HIGHLAND BRIDES SERIES by Lynsay Sands

February 25, 2022

Book 1

I started reading this series in the middle, as I often do, back in 2018. The first book I read was SURRENDER TO THE HIGHLANDER, and I wasn’t thrilled with it. I picked it up during a Droughtlander (the years between the books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and/or the eponymous TV series.) But when the next book, THE HIGHLANDER’S PROMISE, came out, I read it and liked it a lot. I read the next couple, then somehow forgot about this series.

The most recent book is HIGHLAND WOLF, which I read a few weeks ago and really enjoyed. So I started looking around at the series and realized what I had done, reading those four books in the middle. I found the rest of the series through my library. I received egalleys, advanced review copies, from the publisher for the other books in the series that I read.

These books are historical romance but also romantic suspense. There is some element of danger in all of them, and there is graphic sex in all of them as well. Mostly the same sex scenes, in fact. Only the names are changed, or at least that’s how it appeared to me. I probably wouldn’t have noticed except I read five books over the past week, one after another, so it was quite obvious. There are some gruesome descriptions of torture and murder in some of the books as well, but not overly long and usually just once in each book, if that.

These do not have to be read in order. Like many romance series, each book centers on two characters, at least one of whom we have met or heard about in a previous book. So if you haven’t read the books in order, you may not get the reference but it makes no difference to the plot or understanding the characters, who are all well developed. The later books have a few more references to previous ones, but again, not that you’d notice if you haven’t read them. All that said, they are probably best read in order.

There aren’t a whole lot of historical references other than the fact that Edward III is on the British throne, which puts these books in the 1300’s, and the English and Scots hate each other. Oh, if you didn’t get it from the titles or the book covers, these are all Scottish romances set in the Highlands of Scotland, with occasional forays into England. Amazon calls them “Medieval romances” and I guess that’s true. I did learn a lot about how people lived in that time period: what they ate, how they dressed, how they shopped, their morals and beliefs, all of which I found fascinating.

I really enjoyed this series and I’m sorry I didn’t read them in order. But I am very glad I read them all. And I hope there are more books coming!

Finally, I wanted to add that I read the first four books on Hoopla, and book 9 on Cloud Library, apps that are available through libraries. If your library doesn’t offer these options, ask for them! I don’t love reading in these apps, it’s not nearly as seamless as my Kindle but it works and I read these all on my iPad. Hoopla offers ebooks, audiobooks, comics (graphic novels,) movies, TV series, and music; pretty much any kind of streaming material. Cloud Library has ebooks and streaming audiobooks. My library allows patrons to borrow twenty items per month from Hoopla and seven items from Cloud Library, but your mileage may vary. Oh, just FYI, Hoopla changes their content at their whim; libraries have no say in it beyond making suggestions. So just because I found all these books there now, they may not be there next month or next year. What I like best about Hoopla is that whatever they have is always available. If you are used to borrowing ebooks through Cloud Library or Overdrive, you know you have to reserve popular items and wait. That doesn’t happen on Hoopla – what you see is what you get. All of these books are also available as audiobooks.

The series in order:

1. An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands

From New York Times bestselling author of The Husband HuntThe Heiress, and other beloved historical romances, comes Lynsay Sands’s An English Bride in Scotland, the first book in a new series set in the wilds of the Highlands.
 
Annabel had planned to become a nun. But when her mother arrives at the Abbey to bring her home to marry a Scottish laird—her runaway sister’s intended husband—her life takes a decidedly different turn.
 
And though Annabel isn’t the wife he’d planned for, strong, sexy Ross McKay is taken with his shy, sweet bride.
 
Annabel knows nothing about being a wife, running a castle—or the marriage bed. But her handsome new husband makes her want to learn. When Annabel’s life is threatened, Ross vows to move the highlands itself to save her and preserve the passion that’s only beginning to bloom.


2. To Marry a Scottish Laird by Lynsay Sands

New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns to the Highlands of Scotland in her hottest new historical romance yet!

Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn’t count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan . . . with the most sinful of curves.

Joan promised her mother that she would deliver a scroll to the clan MacKay. But traveling alone is dangerous, even disguised as a boy. When a Scottish warrior lends his aid, she is more than relieved . . . until he surprises her with lingering kisses and caresses that prove her disguise hasn’t fooled him. As their passion ignites, will the secrets of the scroll force a wedding . . . and lead to a love she’s never known?


3. The Highlander Takes a Bride by Lynsay Sands

A bold, seductive laird meets his passionate match in a scintillating Highland romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands

Sword fighting, swearing, and riding astride come naturally to Saidh Buchanan. Simpering and holding her tongue— definitely not. Raised alongside seven boisterous brothers, Saidh has little interest in saddling herself with a husband . . . until she glimpses the new Laird MacDonnell bathing naked in the loch. Though she’s far from a proper lady, the brawny Highlander makes Saidh feel every inch a woman.

She has an angel’s looks, a warrior’s temper, and seeks out his kisses with wanton eagerness. Little wonder that Greer is intrigued by his comely guest. When reckless desire overtakes them, he’s more than willing to make an honest woman of her. But Saidh is the target of a hidden enemy, and Greer faces the battle of his life to safeguard the woman he wants above all others.


4. Falling for the Highlander by Lynsay Sands

New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands welcomes readers back to the Scottish Highlands, where a gallant warrior vows to protect a beautiful runaway . . .

Lady Murine Carmichael has known her share of bad luck. But when her debt-ridden half brother tries to sell her off in exchange for a few Scottish horses, it’s the final straw. If keeping her freedom means escaping through harsh countryside alone, so be it. She has barely begun her journey when she lands an unlikely escort—the brawny Highlander who just refused to buy her virtue.

Dougall Buchanan was disgusted by Lord Danvries’ shameful offer, but Murine tempts him beyond measure. Even bedraggled and dusty, the lass glows with beauty and bravery. Dougall wants to do more than just help her flee. He wants to protect her—with his life and his heart—if she’ll only let him. For Murine may be pursued by a powerful foe, but nothing compares to the fiery courage of a Highlander in love.


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5. Surrender to the Highlander by Lynsay Sands

In New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ captivating romance, a lass targeted by an unknown foe is saved—and seduced—by a bold Highlander

Edith Drummond owes her life to Niels Buchanan and his brothers. Waking after an illness to a castle overrun by rugged Highlanders is disconcerting, but so is learning that she’s slowly being poisoned. Niels insists on staying by her side, and Edith soon discovers that even more dangerous is her wild attraction to the fierce warrior.

