I have found conflicting information regarding the actual date for National Day of the Cowboy; it’s either the third or fourth Saturday in July. I am going to make an executive decision and call today’s #TBT post is the day we celebrate National Day of the Cowboy. Let’s face it; cowboys probably don’t get enough attention. The definition of a cowboy (noun) in the western US is “a man who herds and tends cattle, performing much of his work on horseback.” I was fascinated to learn the British informal definition of cowboy is “a dishonest or careless person in business, especially an unqualified one.” That British definition opens up a whole other list of books in my backlog! For today’s #TBT celebration, we will focus on the western US cowboy!
Lori Wilde, Melissa Cutler, Laura Wright all have a fantastic catalog of cowboy-inspired books and if you haven’t read them, you probably should. I’m going to take a little trail less traveled path for our discussion.
Breathless by Beverly Jenkins
I suppose someone could fight me on the technical terminology of a cowboy as it relates to Kent Randolph, but I’m a lover, not a fighter. I say don’t waste your time trying to talk me out of this, just read this whole series from the fabulous Ms. Bev, it will not disappoint. Hotel manager Portia Carmichael runs one of the finest hotels in the Arizona Territory. When a longtime family friend, Kent, rides into town, well, he becomes a rough around the edges temptation this strong-willed woman can’t manage to walk away from.
I love the emotion, and intensity Jenkins weaves into the storyline. Her characters are always layered in a way that does not disappoint. Breathless can be read as a standalone but do yourself a favor and read the whole series.
Play it Safe by Kristen Ashley
Kristen Ashley has a couple of pure standalones and Play it Safe tops that list. There is no wiggle room in the description of Grayson Cody and the definition of a cowboy – it fits the bill to a T. Grayson and Ivey are a love at first sight, match made in heaven couple. After being on the run for a decade, Ivey had finally found a home in Grayson’s heart and life. Alas, in the world of Kristen Ashley, nothing can ever be that easy! A terrible betrayal separates this couple for over a decade. OVER A DECADE people, gah…just the angst is gah! Kristen Ashley teaches us time, and again, that true love never dies. When Grayson and Ivey find their way back to each other, the twists and sparks fly, leaving no one unscathed!
Picture Perfect Cowboy by Tiffany Reisz
Is it even a #TBT list if I don’t include a book by Tiffany Reisz? I originally read an abbreviated version of this story in an anthology, but you can read the whole thing now in a gloriously written standalone.
Jason “Still” Waters is a World Champion Bull Rider with a kinky little secret that will burn up your e-reader. In true Tiffany Reisz fashion, Jason meets his kinky match in Simone, of course, she’s friends with Nora! Not only do we get Jason’s journey into embracing his particular kink, but we also get to watch him deliver a leveling blow to his incredibly conservative family.
I absolutely love the way Reisz crafts her stories. Her banter is unfailingly witty and sharp, her sex scenes are always smoking hot, and her twists will always leave you breathless. If you don’t already have Tiffany Reisz on your radar, can we even be friends?
Ride it Out by Cara McKenna
Ride It Out is the final book in Cara McKenna’s Desert Dogs series. Don’t let the cover fool you, it’s not a motorcycle gang book, not even close. The desert dogs are a group of lifelong friends that happen to ride motorcycles occasionally. I do suggest you start at the beginning of the series so that you can get the full pleasure of getting to know the glorious Jeremiah Church. The Church family owns the big ranch in a small town that seems to be dying out. Urban sprawl isn’t quite right for the town of Fortunity, and some pretty dangerous and evil things are happening all over the place.
From the very beginning of the series we’ve known all Miah wants is a wife and kids to settle down and live a good life on the family ranch. He’s such a good man, oh lordy, genuinely the stuff of romance heroes. We’ve watched him fall for the wrong girl, not a bad girl, just not the girl for him…and we’ve learned about his anxieties and woes. Miah has layers like a parfait, my friends!
When Miah’s much-beloved father is murdered, new in town deputy, Nickie Ritchey sets about helping him find the killer. Nickie brings a young son to the table as well, and I’m not mad about the insta-family situation presented to Miah. The man has been through enough, Ride It Out was the satisfying HEA fans of this series have been pulling for from the very beginning.