Her Kind of Cowboy
If you’re interested in a bout of contemporary romance escapism, Her Kind of Cowboy certainly fits the bill. This is the second book in Dylann Crush’s Tying the Knot in Texas series, and it involves a large wedding, penguins, and hot Texas weather. Three things that are pretty distant from my life right now!
Alex Sanders has spent the last eight years globe-trotting and basically avoiding all responsibility. Emotionally scarred by watching his father give up his dreams of a bright future when Alex’s mother ran out, he’s so afraid of being boxed in that he doesn’t even stick to a particular career path, let alone a person. When the book opens Alex is working as a research assistant in Antarctica, doing grunt work for the scientists studying penguins. He gets a call from his sister Charlene, who is living in Texas and clearly at her breaking point dealing with four daughters and their aging grandfather. While Alex knew Charlene was struggling, her desperation makes it clear that his time as a nomad is up, and he agrees to return to Texas and help out.
As he’s preparing to leave the research station, Alex gets wind of a penguin-related job opportunity in Texas. It seems that there is a millionaire’s daughter who wants to have trained penguins at her wedding, and her father is willing to foot the bill. The Houston aquarium will be redoing its penguin exhibit, so if Alex can secure a temporary habitat for the penguins, he could get a job training and caring for them before the wedding. It’s an improbable opportunity, but having spent the last few months studying penguins and having worked at an aquarium in the past, Alex feels qualified to jump in.
To say that things don’t go smoothly for Alex on his return home would be an understatement. He’s ill-prepared for the drama of a house with four girls, or for the attitude of his stubborn grandfather, who refuses to live in an assisted-living community. The one thing he does well is find a place for the penguins to stay – a warehouse at the back of a beautiful estate in Ido, Texas. Ido has recently been making a name for itself as a wedding destination, and the estate is the perfect place for the big wedding. The town’s mayor, Lacey, is fully on board with Alex’s plans, but assigns her friend Zina to help Alex with the preparations while Lacey is on bed rest.
When not pitching in on event planning, Zina runs a dog shelter focused on pitbulls, called For Pitties’ Sake. She and Alex hit it off immediately, which is fortunate since Alex falls through her shelter’s roof in an attempt at fixing a leak for her, forcing Zina and her pitbulls to move into the warehouse space along with Alex’s penguins while the shelter is repaired. Amidst the chaos of animals, family, and wedding preparations, Zina and Alex somehow find the time to explore the sparks flying between them and start building a relationship.
My favorite character here is easily Zina. Though burdened by many commitments – including the shelter, the wedding, and monitoring her brother’s recovery from PTSD – Zina keeps her cool and just does what’s needed. She’s the calm eye of the storm, a well-balanced woman who is clearly ready for a serious relationship. Although her shelter is struggling with an abundance of dogs and a leaky roof at the start of the book, she’s more than capable of handling those issues.
Alex, on the other hand… I had very mixed feelings about. My biggest problem with him is the way he returns to Texas and assumes he knows how to run things. He makes one mistake after another, from destroying his niece’s school project, to overpromising to the wedding planner, to wrecking the roof of Zina’s shelter. While he’s a nice guy, I felt like he had some growing up to do before he was ready to be with a woman like Zina. He may get there in the end, but for most of the book Zina is way out of Alex’s league.
Before you start Her Kind of Cowboy, I would check your ability to suspend disbelief, as the parade of animals through the story makes it seem as though it’s set in a zoo! However if you’re looking for a little escapism to cheer you up, I think this book might be just what you need. While not all the characters are perfect, they’re a fun bunch and the book is worth a read.