Niels has never met a more courageous—or enticing—woman than Lady Edith. The idea of such a bonny lass being forced to enter a nunnery is more than any red-blooded Scotsman could bear. He’ll gladly marry her himself. But while sweeping her off her feet is easy, it’ll take all his skill to defeat her family’s relentless enemies, and convince her to surrender to his sweet embrace. . . .


6. The Highlander’s Promise by Lynsay Sands

In a spellbinding new Highlands story from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the laird of the Buchanans finds the one woman who is his equal in passion and courage

Aulay Buchanan has retreated to his clan’s hunting lodge for a few days of relaxation. But the raven-haired beauty he pulls from the ocean puts an end to any chance of rest. Though he christens her Jetta, she knows nothing of her real identity, save that someone is trying to kill her. As she recovers, it will not be easy for Aulay to protect her and keep her honor intact when she mistakenly believes they are man and wife…

Jetta sees beyond Aulay’s scars to the brave, loyal warrior she’s proud to call her own. But as the attempts on her life grow more brazen, Jetta realizes that not all is as she believes. And if Aulay is not her husband, can she trust the desire flaring in his eyes, or his promise to defend her with his life?


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7. The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands

A laird’s daughter kidnaps a Highlander—and loses her heart… in New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new historical romance

Lady Evina Maclean has heard much about Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. What she hasn’t heard is how good the brawny Highlander looks bathing in a waterfall. But Evina can’t afford the distraction, for her ailing father urgently needs care. Only when she’s rendered Buchanan unconscious and dragged him back to her family’s castle does the truth emerge—it’s not Rory she’s kidnapped but his brother Conran.

Other ladies try to ensnare Conran with flattery. Evina hits him over the head with the hilt of her sword to save her kin—and Conran likes the spirited redhead all the more for it. He’s learned enough from his brother to heal Evina’s father, but there are other dangers swirling around the Maclean clan. And while the beautiful, independent lady has sworn not to marry, this wrong Highlander may be just the right man for her.


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8. Hunting for a Highlander by Lynsay Sands

Four Buchanan brothers have found their brides…only three more to go in this scintillating romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…

Lady Dwyn Innes feels utterly out of place among the eligible women who’ve descended on Buchanan Keep, vying for the attention of the last unmarried brothers. She isn’t long-legged and slender like her sisters, or flirtatious and wily like other lasses. Since her betrothed died, Dwyn has resigned herself to becoming an old maid. Yet a chance encounter with a stranger in the orchard awakens her to a new world of sensation and possibility…

After weeks away, Geordie Buchanan returns to find his home swarming with potential brides, thanks to his loving but interfering family. But one lass in particular draws his attention from the moment he spies her climbing a tree. Lady Dwyn is not nearly as plain as she thinks. Her lush figure and eager kisses delight him, as does her honesty. But the real test lies ahead: eliminating a hidden enemy, so that he and Dwyn can seal their Highland passion with a vow.


9. Highland Treasure by Lynsay Sands

A Buchanan brother finds a love to treasure in this scintillating historical romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…

After escaping from the English soldiers who attacked her home and imprisoned her in a dungeon, Lady Elysande de Valance is grateful for the rugged Scots who are escorting her to safety in the Highlands. Even with danger dogging their every step, she hadn’t expected to welcome the strong comforting embrace of their leader, Rory Buchanan. They say he’s a healer, but she finds the heat of his touch does so much more…

Let his brothers get married—Rory is too busy tending to the sick to be bothered with wooing a bride. But when he is tasked with accompanying a family friend’s “treasure” to the Highlands, he is surprised to learn the treasure is a beautiful woman on the run—and even more surprised to discover bruises hidden by her veil. Rory makes it his mission to tend to her injuries and protect her, but the thought of losing her makes him realize that perhaps it is his heart that is most in need of healing…


10. Highland Wolf by Lynsay Sands

New York Times Bestselling Author Lynsay Sands delivers another sexy historical romance set in the wilds of the Highlands

In all her daydreams about her wedding day, Lady Claray MacFarlane never once imagined being dragged to the altar by her greedy uncle and forced to marry a man she didn’t know. But that’s what happened, or would have, had a Highland warrior not snatched her up at the last minute and ridden off with her in his arms.

They call him the Wolf. The mercenary’s courage and prowess in battle are known throughout the Highlands, and with his handsome face and black-as-sin hair, he is as intelligent and deadly as the wolf he was named for…

But the Wolf is also Claray’s betrothed. Thought to have been killed as a child, he’s been in hiding all these years. Now he’s determined to earn enough coin to rebuild his home, reclaim his birthright, and honor his marriage contract to Claray. For he’s fallen for the tender-hearted lass…and he will do anything to protect her and their future together. 


WIND RIVER VALLEY SERIES by Lindsay McKenna

December 13, 2021

Book 1

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed an entire series like this before, but there is always a first time, so here it is. I found this series when another librarian was trying to help her patron find this and she asked on a readers’ advisory listserv I frequent. The patron didn’t remember the author or any of the titles, only the barest facts about it: a small town setting in Wyoming, military veterans, romance. Another librarian suggested this series, and I was intrigued. I recently read another series set in a similar area, Wranglers of Wyoming by R.C. Ryan, which I loved, so I thought I’d check out this one.

I read them all in about two weeks. Sometimes that is not a good thing – I think I would have enjoyed them more with some time between each book. As it was, these books were addicting for me, even though I have some real criticism about them.

The setting is a small town in western Wyoming in the Wind River Valley (a real place.) In the books, this is a small, impoverished town with a few families that are well off; one is quite wealthy. They are about 50 miles from the very wealthy Jackson Hole area, which is referenced regularly.

There are some characters that are in pretty much all the books. Maud and Steve own the largest ranch in the area, over 100,000 acres. Maud runs the ranch, and Steve is a world renowned architect. They mostly hire veterans to work for them. Shay owns another ranch, but a much smaller one that is in bad shape. She inherited the ranch from her mother, who died when she was young. Her father is an alcoholic and quite abusive, and he has run the ranch into the ground. When he has a stroke, Shay gets a hardship discharge from the armed services to go home and take over the ranch. She decides to only hire veterans like herself who are suffering from PTSD.

