The Last Real Cowboy
Grade : B

The Last Real Cowboy is the third book in Caitlin Crews' Cold River Ranch series, set in Cold River, Colorado. It’s a best friend’s sibling trope romance with two of the local ranching families, the Everetts (of Cold River Ranch) and the Kittredges (of Kittredge Ranch) center stage while Brady Everett discovers that Amanda Kittredge isn’t a teenager anymore.

At twenty-two, Amanda Kittredge is all grown up and desperate to get out from under the thumb of her older brothers Zack, Riley and Jensen. She also wishes that Riley’s best friend Brady would notice her, and not just think of her as Riley’s little sister. She’s been noticing him ever since she was a teenager but he continues to treat her as if she’s still in high school. In fact, he tends to lump her in with his niece Becca who is sixteen. Well, she’s had enough, and to prove it, she decides to move out of the ranch and take an evening job at the Coyote, the seedier of the two bars in town. She already works at a coffee shop full time, and she’s been saving money so that she can move out. And she’s rented the apartment above the Coyote too. Her brothers are furious but unable to do anything about it.

No-one is more stunned to see Amanda tending bar at the Coyote than Brady. The bar is his hideout from his two brothers, Gray and Ty, with whom he has inherited the ranch after his emotionally abusive father died the previous year. It’s not that he doesn’t get along with his brothers most of the time, just that they have different ideas about what to do with the ranch and Brady, who’d spent the last several years as a businessman in Denver, has struggled with bad memories during the time he’s been back. The Coyote is where Brady usually picks up women (sometimes even the bartenders themselves) but the last thing he expects is to see is Amanda, dressed up like a hot bartender (because she is in fact a hot bartender) and his world gets turned upside down.

Things get more complicated when Riley expects Brady to keep an eye on Amanda and warn off any men that might approach her at the Coyote, while Amanda, seeing that Brady is finally aware of her as a woman, takes this opportunity to convince him that he should be the one to teach her about sex, since with all her protective older brothers she’s never gotten the chance to even date anyone. And Brady, despite the knowledge that he’s betraying Riley’s faith in him, can’t resist Amanda, leading to a secret, passionate affair. But he’s not planning to stick around and he knows Amanda deserves better than him and that once he’s gone, she’ll find the right person to be with. But what if he decides not to leave?

This story delivered pretty much what I expected. Cold River is a stereotypical small town in the American west, The Last Real Cowboy is a stereotypical cowboy romance featuring the expected ‘brothers are going to be mad that their friend is interested in their younger sister’ trope. I liked Brady and Amanda as characters and while Amanda’s story arc is straightforward (her rebellion, getting Brady to notice her, aiming for an HEA), Brady goes through more of an emotional upheaval while dealing with his past, his poor relationship with his now deceased father and how it’s still impacting him. I appreciated the way Amanda sticks up for Brady, not just against her brothers (to be expected) but also against Brady’s family who she rightly calls out for how they’ve mistreated him. Interestingly. while things are hot and heavy for Brady and Amanda for the first two thirds of the story, the last section is where there is less focus on sex and more on the relationship, leading to their eventual happy ending. This is the end of the Cold River Ranch series and leads into the Kittredge Ranch series, where Amanda’s brothers will get their own headaches as they deal with their own love lives. The Last Real Cowboy is an enjoyable read with no big surprises, and there are good odds I’ll read more about these two families.

Reviewed by Maria Rose
Grade : B

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : October 23, 2023

Publication Date: 01/2020

Recent Comments …

  1. “What follows next is the Forced Seduction scene. Sigh! I had heard these were popular in romance novels written in…

Maria Rose

I'm a biochemist and a married mother of two. Reading has been my hobby since grade school, and I've been a fan of the romance genre since I was a teenager. Sharing my love of good books by writing reviews is a recent passion of mine, but one which is richly rewarding.
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