
Cowboy Jace Mills has suffered fewer injuries from bucking bulls than he has from his ex-girlfriend. Following his best friend Tucker’s advice, Jace is convinced it’s time to move on. But with his ex’s tight rein on him, easier said than done.
One Broken Heart. . .
Tara Jenkins learned a lot in her sports medicine courses, but not how to fix her broken heart. So when her brother Tucker suggests using her skills on the rodeo, it gives her the perfect opportunity to ride off into the sunset–or at least run away.
Three Weeks Together. . .
Only problem is, Jace and Tara have had a hate-hate relationship for over a decade, putting up with each other for Tucker’s sake.
With their long history as frenemies, they know sparks will fly now that they’re on the same circuit, they just never expect them to flare into scorching passion. . .
Three Weeks with a Bull Rider, the final novel in the Oklahoma Nights trilogy, is refreshingly unique, deliciously sensuous and full of surprises. In this outing, Cat Johnson effortlessly accomplishes what has to be one of THE most difficult things an author must do: transform a previously unlikable character into one that readers will not only love but one that they will root for 110 percent. Thankfully, in Ms. Johnson’s talented and capable hands, Tara Jenkins becomes a heroine that is worthy of Jace Mills’ heart and fans of the series will fall for her as well.
The Central States Rodeo Circuit offers both Tara and Jace the perfect opportunity to escape their real life problems for a few weeks. For Jace, he has been unable to make a clean break from his slightly crazy ex and after their latest confrontation, he is eager to put some distance between them. Tara’s heart was broken when the man she loves marries another woman, so she too is looking for a distraction. Jace decides to hit the bull riding circuit and Tara signs up for the internship she needs to finish up her sports medicine degree. Although these two really cannot stand one another, after Tara’s car breaks down, they reluctantly become traveling partners. Much to their surprise, their animosity gives way to friendship and an unanticipated attraction.
In the beginning, Tara is still the immature, selfish and bratty character readers met in Two Times As Hot but this makes her transformation much more realistic. Once she and Jace are on the road, she is unexpectedly compassionate and understanding when confronted with Jace’s unhappiness over the situation with his ex. She also sees a different side to Jace during his interactions with the younger riders. Their relationship soon becomes a little more relaxed and while they still bicker back and forth, it is not quite as heated as it was at first. Tara takes the responsibilities of her internship seriously and she quickly begins to mature as she carries out her duties. She is headstrong and impulsive but Jace proves to be a calming influence on more than one occasion. Tara is also tenacious and this trait turns out to a good thing when it comes to their evolving relationship.
Older, mature and steady as a rock, Jace is a great guy who sometimes makes questionable decisions regarding his ex. On the positive side, he finally walked away from the tempestuous relationship. On the negative side, he drops everything to rush back whenever his volatile ex calls. Jace is reluctant to talk to anyone about the trouble with his ex, but once he opens up to Tara, she provides some startling insight that might explain his ex’s erratic behavior. Tara suggests a very sexy solution to help Jace put his ex firmly in the past, but he is extremely reluctant to put her plan into motion. But Tara quickly overcomes his resistance and their relationship takes a very passionate turn.
My one word description for Three Weeks with a Bull Rider? Different and as far as I am concerned, this is what makes it an outstanding reading experience. It is the third novel in the series and Ms. Johnson does an excellent job keeping it fresh. Unlike the other books, Jace and Tara are on the road, so outside of a few friends on the bull riding circuit, the story centers exclusively on them. Fortunately, their characters are strong enough to carry the plot and they sort through their feelings for each other without interference from family or friends.
Another big difference is Tara and Jace take the time to get to know one another before they jump into bed together. The sexual attraction between them is always there; it just takes them a while to recognize it. Jace is the more sexually experienced of the two, but for the most part, Tara is the one controlling this part of their relationship. But there is just so far Jace is willing to go and this leads to some incredibly inventive and positively sizzling encounters between them.
The story flows so smoothly and the changes in the characters and their relationship occur so gradually, it takes a while to realize that Tara has matured into an immensely appealing character and that she and Jace are a perfect match for each other. There is no insta-love between them. Instead their feelings for one another grow over time, making the changes in their relationship easy to believe. There are no big misunderstandings to tear them apart, and although Cat Johnson does throw a couple of obstacles in their path, Tara and Jace overcome them with very little drama.
Three Weeks with a Bull Rider is a very strong finish to the Oklahoma Nights trilogy and although it can stand alone, I highly recommend the entire series.
Read my reviews of the other two novels in the series HERE.