More Than a Cowboy
I love Sarah Mayberry and I leapt at the chance to review her latest, More than a Cowboy. Unfortunately, as often happens when you leap before you look, you end up with a rough landing.
Helicopter pilot Sierra Carmody fills in for her friend as the private pilot for the Tate family despite the fact that the Tates and the Carmodys have a history; Sierra’s parents died after colliding head-on with Papa Tate (Gideon)’s vehicle. Gideon Tate has had a stroke, and his son Garret (the initials are very confusing here) reluctantly takes over his business while Gideon recovers. Of COURSE Garret can’t have an affair with an employee! But he and Sierra just can’t stay apart.
Sierra and Garret don’t have insta-lust precisely – lust is the wrong word – but insta-attraction, and unfortunately, that’s pretty much all the relationship development we get. Eventually, Garret breaks his no-sleeping-with-employees rule without anybody ever thinking about how Sierra is only filling in for six weeks, and since the book needs to be longer, he then has to decide that he has to cast Sierra aside because it would be best for her, making the book feel like buy-one-get-one free for shallow separation devices.
The recurring characters are annoying revisitations, and I laughed – not in a good way – when Sierra’s sister-in-law Eva recapped, “You think I planned on falling for your brother when I came to town to try to win the grain elevator contract? You think CJ thought it would be a great idea to fall for Jesse at her very first professional rodeo?” It’s too heavy-handed. Add in the fact that way too much of this book is dedicated to setting up Sierra’s brother Jesse and his reunion with the-one-that-got-away Mae, and a book that already had too little romance just keeps skidding.
I didn’t like the fact that Garret was dragged in to take over the business over a perfectly qualified general manager because “this was a privately-run, family-owned business.” It’s not! It’s Gideon’s, and Garret runs a boutique coffee importer in Seattle and knows zilch about trucking! But then the author throws in a curve with some accounting shenanigans and I found myself quite curious about how that was going to go. Unlike many generic business settings and legal thrillers, this book has real detail about things like forensic accounting, warrants, audits, and the politics of the transport business. Unfortunately, ‘I want to read about forensic accounting’ is usually low on my list of ‘reasons to pick up a romance novel’, but I was glad to get something.
Please don’t let this review turn you off of the generally-marvelous Ms. Mayberry, whose Her Favorite Rival received a DIK from me just last January. I hope this book remains uncharacteristic and her future work returns to form.