Desert Isle Keeper
When a Cowboy Loves a Woman
PTSD and a slow-burning romance collide in When a Cowboy Loves a Woman, the lovely and gently-moving story of two people who lost their previous partners in traumatic way falling in love with someone brand new.
Elle Brooks is a mainstay of the Heaven Can Wait Horse Rescue team, and after the too-recent passing of her husband, the last thing she needs is yet another complication in her life. Cue a house fire, her running into the bedroom to save a precious blanket…and Brody Tate arriving to make sure she’s safe and carrying her right out of the house over his shoulder.
Brody, his daughter, and his Aunt Sassy are neighbors of Elle’s, and have tried to make friends with her in the wake of her husband’s death, but Elle’s been deep in mourning for months. Brody understands; he’s a widower, too, raising ten-year-old Mandy alone for the past five years, and running Heaven Can Wait by himself with only the help of a few close friends. He’s resistant to the fact that his daughter is growing up, as well as to the notion of changing his lifestyle to encompass a new partner.
Over rehabbed horses and swimming holes, dog adoptions and unexpected fires, Brody and Elle begin to fall in love. But they have differing opinions about how Mandy should be raised, and Elle has to do a lot of letting go before she can accept the notion of loving again – and likewise for Brody.
When a Cowboy Loves a Woman is a simple, beautiful romance about two people who have to open their hearts up to new love. It’s tender and warm and sweet, and is wise about the rehabilitation of horses to boot.
Elle is funny and sharp and good with horses, and she’s not just a stereotypical widow type. Meanwhile, Brody’s your typical dad trying to bring up his daughter and run a ranch, and Elle is a whole new experience for him, in that she’s far more free-spirited than what he’s used to having in his life. Their romance is refreshingly realistic and ordinary – created from little nurturing moments and great big gestures.
My favorite supporting character ended up being the pink-favoring Aunt Sassy, who is hilarious in her very own way. Mandy is a fairly decently-written child, not too naïve, with the right tone of rebelliousness.
The book does quite well setting the atmosphere, making you feel the warm press of the wind, and hear the rustle of the prairie grass. I also have to give credit to the author for her accurate portrayal of PTSD; Brody’s wife died in a car accident, and he is forced to confront his anxiety about cars and driving at several points in the story.
The end result is an excellent romance with a wonderful message about how life and love don’t stop just because you’ve gotten older or lost your first chance. When a Cowboy Loves a Woman is a sweet-hearted slow mover, and it just might wrap you up in its spell.