Monday, May 25, 2020

Review: Take Me, Cowboy

 Book Cover
I fell for Maisey Yates thanks to her work with Harlequin Presents.  Nobody writes an unapologetic fairy tale as good as Yates and she positively sings in the short contemporary format.  When I pick up one of her category romances, regardless if it entirely works for me or not, I know I'm in the hands of a pro.  My Kindle is positively stuffed with her books for this reason so I've decided a Yates mini-glom was in order.

Take Me, Cowboy is part of her Copper Ridge series and the first book in a spin-off trilogy she set in that world for Harlequin Desire.  There were a few bumpy patches but ultimately the second half of this book hit me right in the solar plexus.

Anna Brown is a tomboy.  She's got two older brothers who essentially raised her after Mom took off and in a bid to get her father to pay attention to her, hell to SEE her, she got very good working on engines.  She's now a heavy machinery mechanic with her own shop on Chase McCormack's land in Copper Ridge, Oregon.  The problem is she's been invited to a chichi party at the estate of the town's most prominent family and her brothers, ass-hats that they are, tease her that she couldn't possibly land a date.  Anna, never one to back down from a challenge and frankly, looking for a change, takes that bet.  She just didn't plan on her BFF, Chase, picking up the mantle.

Chase's parents died in an accident, leaving him and his hermit-like brother Sam running the family ranch, which includes their iron works business.  Chase, haunted by the last words he spoke to his father, is determined to turn the family ranch around and for that? He needs an invite to that fancy party.  Anna is his ticket in.  He just, you know, needs to be her Henry Higgins. Naturally, they both get more than they bargained for.

Friends-to-Lovers with Pygmalion tossed in for extra seasoning - this is basically Wendy Crack.  Anna's hormones have been tripping over Chase for a while now, but he's such a man-whore with "a type," plus Anna has no desire to potentially wreck the one true friendship she has to her name.  Chase is a love 'em and leave 'em type - having his pick of women, enjoying some fun times, but never-ever staying the night or frankly going out on second date.  So yeah, a real prince.  This was the first bumpy patch for me.  The references to Chase's "type" and how he treated those other women. I mean, I get it. Chances are very good those other women knew what they were signing up for, but my tolerance for this sort of hero behavior has ebbed considerably over the years.

The other bump was Anna's lack of experience.  She's slept with one guy, exactly one time.  She doesn't see what all the fuss is about when it comes to sex.  Look, I get it.  Anna's emotional baggage is such that I understood why she wasn't running through men like Kleenex but Chase, inevitably, goes all gooey thinking about her lack of experience once they start "doing it" and ugh - can we set this trope on fire already?  On the bright side, Anna isn't dead below the waist and has experienced plenty of orgasms on her own prior to Chase and his magic doodle arriving on the scene.

So what did I like?  Everything else.  Anna is a straight shooter with an underlying vulnerability that I find very appealing in a romance heroine.  The world isn't kind to plain-speaking women and underneath all that Anna has her insecurities like we all do.  I also loved how brave she was.  OMG, The Black Moment in this book is amaze-balls.  Anna, straight shooter that she is, just lays it all out there.  Opens herself up, pours out all her vulnerabilities, plainly tells Chase how and what she feels and naturally he's a thundering, scaredy-pants jackass about it.  Anna is an effin' rockstar.

That's what makes this book for me.  Yates can write a jackass hero with the best of 'em (hey, she writes Presents after all!) but it's her heroines that keep me coming back for more. Because her heroines give as good as they get and don't back down.  Anna, will you marry me?

Final Grade = B


Keira Soleore said...

You totally sold me on this book. Friends-to-Lovers with Pygmalion? Sign me up.

I like emotional independence in heroines. And Anna sounds like a really strong individual, yet does not suppress her emotions. What a gift of a character.

I have enjoyed the Yates I have read. She truly does short well. Is this particular book a single title?

Wendy said...

Hi Keira: This one is category romance - it was published by Harlequin Desire, so it clocks in a bit over 200 pages. This particular series has been a mix of novellas, category romance and single titles. And pretty darn sure I have them all lurking on my Kindle (because of course I do....).

This one is mostly Friends-to-Lovers. Pygmalion is definitely there in the beginning for a bit of added flavor, but it doesn't play out over the course of the entire story.