Most of the books take place on one of these two ranches. There are occasional pointed jabs at the VA and the lack of help they provide for our veterans, but these books are not political in nature, and the author has lived a lot of what she puts her characters through. She’s a veteran, among other things, and you can read all about her here: https://lindsaymckenna.com/about/

While I have a lot of respect for the author, I have some issues with this series. All the characters are the same. Pretty much everyone is a veteran, which I really liked. Almost all have been Black Ops in Afghanistan, which makes them super vigilant and extremely observant. All the men are kind, have old school manners, calloused hands, and are afraid of relationships mostly because of their PTSD. They often display “sour smiles,” whatever that is. They are all tall and well built (these are romances!) and pretty much everyone in these books (and frankly, in most romance novels) have blue, green, or gray eyes with just a couple of exceptions. That’s been bugging me for a while, so I did some research.

Can you guess the rarest eye color in the United States?

The [American Academy of Ophthalmology] surveyed more than 2,000 Americans to determine what color eyes they have. Below are the results of that 2014 Harris Poll survey, weighted to reflect the United States population at that time.

Of the 2014 U.S. population:

45% have brown eyes

27% have blue eyes

18% have hazel eyes

9% have green eyes

1% have eyes a color not listed above (i.e. gray or amber)

American Academy of Ophthalmology

The women are mostly tall and thin, usually underweight due to their PTSD. They are also afraid of relationships, same PTSD issues. They appreciate the gentleman-like manners. I loved that all the men treat the women as equals. There is so much respect for the military that it carries through to relationships these veterans have in civilian life. Every man and woman is a team player, works hard, never asks for help, hated and stopped taking the drugs prescribed by the VA, and are open to the physician’s assistant in town who is studying PTSD and offers them help via more natural methods.

Most of them have experienced homelessness, even if they come from good families. Some of the men are divorced due to PTSD, a couple are young widowers. All these veterans experience flashbacks and nightmares, making them feel like they can’t live at home with civilians who don’t understand their symptoms, not to mention they feel like they disturb the household too much to live there. They are all incredibly anxious and find salvation working with animals on these ranches. And they all acknowledge their sexual attraction to one another by feeling “warmth” or “tightness” in their “lower body,” which I found weird.

While some of the female vets did mention how badly a lot of the men in the armed services treated them, it was mostly glossed over. No mention whatsoever of the prevalence of sexual assaults, either, and of course all the men in these books totally respect women, especially those in combat, which I found quite aspirational rather than believable.

After the first book, both ranches offer their employees their own homes to live in on the ranch. At Shay’s ranch, all the wranglers are men. The homes are two bedrooms and when she hires a new wrangler, all women, she assigns them to one of the houses to live with the man who already lives there. How convenient it is that every one of these women and men fall in love with their house partner.

All the relationships take most of the book to come to fruition due to their fears and lack of communication. They all realize they have feelings, usually very strong feelings, for the person they are living with, but are hesitant to express those feelings because they are afraid they are not reciprocated. They are also afraid the other person is dealing with too much stress/psychological issues/PTSD to want to have a relationship.

A couple of these books have strong elements of suspense as well. There is a family in town who are the bad guys. The father abused his entire family. There are four sons and a mother, and all are drug users and violent criminals. Some or all of them feature prominently in a few of the books, are briefly mentioned in others.

A couple of the books center on women who aren’t working on one of the ranches. Kassie’s Cowboy is a novella, hence the addition of “6.5” in the series, and is only available as an ebook. Kassie owns the diner in this small town, and hires veterans for her staff. She is one of the few characters that doesn’t have PTSD, but all her staff do so she understands and knows how to deal with it. Wind River Lawman centers around the sheriff of the county, an odd title considering that Sarah is the sheriff, elected after her father retired. She is a veteran with issues and her love interest is a wrangler hired to work on her family’s ranch.

Finally, sex. Most romances have sex, and while these books definitely lean towards the sweet side of romance, all have one sex scene towards the end of the book. It is not very explicit, and in every book it is as close to being the exact same scene as in every other book in this series. It is the type of sex that I thought indicated a man actually wrote this series. Then, as I learned about the author, I thought ah ha! I’m right, he’s writing under a pseudonym. But her website indicates she is a woman, and the one photo I found is of a woman. Maybe it is an age thing? But that really isn’t an excuse to write bad sex scenes. All the men in these books are assumed to be great lovers by all the women in these books because, from what I can tell, of their good manners?

Worst of all, these are the type of sex scenes that make me want to stop reading; kissing leads to simultaneous orgasms from intercourse over a page or two, and that’s all she wrote. Literally.

Besides the instantaneous & simultaneous orgasms, my other big issue with the sex is that every single character hates & refuses to use condoms. One of the women is on the pill, but everyone else is “clean” and the women are all in a “safe” time of the month. I really wanted to suggest they drive by the nearest parochial school and ask the moms picking up those kids how many of those kids are there despite the “safe” time of the month.

There are so many coincidences sprinkled throughout these books that it makes the mind reel. So many of the veterans in this town were people who served together in Afghanistan. According to the Washington Post, 775,000 men and women served there. Not sure what the odds are that so many of these soldiers would end up in this little town many years later, with some of them having served together, too. It all seems pretty far fetched to me. But what do I know.

There is also a bit of confusion about the wealthy family in town. Early in the series, we are told that over the years they fostered some children who are now grown, and are still helping them out. Later in the series, it turns out these children were adopted. There are four of them, and we really don’t learn anything about them until book 8 when the oldest daughter comes home. Then we learn that three of them are in the military, and the fourth is in drug enforcement (DEA.) He shows up in the last book.

That’s a whole of complaining about a series of books that I still managed to read. I believe these books are best read in order. They are formulaic as hell; change the names, swap out the ranch or occupation, and everything else pretty much stays the same. I never thought I would like a series that is so formulaic with such bad sex scenes, but I overlooked all that because I did like these stories. I liked the respect for the military. I liked how strong these women were, even if they occasionally lapse into helpless female on rare occasion. I always like small town romances, and I really liked this small town that revolves around helping veterans. I liked the men; how strong they were, the work they do, the way they treat one another and their women. There was enough good there to keep me picking up book after book, even if I can’t quantify it exactly.

That said, I doubt I’d read anything else by this author (or any of her pseudonyms.) There is one storyline that hangs over all these books, concerning Shay’s abusive father. As he starts recovering from his stroke, he is determined to take back the ranch from his daughter. He files a lawsuit but it is not resolved; it’s just hanging over all these characters and books. I’m hoping there will be another book that finally resolves that. But it’s looking doubtful – the last book in this series was published in 2020.

