Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Review: Hold Me, Cowboy
Because he was the kind of man a woman could make a mistake with. And she had thought she was done making mistakes.
Hold Me, Cowboy by Maisey Yates gives readers the romance of Sam McCormack, the hermit-like, grumpy older brother of Chase, who got his romance in Take Me, Cowboy.  Chase is the business guy.  Sam is the artist. His iron sculptures of typical western motifs (horses, longhorns, you get the idea....) dot the town of Copper Ridge and are bringing in a nice income for the family business thanks to tourists happy to throw around some cash.  But Sam is in the midst of an artistic crisis - inspiration has fled the building.  I mean how many horses and cows can one guy sculpt?  So he heads to a mountain retreat only to find himself face to face with a woman who drives him to distraction.

Madison West, daughter of the town's most prominent family has an ice queen reputation. Sam still swings by her family's estate to make sure her horses stay in shoes and she's always staring down at him with a haughty attitude - like she's supervising "the help."  Truth is Madison has baggage - the kind of baggage that has kept her celibate for 10 years.  Ten. Years. Well, she's over it. She's rented a cabin up in the mountains for a weekend get-away with a guy named Christopher.  Except snow arrives, Christopher can't get up the mountain, and the electricity goes out in her cabin. So she heads next door for help and runs smack dab into Sam.  These two are like oil and water but they're snowed in, they're both horny - what happens up on the mountain stays up on the mountain AMIRITE?!?

But eventually they head back home and naturally they both still have an itch that needs scratching.  It's 12 days until Christmas - so they agree on a 12 day fling.  Have some fun, scratch the itch, they're totally wrong for each other so it's not like they're going to fall in love or anything.  Ha ha ha ha!  Silly romance couples.  Will they never learn?

I've been reading category romance a long time, and Desire is one of the shorter lines - typically clocking in a smidge over 200 pages.  I've been reading this line for close to 20 years, I know the rhythms.  What Yates does here is kind of fiddle with that rhythm - which didn't entirely work for me at first and it took a little time for me to find my footing.  Basically this book opens with chapter one then boom! Smoking hot sex scene.  Character development, what makes them tick, their baggage, the internal conflicts - Yates eventually gets the reader there but it all comes after the characters decide to hit the sheets.  And of course what happens is that these two people who think they're oil and water, actually have a lot in common - and that's when the story gets interesting.

Yates has a way of sucker-punching the reader with emotional heft in what you think is going to be a quick, sexy beach read.  The reason why Madison has been celibate for 10 years? She was a naive "in love" 17-year-old taken advantage of by a much older man, in a position of power. And when she went looking for a safe haven?  She didn't find one.  On the other foot, Sam has been celibate for 5 years after a tragedy nobody, not even his brother, is aware of.  When all this comes bubbling to the surface in the final half the book, Madison bravely stands in front of Sam and just lets it all out. The anger, the guilt, the blame, and ultimately the realization that she's fallen in love with him.  The question is - will our self-pitying hero pull his head out of his butt in time to realize it.

As great as the emotional stuff was, the pacing on this book didn't work quite as well.  I "get" why the early sex scene but it threw me off my stride for half a minute.  Also, I was confused where this book fit in the Copper Ridge series timeline for a while.  It seems like it's much later after Take Me, Cowboy but then it turns out it's only a few months?  And there's a lot of West family stuff here that I wasn't lost or confused about - but it's kind of dropped into the story, and I think it will work better for those readers who have read the single titles about Madison's various siblings first.  I'm admittedly reading out of chronological order.

But, typical Yates, this was a quick, steamy read that kept me engaged in flipping the pages.  Sexy with a heavy dollop of emotional angst.  The glom continues....

Final Grade = B-

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