Title: Rough Rider by Victoria Vane
Hot Cowboy Nights Series Book Two
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Two wary hearts …
Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect-until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.
Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good-roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there’s a void he can’t seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts…but there’s a certain cowgirl he can’t forget.
When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he’s determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?
Rough Rider is the scorching hot second installment in Victoria Vane’s Hot Cowboy Nights Series. This fast -paced romance is a wonderful mix of themes: it has a new adult-y vibe for the first part of the story but then it turns into a very heartwarming second chance at love story. Another fantastic thing about this novel is that it can stand alone for newcomers to the series while the missing pieces of the Knowlton brothers’ troubled relationship are fully revealed to readers of Slow Hand.
When Rough Rider opens, Janice Combes and Dirk Knowlton are in their early twenties and both are busy following the rodeo circuit. Janice is a stock contractor and Dirk is a competitor in rough stock events (bronc and bull riding). Janice has been in love with Dirk for years, but since Dirk has been in a long term relationship with Rachel Carson for years, the two are just friends. A series of misunderstandings, lack of communication and impulsive decisions take both Janice and Dirk in very different directions, but when they are reunited after a ten year separation, will the couple finally get the chance to live happily ever after?
The years apart were not easy for either Janice or Dirk. Janice married a bull rider but theirs was not a happy marriage. Now widowed, she, along with her nine year old son, have returned to Montana. Since the family’s ranch has mostly been sold to pay off debt, she is working as a waitress while trying to find a job on one of the area ranches. Dirk’s time in the military has left mental and physical scars and he is locked in a fierce battle with his brother over the fate of their family’s ranch. Janice and Dirk’s first meeting does not end well, but they set aside their differences when Dirk offers Janice a part time job as a ranch hand. However, their professional relationship is quickly complicated by their simmering attraction and unresolved issues from their long ago past.
Rough Rider is an intense and emotional novel that is sure to delight readers of contemporary western romances. Victoria Vane brilliantly weaves past and present into a heartfelt and engaging love story that is realistic and quite touching. The Hot Cowboy Nights series is absolutely outstanding and one that I highly recommend to fans of this genre.