Review of RUNAWAY COWBOY by Judy Christenberry (see her website)
Harlequin American Romance #1205, April 2008
The Lazy L Ranch is in trouble. With the death of their parents, Jessica, Pete and Luke spend more time squabbling over how to run the dude ranch than actually doing it. That's when their grandfather, Clay, steps in and hires a ranch manager. Jim Bradford has been working as a stockbroker in New York, but is happy to find a new life in Colorado. First, though, he needs to straighten some things out at the ranch. And his biggest ally, if he can win her over, will be Jessica.
It doesn't take Jessica long to realize how attractive Jim is, or that he's attracted to her as well. But Jess was burned once before--by a college boyfriend who had another lover on the side. Giving her trust again won't be easy--even though Jim is saying all the right things to win her trust. Saying all the right things is one thing, but when Jim's ex-girlfriend comes to stay at the dude ranch, all of Jess's worst nightmares seem to be coming true.
Author Judy Christenberry (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Christenberry) launches a new series with RUNAWAY COWBOY. Although Jim may be moving back from New York, he's definitely all cowboy--but a modern cowboy who doesn't think women should have to do all of the cooking and cleaning while the guys laze around. Jess is always prepared to assume the worst, and jump to conclusions. She's got to learn to trust herself and her instincts before she can trust anyone, but how can she trust herself when she's been betrayed before? Especially when the evidence seems to point at Jim playing fast and loose with women.
Christenberry always writes an approachable book with old-fashioned values and where families may have their fights, but always pull together in the end. The fantasy of leaving the corporate ratrace and finding a simpler life in the country runs through the story, but Christenberry makes it clear that even in the country, people have to face reality.
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