Reid doesn’t like his father—but then his dad is no big fan of his either. They have a mutual dislike fueled by his father’s bigotry and greed and Reid’s desire to live an honest life, out and proud and free of his parents’ money. So when he is told that the grandfather he never really was allowed to know has left him a horse ranch and the only catch to selling it for the profit is to live there for three months, Reid packs his bags and heads out to do just that. Intent on doing his stint and selling, Reid discovers not just a close knit group that adored his grandfather and welcomes him like one of the family, but that his own profound fear of horses will be challenged. He quickly becomes a part of the routine on the ranch thanks to its manager, Walker Corrigan.
Walker is an easy going man who loves the ranch and is determined to make Reid see its value. He’s also one to guard his heart and, as Reid is an outrageous flirt and easy on the eyes, that proves more difficult than he first imagined. Before long the two men are fighting off a strong desire to be more than just friends, but little do they expect that in the midst of getting to know each other a mysterious series of escalating and dangerous events will threaten to tear them apart.
A.D. Ellis offers up pure romance mixed with just a bit of mystery with the release of His Reluctant Cowboy. I’m going to begin this review by stating that you are going to need to check any desire you might have for a dose of reality with your love story at the door for this one. This book is unadulterated romantic fiction—if you don’t like instalove, then move on. If you don’t like easy fixes and neatly wrapped up problems with little to no real explanation, then this one is not for you. But it is undeniable that this novel is well written and its characters are very likeable. There’s no real angst and there is a ton of sweet talking—and it is sometimes a bit over the top. While I wouldn’t enjoy a steady diet of this type of novel, it is the perfect book for those just wanting to escape into a love story with two guys who seem to be total opposites, but work well together despite that.
Walker seems to be years older than his actual age with a grace and maturity that I found very appealing. Reid was sarcastic, flirty, and a bit much, but once he settled on the ranch, I found that I enjoyed him as well. There was no great plot twist since we pretty much were told right away who they suspected of doing the nasty deeds that threatened both livestock and eventually the people on the ranch. You really have to check any notion of seeing this plot expand or become involved as Reid’s father is almost a caricature of the old fashioned, mustache twirling bad guy seen in most dated western movies. Were there plot holes? Most assuredly. Did I really care? Not really, because if you are invested in Reid and Walker at all, you are likely going be willing to overlook a raft of minor problems that normally would have me shaking my head in disbelief. But that goes down to how the author decided to just create a love story first and build the rest of the story around it. While there was no great angst or relationship threatening drama, there was still a bit of urgency surrounding how to keep the ranch from being slowly destroyed by acts of malice or rumors of mismanagement. Between that and both men making some choices that changed the course of how they viewed life and what they deemed important to them, it made for enough of a story to keep me interested and invested in the outcome.
If it were summer here in the States, I would tell you this is the perfect mindless beach read. Since it’s currently snowing where I am, I will say to you that if you want a few hours to escape into a novel that is just pure fun with a huge dose of schmaltz and romance, then His Reluctant Cowboy is perfect to snuggle up with in any season.