Finally, I wanted to add that I read all of these books on Hoopla, an app that is available through libraries. If your library doesn’t offer it, ask for it! I don’t love reading in the app, it’s not nearly as seamless as my Kindle but it works and I read these all on my iPad. They offer ebooks, audiobooks, comics (graphic novels,) movies, TV series, and music; pretty much any kind of streaming material. My library allows patrons to borrow 18 items per month, but your mileage may vary. Oh, and the content changes at the whim of Hoopla, libraries have no say in it beyond suggestions. So just because I found all these books there now, they may not be there next month or next year. What I like best about Hoopla is that whatever they have is always available. If you are used to borrowing ebooks through Cloud Library or Overdrive, you know you have to reserve popular items and wait. That doesn’t happen on Hoopla – what you see is what you get.

The series in order:

1. Wind River Wrangler (Wind River Series Book 1) by Lindsay McKenna

First in the series from the bestselling author. “The ever-present sensuality is a magnetic force that propels the novel forward amid simmering suspense.”—Publishers Weekly

From the moment Roan Taggart picks up the pretty redhead at the Jackson Hole airport, his training and experience tells him she is spooked. She’s left New York City to visit the Wind River Ranch, where Roan is a wrangler, and just as he can pick up a horse’s mood, he can feel the tension coming off her body. And that vulnerability is triggering all his protective instincts . . .


Wind River Rancher (Wind River Series Book 2)

2. Wind River Rancher (Wind River Series Book 2) by Lindsay McKenna

A Marine veteran finds a chance for redemption and romance in this novel from the New York Times–bestselling author of Wind River Undercover.

Not so long ago, Reese Lockhart was commanding a company of Marines. Now his life is spiraling out of control. The Bar C ranch outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming may be his last chance to save himself . . .

Shaylene Crawford, an Afghanistan veteran herself, knows all too well the demons of PTSD—that’s why she’s determined to turn her family’s cattle ranch into a place where wounded warriors can work, find a home, and rebuild their souls. Her embittered father nearly drank and gambled the place away, but with help from a small crew of vets—including the newest arrival, the quietly compelling Reese Lockhart—she intends to hold on to her dream. And when someone tries to destroy that dream, Reese will do whatever it takes to defend her . . .


Wind River Cowboy (Wind River Series Book 3)

3. Wind River Cowboy (Wind River Series Book 3) by Lindsay McKenna

Two veterans reunited at a Wyoming ranch reignite their passion for each other—from the New York Times–bestselling author of Wind River Undercover.

Kira Duval was part of a Special Forces team that got caught in an ambush—leaving only two wounded survivors: herself and Weapons Sergeant Garret Fleming. Losing her team was traumatic, and in the chaotic aftermath, as the Army moved them from hospital to hospital, she lost Garret too. But she never lost her secret yearning for him.

Finally, she gave up trying to track him down back in the States. But as she settles in at the Bar C cattle ranch in Wyoming, a place where veterans can find a home and a place to heal, she’s introduced to her sandy-haired, hazel-eyed housemate: none other than Garret Fleming.

They’re a long way from Afghanistan—and a long way from the people they used to be before tragedy changed their lives. But as Kira earns her keep by caregiving for the ranch owner’s bedridden, alcoholic father—a task that sometimes feels more challenging than any black ops mission—she finds that even in peacetime Garret still has her back, and that in this warm, welcoming place, the passion she resisted in the heat of battle may finally have a chance to flourish… 


Wrangler's Challenge (Wind River Series Book 4)

4. Wrangler’s Challenge (Wind River Series Book 4) by Lindsay McKenna

Two military veterans find solace, and each other, on a horse ranch in this romance from the New York Times–bestselling author of Wind River Undercover.

For Noah Mabry, it’s easier sometimes to relate to the dogs and horses he trains than to other people. Ever since his marriage became a casualty of the war in Afghanistan—torn apart by the PTSD he brought back with him—he prefers to be on his own. At the Bar C Ranch in Wyoming, where he works with a crew of fellow military vets, his gentle patience helps tame even the rowdiest mustang—but he’s about to meet a woman who needs a healing touch he’s not sure he can give.

Dair Wilson, a half-Comanche ex-Marine who lost a foot to an IED, has been hired on to assist Noah, but her deepest wounds aren’t visible. Growing up in an abusive home, she learned not to trust men, even ones who seem nothing but kind. After a wild horse sends her sprawling, the attentive care she receives from the Bar C family—and especially from Noah—is enough to convince her she’s found a place she can finally breathe easy. But one angry, damaged man poses a threat not only to Dair and Noah, but to everyone who’s built a new home at the Bar C…


Lone Rider (Wind River Valley Book 5)

5. Lone Rider (Wind River Valley Book 5) by Lindsay McKenna

A Wyoming ranch holds the future for a combat medic and a photographer in this romance from the New York Times–bestselling author of Wind River Undercover.

As a combat photographer in Afghanistan, Tara Dalton saw things she won’t ever forget, as much as she would like to. And after returning Stateside, she can’t fight her way past the PTSD that’s haunted her ever since. Desperate to make a change, she joins her old friend Shay at the Bar C Ranch, where a group of ex-military vets are putting their lives back together one step at a time—including one strong, gentle bear of a man who makes her feel safer than she has in years.

Harper Sutton fell farther than he ever imagined after his tour of duty as a medic was up, and he’s not proud of it. But at the Bar C, he’s doing work that means something, and he’s training to be a professional paramedic. That’s enough to concentrate on, until Tara comes to share his place at the ranch. The shadows in her eyes are darker than simply memories of war, and every moment he spends with her opens up parts of himself he’d thought long dead. But as Tara’s troubled past threatens the present, it will take trust in each other to fight for a future together…


Wind River Lawman (Wind River Series Book 6)

6. Wind River Lawman (Wind River Series Book 6) by Lindsay McKenna

A small-town sheriff gets some backup in more ways than one from a Navy veteran turned rancher in this romance from a New York Times–bestselling author.

After serving as a Navy medic, Dawson Callahan is back in the States and ready to start over. Leaving his native Texas, he heads for the wide-open spaces of Wyoming, where he finds work as a wrangler. True, he’ll mainly be wrangling chickens—and wrangling Sarah Carter’s granny, who’s still spry, but in need of a little caregiving. But ranch work is ranch work, and it’s hard to turn down a job offer from the beautiful Sheriff Carter—especially when she deputizes him as one of her lawmen.
 
