Desert Isle Keeper
The Wrong Cowboy
Sometimes, you just want to read sweet. There are wonderful, wonderful books that are epics, with dramatic storylines and dark villainy, but honestly? I get tired of it. When I’m stressed or exhausted, or have had my sister’s babies in my care for just a moment too long, I want something cute and sweet. I want fluff. And The Wrong Cowboy delivered in the best of ways – we have humor and great characters and sweetness and some absolutely wonderful UST (unresolved sexual tension) that all works out wonderfully in the end.
Stafford Burleson and Mick Wagner have been partners for years, jointly running the Dakota Cattle Company and their ranch lands together, and making a success of the whole thing. When Mick heads down Mexico way to look at a certain brand of cattle, the last thing Stafford expects is for one Miss Hall to show up at the nearby town, claiming to be Mick’s mail-order bride. Adding in the 6 children she was traveling with takes the situation from strange to downright ridiculous.
But while Marie Hall is not Mick’s bride, the 6 kids now belong to him – his cousin and her husband left their children in his care as their closest relative. As their nursemaid Marie, knowing full well the horrors and despair that can be found in an orphanage, decides she will bring the whole group across the country to their new guardian. All of her training in childcare could not prepare her for life in the territories, but Marie is nothing if not determined. She will make sure these kids get to stay together in a home that’s theirs. Even if she can’t cook. And accidentally burns down Mick’s cabin. And almost gets bitten in the bottom by a snake. And…and…and….
Oh, so many ands. It may have started off a little slow, but Marie and Stafford’s story was exactly what I wanted. I wasn’t sure about Stafford to begin with – he was, quite frankly, being a bit of an ass to both Marie and the kids – but we get so much from his point of view, and a good bit about his history, that I very quickly went from “no way” to “yes, please” about him. His family history has made him almost militant about his privacy – it’s no wonder he was more than a little hesitant to let half a dozen children and their rather attractive young nursemaid into his life and his house. Though he really doesn’t have much of a choice when Marie literally burns Mick’s one-room cabin down around their ears. She really is my favorite kind of heroine – she is determined to make things work, and really puts forth a good effort. She definitely is human, though, and we get to see her work through her failures and try again. Plus, she’s the one who sets both the stage and the limits of their relationship (and this is particularly wonderful in the end – seriously, just read it, because I can’t give away the last 10 pages!)
Even the kids, who are mainly in the background for much of the story, were adorable. With 6 of them, I’m still not sure who is who (other than Terrence is the oldest and I know there are two girls. That’s about it), but it didn’t really detract much from my enjoyment of the story. They were there to push the plot along and move Stafford and Marie closer together. And they were quite good in their role.
The story overall was pretty tight – we have our A plot (Stafford and Marie working past their initial impressions and falling for each other) and our B plot (making sure the kids get to stay together and have a proper home), and both plots work out. And, not to give too much away, I really liked how the B plot had a proper villain and external motivators – and how Marie and Stafford join forces to make sure that those adorable kids get what they deserve – a loving and stable home.
Can we make this a series? Because I could stand to read more like this.