Just a Cowboy and His Baby
Around Christmas time, I always get baby-itis, or maybe I should say children-itis. I tend to pick books that either mention progenies in the title or on the cover – you know, the whole happy family thing, which can lead to poor choices for me. Since the baby, the only reason I picked this story, didn’t show up until the later portion of the book, it is not surprising that I am just now finishing it.
Gemma O’Donnell is determined to be the second woman to win the ProRodeo buckle for bronc riding. While she is motivated some by the glory of winning, she also has big plans for the money. Even though she loves her beauty shop in Ringgold, Texas, she would love to buy some land and start her own ranching operation. She is doing quite well in the PRCA Million Dollar Rodeo Tour, but she doesn’t have it tied up yet. Her biggest competition is Trace Coleman, a fellow Texan from Goodnight, Texas. She just wished that her heart didn’t go thump when he gets close. Of course he might think that his supermacho, potent sexuality is going to put her off her stride, but he is dead wrong.
Trace also has big plans for the big jackpot. He has worked for his Uncle Teamer for ten years, and although Teamer has offered to sign over his ranch free and clear, Trace doesn’t want it given to him. He wants to pay for it fair and square. This is third attempt at winning the elusive title, but he hopes that the old adage of “third time a charm” holds true. So no matter how great the temptation, he can’t let a sassy, Irish beauty like Gemma derail him from winning.
In trying to rack up points, Gemma and Trace discover they are competing in the same events. Soon it just makes sense to travel together in a caravan, since they tend to park their trailers at the same campgrounds. Of course one thing leads to another, and soon they are spending hot nights together. But can their relationship survive the rodeo competition?
While I lived in a small Western town when I was young, with labeled donation jars out on counters as a way to vote for rodeo queen, it has been a very long time since then. I have to be upfront, and say that I just don’t share a passion for the sport of riding four legged animals that buck. And that in and of itself made it difficult to identify with the hero or heroine.
However the main reason I put the book down was the lust thoughts. It seem that on every page or two there was a reference to thought of each other’s attractiveness, or desire for the other, although, once Trace and Gemma do the deed, the story does pick up.
The book is also cutesy, but in a way that reminded me of a western sitcom using caricature portrayals for laughs. Trace meets Emma at the door with his cowboy boots on, and his hat covering his family jewels. Endearments of “darlin’” and “cowboy” are freely interspersed within the story. Then there is Trace’s cute Chihuahua dog, plus the week spent with at-risk boys and girls at a dude ranch. All admirable plot devices but they didn’t seem especially heartwarming or funny. The plot device involving the baby, especially the mother’s actions, just seemed absurd and silly.
If you are a fan of the whole rodeo mystique then you might enjoy this book more than I did. Otherwise, I recommend giving it a pass.