Sarah loves her grandmother, but with her law enforcement career keeping her busy, they could both use some help from a strong, steady man. And policing Lincoln County has only gotten tougher since a merciless drug lord arrived in the area. When Sarah takes a bullet on the job, it’s Dawson who comes to her rescue—and though they both thought they left war behind in Afghanistan, they’ll do whatever it takes to protect what’s theirs, even if it means facing down traumas they’ve buried for years. Because love isn’t for the faint of heart…


6.5 Kassie’s Cowboy (Wind River)Novella by Lindsay McKenna – Kindle Edition

A Christmas blizzard reunites a Marine veteran with his high school sweetheart in this romance novella from a New York Times–bestselling author.
 
A brutal blue norther is battering Wind River Valley in Wyoming just in time for Christmas when retired Marine Travis Grant spies a driver spinning out of control on black ice. It’s probably a tourist who doesn’t understand the deadly conditions, and Travis knows he has to help. The last person he expects to find behind the wheel is his childhood love, Kassie Murphy. She’s injured, but alive. And now, for Travis and Kassie, this snowy silent night will be one last chance to put the painful past behind them—and treat the wounds only love can heal.


Home to Wind River (Wind River Series Book 7)

7. Home to Wind River (Wind River Series Book 7) by Lindsay McKenna

An ex-Marine and an Army nurse discover the strength to love again on a Wyoming ranch—from the New York Times–bestselling author of Wind River Undercover.

After a harrowing tour of duty in Afghanistan, Army nurse Lily Thompson escapes to Wind River Ranch to find herself once more. Working as a caregiver to foreman Jake Murdoch’s elderly mother, Lily almost feels at peace—except for the unsettling presence of Jake, a tight-lipped, intimidating man everyone calls Bear. But one look in the powerful ex-Marine’s eyes and Lily glimpses a vulnerability that shakes her soul: a hurt she understands all too well—and longs to heal . . .

Jake is ready to rail at the fates when Lily moves into his home. Everything about this captivating woman calls to him, demanding that he abandon his solitary stance and start to live again. But Jake is a man who knows that no one can save him from the past that stalks his heart and mind. Not even sweet, achingly beautiful Lily. Still, that doesn’t stop his longing to pull her into his arms—and keep her there forever. Will time, and patience, bring them the courage to make their connection real?…


Wind River Protector (Wind River Series Book 8)

8. Wind River Protector (Wind River Series Book 8) by Lindsay McKenna

The new novel from the bestselling author of Home to Wind River.

Real love is worth every risk . . .

Ex-Air Force pilot Andy Whitcomb loves nothing more than the wide blue skies, but when a helicopter crash fighting forest fires in California leaves her injured and shaken, she’s ready to return home to the peace of Wind River Ranch. The good news is, there’s a chance for her to fly helos for the county sheriff’s department. The bad news? The person in charge is none other than Dev Mitchell, an ex-Army Black Hawk pilot—and the rugged, sharp-eyed man Andy has never forgotten after five days together running from the Taliban after a nerve-wracking near-miss in Afghanistan.

Dev can’t believe his eyes when Andy walks into the interview. She’s as strong and sexy as he remembers, and every bit qualified for the job, which she clearly wants. Unfortunately, if he’s going to be her boss, their relationship has to remain strictly professional—a regret Dev fights to keep hidden as they begin to work together. But when a chance encounter with violent drug traffickers forces them into survival mode, both of them will fight to hold on to the connection they can’t ignore—and the chance of a future together.


Wind River Undercover (Wind River Valley Book 9)

9. Wind River Undercover (Wind River Valley Book 9) by Lindsay McKenna

)The new novel from the bestselling author of Wind River Protector.

Hide in plain sight.

For native Guatemalan Anna Navaro, nothing is more satisfying than capturing drug traffickers for the  U.S. DEA. Her career has always been her focus, but just as she’s beginning to yearn for something more, she’s given a brand-new assignment with DEA agent Gabe Whitcomb. In his well-worn Stetson and boots, he’s part cowboy and part law enforcement, a combination Anna finds irresistibly sexy. But desire has no place on a job as dangerous as this one, because the drug lord they’re after is the violent fugitive who killed her father . . .

Gabe’s worked some treacherous assignments in the past, but this one raises every alarm—and not just because his partner is a gorgeous woman with the grace of a cat and a sniper’s deadly aim.  He and Anna are being sent to the Wind River Valley where he grew up—and where his adoptive parents still own a ranch just eighty miles from the Elson family, who have been recruited into the ruthless Gonzalez cartel.  Posing as new ranch-owners and ingratiating themselves with the Elsons to uncover evidence, Anna and Gabe can only fight the heat flaring between them until they realize that building a life together, here in Wind River, is worth risking everything for . . .


TRUE LOVE COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan

September 14, 2021

A McGrath Novel , Book 3

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ryan is known for her cowboy heroes, strong-willed heroines, and powerful love stories. Always page-turning, her western set romances are perfect for fans of Diana Palmer, BJ Daniels, and Linda Lael Miller.

Cowboys live by their word, their wits, and their loyalty.

Jon Crawford has returned to Montana, determined to take over his father’s ranch and raise his daughter in Big Sky Country, leaving the big-city life behind once and for all. He doesn’t have time to fall in love, but he doesn’t count on stubborn but beautiful Trinity McGrath, who arouses his protective instincts even as she tries to push him away.

Life hasn’t always been easy for Trinity, but now she has everything she needs—her family, friends, and a safe and secure life. With a business to build, Trinity doesn’t have time for romance…until Jon comes barging into her life and all her intentions are turned upside down! 

Still, an attraction like theirs is too powerful to deny, and sometimes true love comes along when you least expect it. But when someone from Jon’s past comes back with a vengeance, Trinity and Jon will have to do everything they can to save themselves and their new love…


Trinity has a successful small business and is trying to grow it. She had a terrible experience (in the previous book) and has PTSD which flares up from time to time. She meets Jon when he moves back to this small town. He is moving to his family ranch because he wants his daughter to grow up there. He had a very successful business in L.A., but realizes he needs to spend time with her. She’s only 4 and is the cutest part of the book for sure. Her mother, on the other hand, is a nightmare. Luckily, they are not (and have never been) married, but she is hopeful they will get back together. He is adamant that it will never happen.

The mom is an awful, selfish woman who does not take very good care of their daughter. Jon finds it frustrating, and is trying to make things work. They have shared custody, which helps, but he knows there are some serious issues going on and isn’t sure how to handle it all.

Trinity is making a delivery to Jon’s dad and that’s how they meet. When she doesn’t get a response to her knock, she goes in and finds him barely breathing on the floor. She struggles to get him out of the house and into her car, thinking it will be much faster for her to take him to the hospital than to wait for an ambulance that has to come from another town. When she finally gets him outside, Jon is there to help. He makes her a bit nervous, but eventually she figures out he is truly the son and a nice guy. In fact, he’s a very nice guy and he is immediately drawn to Trinity. She’s not so sure.

