Walker loves the ranch that his family has run for so many years. But last year’s hurricane season caused extensive and costly damage that left behind some hefty repairs—repairs that he can’t afford. So when one of his ranch hands jokingly signs up Walker to be the bachelor in the upcoming new LGBT reality series, Walker laughs it off and dismisses the idea as impossible. Then he’s actually chosen and life becomes very complicated.
Roan had plans for grad school, but watched them go up in smoke when his mother fell ill with cancer. Her last hope is to become part of the test group to try an experimental regimen that may keep her alive, but it’s not covered by her insurance and it’s terribly expensive. In desperation to save his mom, Roan signs up to be a contestant on the new bachelor series. He just has to make it through four of the six weeks the show will run in order to get enough money for his mom’s treatment. It should be easy, all he had to do is be his charming self. What he doesn’t count on is actually liking the guy who is making the selections as to who stays and who goes. Roan may like Walker, but he can’t possibly like him in return. After all, this is television—nothing is real…or is it?
Authors Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn have teamed up to create an incredibly sweet romance with Cowboy Seeks Husband. I honestly can’t tell you which character I loved more—Walker or Roan. Both men are in fairly dire straits. Walker needs a hefty influx of cash to save the ranch he loves and keep his dad from working himself into an early grave. With no time to date and little interest in actually getting a husband, Walker thinks the show will be annoying, but pretty straightforward. Give out stupid horseshoes for a few weeks, fake a few dates, and then get everyone off his land so he can move forward with repairing the hurricane damage before the next round of storms move in—that’s Walker’s intention. He knows none of the guys are there for anything other than the money, just like him, but when Roan catches his eye right off the bat, there’s something about the guy that makes Walker’s insides squirm like no one else. Even though he knows the show is all fake, Walker finds himself really hoping that the stolen moments he and Roan have managed to have together spell out a real future for them both.
There was such a genuine feel about Walker. He was a patient and gentle man who really didn’t want to hurt anyone—he just wanted to save his ranch. But he’s a lonely guy—happy in his work but unlucky in love and Roan plucks every protective chord Walker has and makes him want something he never dreamed he’d have a chance at—someone to love. While these two guys tried to find time to explore their feelings for each other, the show producers do everything possible to tear them apart and create the drama needed to make the show a success. I kind of hated both the producers and the show’s director by the end of the novel—they were some kind of manipulative bastards to be sure and they could care less how much their machinations hurt Walker or Roan.
My heart just bled for poor Roan. He loves his mom so much and her cancer is in the late stages—there isn’t much time left for her and this reality show is Roan’s last hope of getting the money he needs for her treatment. He, too, knows much if not all that goes on during the taping of the show is manufactured, but there’s something about that cowboy that makes Roan hope they could somehow have something real together. But with his mom as ill as she is, any future that Walker and he may have looks pretty dim. With that truth continually in the back of his mind, every interlude he and Walker manage to steal leaves Roan feeling empty and confused.
I must admit, I grabbed the tissue box more than once while reading this novel. I was really drawn in to Walker and Roan’s life stories and I was desperate for them to get to a place where they could genuinely fall in love and find their happy ever after. Roan, in particular, would go through hell before he would find his happiness and I have to applaud the authors for allowing their characters to experience the realities of an incurable illness rather than sugarcoat the outcome. Yes, there was a beautiful ending to this book, but not without some loss first.
I loved Cowboy Seeks Husband. It will be a reread for me in the future simply because these two characters stayed with me well after I finished the book. This was a beautiful love story and one that I can easily recommend.