Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cowboy Trouble - Joanne Kennedy (Sourcebooks Casablanca - Mar 2010)

Series: Cowboy (Book 1)

Fleeing her latest love life disaster, big city journalist Libby Brown's transition to rural living isn't going exactly as planned. Her childhood dream has always been to own a chicken farm, but without the constant help of her charming, sexy, cowboy neighbor, she'd never have made it through her first Wyoming season.

Handsome rancher Luke Rawlins is impressed by this sassy, independent city girl. But he yearns to do more than help Libby out with her ranch--he's ready for love, and he wants to go the distance. When the two get embroiled in their tiny town's one and only crime story, Libby discovers that their sizzling hot attraction is going to complicate her life in every way possible.

Good book. It started off really well. Libby has come to Wyoming to start over after a series of personal disasters. Her dog died, her boyfriend was cheating on her with her boss, and she lost her job. So she decided to follow a childhood dream and become a chicken farmer, She's just arrived at her new place when her nearest neighbor shows up to introduce himself. Luke is good looking, laid back, and quite taken with his new neighbor. He's glad to help her out with whatever she needs, and hopes that it will help him get even closer. 

Then Libby sets out to use her other skills, those of an investigative reporter. The small town is relatively crime free, except for the two year old case of a missing young woman. This is something she can sink her teeth into, and she dives right in to asking questions. When those questions draw some unwanted attention, Libby knows she's on the right track. But the more information she finds out, the more difficult it is to figure out who the culprit is. To make matters worse, she now has two men trying to protect her, when she just wants to stand on her own.

Luke really wants to get to know Libby better. He was pretty cute when he showed up to welcome her with a casserole and all. He's so taken with her that he just can't help doing anything he can to spend time with her. Libby is much more wary. She's been burned badly by her previous relationship and is pretty bitter about men in general. She insists that she doesn't want a relationship, but she is definitely attracted to him. She spends a lot of time trying to keep him at arm's length. 

I really liked Luke. He was sweet and thoughtful and protective. He listened to what Libby said and tried to do what was best. I loved when he brought her the dog for protection. He is also absolutely wonderful with his parents, especially his mom. He is also loyal to his friends, and protective of those he thinks need it. I liked how steady he was throughout the book.

I had a much harder time liking Libby. I understood her bitterness and wariness when it came to relationships. She had a soft heart, which really came out with the puppies. But for an investigative reporter, she flip flopped all over the place. I really didn't like the way that she was so easily led/manipulated by others' opinions. She really made me mad toward the end of the book when she actually spent time believing the worst about Luke, in spite of the fact that she loved him. She did redeem herself somewhat when she listened to her heart rather than her head. I liked seeing them come together at the end, with Luke's protectiveness showing again, but also his desire to do what would make Libby happy.

The mystery of the missing woman was fairly interesting. It wasn't overly intense, but it did keep me reading to see how it finally ended. I figured out who it was pretty early on, but the details weren't as clear. There was a little bit of a surprise twist in the identity of Libby's rescuer at the end.

Several of the secondary characters were especially well done. Crazy Mike was an interesting character. I really enjoyed Libby's interview with him about his taxidermy as it showed a different side to him. There were times when he seemed really sweet and harmless, and others when he was really creepy and scary. Another one was the sheriff. He has had this missing woman case for two years and doesn't seem all that intent on solving it. He's a good looking guy who knows it, and expects women to fall all over him. There were times I found him really obnoxious and wondered about Libby's intelligence when she was with him. I really didn't like his attitude about Mike and Luke. I loved the dogs, from giant Ivan to Penny and her puppies. Each of them had a distinct personality.

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