The more they see each other, the more they both realize they have something special. But dealing with the mom is very difficult, and things progressively get worse with her. Eventually, Jon and Trinity find their happily ever after with his daughter, and a happy ending is reached. But there is a lot of drama before they get there, and just a little bit of sex. I really loved these characters and realize I need to go back and read the last book. I did review Waiting on a Cowboy, the first book. Another excellent read from Jennifer Ryan!

9/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

TRUE LOVE COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan. Avon (August 24, 2021). ISBN:‎ 978-0063020801. 384 pages.

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NO IMPACT MAN by Colin Beavan

September 12, 2021

The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

What does it really take to live eco-effectively?

For one year, Colin Beavan swore off plastic and toxins, turned off his electricity, went organic, became a bicycle nut, and tried to save the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his young daughter and his Prada-wearing wife along for the ride. Together they attempted to make zero impact on the environment while living right in the heart of Manhattan, and this is the sensational, funny, and consciousness-raising story of how they did it.

With No Impact Man, Beavan found that no-impact living is worthwhile–and richer, fuller, and more satisfying in the bargain.


I read this book many years ago when it first came out, around 2009. I showed the documentary at the public library a few years ago when I worked there. I just re-read the book for a book discussion as part of the Social Impact series at Lynn University, and it struck me that it is as relevant today as it was more than a decade ago – maybe more so. It’s also more depressing to realize that nothing much has changed in all that time.

Colin Beavan described himself as “a liberal schlub who got tired of listening to himself complain about the world without ever actually doing anything about it.”  He decided to try a social experiment to try and make zero impact on the environment. It was not easy, to say the least. He dragged his “espresso-guzzling, retail-worshipping wife, Michelle, and their two year-old daughter…into the fray.”

Colin was very lucky. Michelle agreed to go along with it, and honestly, I think she changed more than anyone from this year. Their daughter was a lot like her mother; willing to go along, easily entertained, and remarkable agreeable for a toddler.

The plan was divided into six parts, and each part was gradually introduced and adopted.

1. Transport: Travel without creating any carbon emissions. Walk, ride a bike, take public transport, car-pool.  

2. Food: Buy organic, local, seasonal produce (with minimal packaging). Go vegetarian.

3. Energy: Reduce household energy use. Seven months in, they stopped using electricity at all.

4. Waste: Reduce waste by buying products with no, minimal or recyclable packaging. Food scraps go to the compost bin and the worm farm. No bottled water. No disposable diapers. No toilet paper.

5. Consumption: Buy nothing new. Shop at thrift stores or consignment shops or online like Freecycle (a Yahoo group where people advertised stuff they didn’t want anymore and gave it away.)

6. Positive impact: Get involved in and support projects that are making a positive impact. 

Oh, did I mention they lived in New York City? When he first started talking about this project, people generally responded by saying, “you need to move to the country.” Like living in a rural community makes a difference. By the end of this book, I was pretty convinced it couldn’t have worked anywhere but NYC.

They started with transport, which meant no cars, trains, planes, subways, buses, escalators and elevators. They lived on the 9th floor and used the stairs. Beavan’s office was on the 12th floor and he took the stairs. Michelle’s office was on the 34th floor. She took the elevator.

Michelle worked full time through this ordeal as a writer for Business Week. She enjoyed her air conditioned office and the elevator ride to get there. She was also a serious caffeine addict and by rights, should have given it up. To stick with the local only diet, that meant no coffee as it isn’t grown anywhere in NY. But eventually they caved on the coffee.

They switched to cloth diapers. They shopped for food at the farmer’s market and brought their own bags and muslin fabric to wrap food like cheese in, so no plastic wrap or anything that was prepackaged. Their entertainment was having friends over and playing charades. Oh, early on Michelle decided she was addicted to reality TV and insisted they get rid of the television.

Beavan’s writing style is humorous and fast paced. This may have been the longest year in his life, but it is a quick read. I found it very inspirational, albeit sad that global warming really hasn’t been addressed in a significant way, especially due to the last president and his administration. Biden is desperately trying to play catch up but it is not easy.

The documentary is available on various streaming services. I highly recommend either reading this book or watching the documentary. Both are worth your time.

9/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

NO IMPACT MAN by Colin Beavan. Picador; First edition (May 25, 2010). ISBN:‎ 978-0312429836. 288 pages.

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MEANT TO BE MY COWBOY by R. C. Ryan

September 11, 2021

Wranglers of Wyoming, Book 3

A woman on the run must trust her family’s sworn enemy in this thrilling tale by one of the best in cowboy romance.

The cowboy she can’t have . . . is the one she can’t resist.

Annie Dempsey has two rules for her new life in Devil’s Door, Wyoming: no romance and no drama. Fresh off a bad breakup, she’s already avoiding love. And as long as she steers clear of the Merrick clan—her family’s sworn enemies—avoiding drama won’t be a problem. But when a charming stranger steps in to protect Annie from a sudden threat, both her rules fly out the door. Because Annie’s mystery hero . . . is a Merrick.

Jonah Merrick won’t allow anyone—even a Dempsey—to be harmed on his watch. It doesn’t hurt that sweet, gorgeous Annie makes his heart beat like never before. Against his family’s objections, Jonah insists Annie hide out with him at his ranch while they try to outwit a dangerous pursuer. But as the days turn into weeks, Jonah realizes he’ll stop anyone who tries to harm Annie . . . or the loving future they’re building together.


This is the third book of the series, and I’m afraid this is the end. Jonah is the last Merrick brother still single. He loves living on the ranch with his family, but he also has his own space, a cabin where he writes his bestselling novels. He is surprised to see a woman hiking by his cabin, and informs her she is on private land. They get to talking and he is not surprised by his attraction to Annie – this is the woman who piqued his interest in the local bar but disappeared into the night. Now that she’s here, Jonah wants to get to know her.

Annie is actually running from a bad relationship and has no interest in starting another. Until she meets Jonah. She really likes him but when they find out each other’s last names, things take a sudden turn. Annie is a Dempsey, sworn enemies of the Merrick family. But Annie is in big trouble, and Jonah realizes he wants to help. She ends up moving in with the family and eventually, she wins them all over. But trouble keeps finding her.

This cowboy romance has enough suspense to keep the pages turning – I couldn’t put it down. Lots of family drama and a bit of steamy romance all combine to make this book a winner! Can’t wait to see what Ryan does next.

