Desert Isle Keeper
The Cowboy Says I Do
There are a handful of authors who can write really charming contemporary romances and make me laugh effortlessly. Sarah Title is one of them. Jackie Lau is another. Add Dylann Crush to the mix. Her The Cowboy Says I Do is funny, fresh, and delightful.
Lacey Cherish has inherited one doozy of a problem. Her father was removed from the office of mayor in a hail of scandalous revelations (and had, in fact, been arrested), and she ran for the office in order to restore the family name and capture the seat. Lacey is now the new mayor of Idont, Texas, but it’s no victory march; the city is saddled with major debt and is in deep competition with the neighboring town of Swynton, whose new mayor, Buck Little, has turned his economy around with lots of cheap construction jobs. Worse, with Idont’s warehouse shuttered and its importing business subsequently closed, their economy’s undergoing a crush, and Mayorship does not pay a lot in Idont. Lacey still has her day job at the Burger Barn.
Sheriff Bodie Phillips is both one of Lacey’s best and oldest friends and her bodyguard, and he’s the one who’s trying to help her keep her priorities straight while maintaining law and order. When Lacey suggests that they try to turn Idont into the wedding capital of Texas and bring in lots of revenue from brides looking to book destination weddings, he thinks it’s all horsefeathers. He doesn’t have the time to help her with this when he’s got a city to keep his eye on – his father and grandfather own that big warehouse that employed so much of the townsfolk and shuttered it without explaining why. Worse, there’s someone mysteriously abandoning dogs within the city limits, making life difficult for Idonts local dog rescue. But Lacey has always been Bodie’s weak spot, and soon he finds himself helping her shop for dresses.
Lacey and Bodie have always been attracted to one another, but the whole wedding thing is starting to put things in a new perspective for them. But with him being her big brother’s best friend and his family’s shady behavior over the town’s finances, can she truly convince him to say “I Do?” for a fake ceremony?
Better believe it, and the ride there is super fun as well. The Cowboy Says I Do works for many reasons, and characterisation and romantic chemistry are just the half of it.
Lacey and Bodie are wonderful together, steamy but funny and awkward (there’s a long running gag where he keeps tossing unintentional innuendos at her that works because he’s absolutely not trying to pick her up). The courtship is perfectly tropey – bedsharing! Feuding families! Work colleagues thrown together! Surprise/fake engagements! – but they come off as unique characters with distinct personalities.
And they’re a great friends-to-lovers couple, not losing an iota of their spark along the way. The banter is great when they’re fighting or working together – such as when they meet up with a magazine writer who’s writing about their ‘engagement’ and Bodie plies her with embarrassing but untrue personal stories about their lives to get revenge on Lacey for springing the fake engagement on him. But their romance is also easy to believe, and the way they support one another toward their differing goals is touching.
The book’s minor characters are so much fun. I liked irascible Helmet, Lacey’s boss, Bodie’s shitkicking father, and Zina, Lacey’s no-nonsense best friend (who’s slated to be the next heroine in the series.) There’s also the pitbull that Bodie fosters, Shotgun, who is properly pit-like without coming off as a cute dog that exists for the sake of a cute dog being there.
I didn’t really detect any further flaws in the book, and you should all know how serious I am with my As on this website. Ergo, The Cowboy Says I Do gets my highest recommendation.