9/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

MEANT TO BE MY COWBOY by R. C. Ryan. Forever (August 24, 2021). ISBN:‎ 978-1538716908. 352 pages.

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THIS COWBOY OF MINE by R. C. Ryan

September 8, 2021

Wranglers of Wyoming, Book 2

New York Times bestselling author R.C. Ryan takes readers on a wild ride with a strong heroine who must trust the cowboy trying to save her life.

A cowboy with a wild side

Kirby Regan isn’t opposed living on the edge. After all, she just quit her career in Washington, D.C., so she could move back to Wyoming and buy her family’s ranch. But hiking the Tetons after dark during a snowstorm goes beyond being adventurous, especially when Kirby’s boss warns her that an escaped convict is at large. Sheltering in a cave seems the safest option to ride out the blizzard-until Kirby realizes it’s already occupied . . . by a ruggedly handsome cowboy.

Like the mustangs he treats, veterinarian and rancher Casey Merrick prefers to live wild and free, which is why a relationship is not in the cards for him. He doesn’t mind sharing his space with a gorgeous stranger, as long as they can both keep their distance-a task that begins to seem impossible as the attraction between them heats up. But before they can worry about the spark smoldering between them, Casey must find a way to protect Kirby from nature’s most ruthless conditions . . . and a convicted killer on the loose.


I love cowboy romances, and Ryan is one of my favorite authors. Yet somehow I missed this book last year and didn’t realize it until the third book came out (review to follow!)

Kirby Regan grew up on her uncle’s ranch in Wyoming, and eventually got a job with the Association of Land Management in Washington D.C. But her uncle has died, and her cousin wants to sell the ranch. Kirby manages to get a transfer to Wyoming with hopes of buying it from her cousin. Meanwhile, her first assignment is to go out into the Teton mountains and count the wild herd of horses.

Kirby realizes she’s in trouble when it starts snowing, and then finds out there is a manhunt going on for an escaped prisoner. She finds a cave to ride out the storm in, but is shocked to find it already occupied. Luckily, it wasn’t the prisoner hiding out but a local veterinarian and rancher, Casey Merrick. Once that is established, they decide to share the cave until the snowstorm blows over.

Casey loves being out in the wild but he likes it best by himself. But sharing it with the beautiful Kirby doesn’t feel like too much of a hardship. Eventually the snow stops and they dig out, but they still have to worry about a killer wandering these mountains.

Casey and Regan realize how much they enjoy spending time together and fall in love, but there is a lot of drama before they reach their happy ending. Ryan writes a really good romance with strong characters and a beautiful setting. If you haven’t seen Enchanted by the Mountains’ Ever-Changing Beauty: 45 Miles on the Teton Crest Trail in the NY Times, enjoy!

8/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THIS COWBOY OF MINE by R. C. Ryan. Forever (December 15, 2020). ISBN:‎ 978-1538716885. 432 pages.

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HITCHED TO THE GUNSLINGER by Michelle McLean

August 24, 2021

Gunslinger, Book 1

Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson is the fastest gun west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, he’s ready to hang up his hat. Sure, being notorious has its perks. But the nomadic lifestyle―and people always tryin’ to kill you―gets old real fast.

Now he just wants to find a place to retire so he can spend his days the way the good Lord intended. Staring at the sunset. And napping.

When his stubborn horse drags him into a hole-in-the-wall town called Desolation, something about the place calls to Gray, and he figures he might actually have a shot at a sleepy retirement.

His optimism lasts about a minute and a half.

Soon he finds himself embroiled in a town vendetta and married to a woman named Mercy. Who, judging by her aggravating personality, doesn’t know the meaning of her own name. In fact, she’s downright impossible.

But dang it if his wife isn’t irresistible. If only she’d stop trying to steal his guns to go after the bad guys herself.

There goes his peace and quiet…


This was a very different read for me. It’s an historical cowboy romance, and I really loved it!

Gray is a gunslinger who has the reputation of being unstoppable, with a trail of dead bodies behind him to prove it. Turns out he “accidentally” got into it when he was defending himself. He learned to shoot as a child, and is quite skilled, but he is really tired of people trying to kill him just for the prestige of it.

Gray ends up in the little town of Desolation, where he meets Mercy. She offers him a place to sleep and meals if he will help her with one of her neighbors. It seems the man is trying every which way to get his hands on the property she just inherited when her father passed away. He tries proposing, threatening, offering money, but she doesn’t want to sell. Gray agrees to basically be her bodyguard, but when push comes to shove, Mercy blurts out that he is her fiancé, and the fake romance takes off.

Gray is a bit of a curmudgeon, and all he is really interested in is food and napping, but Mercy is a terrible cook and his naps keep getting interrupted. When he ends up shooting the gun out Mercy’s nemesis’s hand, the whole town is intrigued. But the sheriff is scared and takes off in the middle of the night. Gray is offered the position, which he finds hilarious as he’s always been on the wrong side of the law but eventually he takes it. And he soon learns what it means to be accepted, by a woman and a town.

Mercy and Gray marry, and he soon learns that caring about people may be dangerous to his health. Things come to a head with a shootout in the streets and of course, the happy ending. This was a really fun read, a hot romance, and I couldn’t put it down. Really looking forward to the next book in this series!

8/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

HITCHED TO THE GUNSLINGER by Michelle McLean. Entangled: Amara (August 24, 2021). ISBN: 978-1649370228. 1330 pages.

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SECOND CHANCE AT SUNFLOWER RANCH by Carolyn Brown

July 27, 2021

The Ryan Family, Book 1

From the publisher:

From the bestselling author of Queen of Cowboy: regrets and old heartbreaks are unearthed in this sweeping love story as hometown sweethearts get a second chance at love—and being a family.

Retired combat medic Jesse Ryan hasn’t been home much since he enlisted twenty years ago. Now he’s headed back to Texas to help take care of his aging foster parents and run Sunflower ranch. But when he gets there, he finds his parents’ live-in nurse is Addison Hall, his high school best friend and the woman he always regretted leaving behind after their one steamy night together before he shipped out. He’s not at all surprised that their chemistry is still sparking, but Jesse is shocked to learn Addy gave birth to a little girl about nine months after he left—his little girl.

​Addy has her hands full as a single mom of a nineteen-year-old daughter who suddenly wants to rebel at everything. The last thing she needs is Jesse Ryan complicating her life even further, especially since she’s always had a crush on the handsome cowboy. But the more time she spends with Jesse, the more she wonders what might happen if they finally let their friendship blossom into something more and became the family she’d always hoped for. 

Includes the bonus novella Small Town Charm for the first time in print!


Brown writes several different series, but I especially enjoy her cowboy romances. In this story, the romance is centered around Jesse, a cowboy that enlisted and served in the Air Force. Twenty years in and he’s retiring, just in time to come home and help his aging parents with the family ranch. Addy was his best friend growing up, and they finally spent the night together his last night at home before leaving for the service. Addy never told him that she got pregnant that night.

When he returns home it’s to find Addy and her 19 year old daughter living on the ranch. Addy is a nurse, and after Jesse’s dad had a couple of strokes, they asked her to stay on so he would have a nurse nearby. She also helps out on the ranch along with her daughter, who also works there.

It doesn’t take Jesse long to do the math and figure out who the baby daddy is. But it takes a lot longer to rekindle the romance with Addy. There is a lot of family drama before Jesse and Addy get their happy ending. But the journey to get there is fun, and at times, emotional. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to the next Ryan Family book.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

SECOND CHANCE AT SUNFLOWER RANCH by Carolyn Brown. Forever (July 27, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538735619. 400 pages.

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A COWBOY STATE OF MIND by Jennie Marts

June 27, 2021

A Single Dad, a Woman Grieving, and a Beautiful Contemporary Western Romance

Creedence Horse Rescue, Book 1

From the publisher:

A brand-new series of sweet, small town cowboy romance from USA Today bestselling author Jennie Marts. The Horse Whisperer meets Hope Floats when bubbly Bryn Callahan and brooding Zane Taylor protect an unwanted horse and end up with an animal rescue operation that they can only handle when they rely on each other.

Scarred and battered loner Zane Taylor has a gift with animals, particularly horses, but he’s at a total loss when it comes to knowing how to handle women. Even though he’s sworn off love, he can’t seem to stay away from Bryn Callahan. He’s known for being a horse whisperer, but can’t seem to find his voice at all where Bryn is concerned.

Bryn Callahan has a heart for strays, but she is through trying to save damaged men. She vows to only date nice guys, which is a category that does not include Zane Taylor. Too bad he’s the only one who sets her pulse racing every time she’s around him.

Starting a horse rescue ranch wasn’t in Bryn’s plan, but try telling that to the assembly of abandoned animals that have found their way to her doorstep. And when a chance encounter with a horse headed for slaughter brings Zane and Bryn together, they find themselves given a chance to save not just the horse, but maybe each other…


I recently read the second book in this series, (When A Cowboy Loves a Woman) and I liked it so much that I sought out this one, the first. And I think this was even better!

Zane is so damaged that Bryn is warned off him repeatedly, but she is a compassionate woman, and she sees the good in him, plus they have chemistry that burns. The heart wants what the heart wants, and even though on paper the local vet is a better choice for her, they have no spark at all.

Bryn is a waitress in this small town, but she lives on the ranch she inherited from her grandpa. So when she sees an obviously abused horse in a trailer outside the diner, she wants to rescue it from the cowboys who tell her the horse is headed for the glue factory (if there was such a place.) Zane comes to the rescue by leaving her a $100 tip so she can buy the animal, then he helps her get it home and take care of it. As soon as word gets out about the rescue, they are sent on a hunt for another abused, abandoned horse which they also bring back to the ranch. Pretty soon the menagerie includes a hog that was a household pet as it was sold to them as a potbellied pig. Then a pair of lovebirds make their way into the house, and an abandoned pregnant dog who soon gives birth to a bunch of puppies. Bryn can’t really afford to feed and care for all these animals, but she has friends in this small town. Soon there are collection jars all over town and a webpage with crowdsourcing funding and the money is pouring in.

Meanwhile Zane is pushing her away as she burrows under his skin. He knows he is wrong for her despite his heart telling him otherwise. He has been abused all his life by his father after being told he killed his mother during childbirth. The man has issues, not to mention some nasty scarring from the abuse he suffered. But Bryn is determined to get her man, despite all the roadblocks he is constantly putting up.

I really loved that this cowboy was a sort of “horse whisperer;” it seems like so many cowboy romances gloss over what cowboys do and I liked that there was some focus on that here. There are some really funny moments and I cried a time or two as well, so it is safe to say that this is a very emotional read, and really good romance. I can’t wait for the next book in this series, but while I’m waiting, Marts has a couple of other series I will be looking for.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

A COWBOY STATE OF MIND by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 30, 2020). ISBN: 978-1492689119. 416 pages.

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WHEN A COWBOY LOVES A WOMAN by Jennie Marts

June 19, 2021

A Single Dad, a Woman Grieving, and a Beautiful Contemporary Western Romance

Creedence Horse Rescue, Book 2

From the publisher:

“I don’t think I could stay away from you if I tried.”
He shook his head.
“And I have been trying. I told myself not to go to your house tonight.
I ordered my hand not to hold yours.
But apparently I can’t control myself when it comes to you, Elle Brooks.”

When a kitchen fire forces young widow Elle Brooks to move in with her friend Bryn and her motley collection of rescue animals, she doesn’t foresee ending up in the muscled arms of handsome cowboy and veterinarian Brody Tate. Spending time with the hunky cowboy and his adorable young daughter as they rehabilitate rescued horses reminds Elle of all she lost in a car crash years ago.

Brody is devoted to being a good dad for his spirited daughter. He hasn’t let romance even enter his head. But now he’s met Elle. Spending time with her is shaking up the calm he’s worked so hard to achieve, and he can’t seem to get this woman off his mind.


This author was new to me and as usual, I missed the first book in this series. But this book stood alone beautifully; I wouldn’t have known I missed anything.

Brody is a vet and a volunteer fireman, not to mention a widower for several years and the dad of a sweet young daughter. He’s visiting a friend when he spots a fire across the street. He saves Bryn from her kitchen fire, and their attraction is palpable. Bryn is a young widow, and neither of them are looking for a relationship, but the attraction is too big to deny.

In addition to being a vet, Brody also runs an animal rehab. (I think he may walk on water in his spare time.) I couldn’t help rooting for this couple to get past all their hurdles and get together. This is a sweet romance, not as sad as it may sound being they both lost their spouses. There is some humor as well. All in all, this book was a good read, good enough for me to go find the first book in the series, A Cowboy State of Mind. I found the ebook on Hoopla, courtesy of my library.

If you like cowboys and animals as much as I do, you will enjoy this romance!

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WHEN A COWBOY LOVES A WOMAN by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 30, 2021) Amara (March 9, 2021). ISBN: 978-1492689140. 336 pages.

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