Series: Blacktop Cowboys #2
Published by Penguin Group US on 2011-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Cowboys
This beauty is no greenhorn – and she’s about to rope the man of her dreams.
Cattleman Bran Turner is left shorthanded during busy calving season when a bull tramples his hired hand. Rural Wyoming isn’t exactly a hotbed of qualified candidates, and the only applicant for the position is the pampered town beauty, Harper Masterson. The curvy cowgirl gets under Bran’s skin at every turn, but with no other options, he reluctantly hires her.
When sexual sparks ignite, down-on-her-luck Harper enjoys convincing Bran that not only is she capable of pulling calves, feeding livestock, and handling backbreaking ranch chores, but she doesn’t mind getting down and dirty, either. Harper also discovers the hot-bodied cowboy isn’t all work and no horseplay…and he’s got more than a few tricks up his sleeve.
Bran will learn quickly that Harper is no country mouse-and that she might just have what it takes to stick around for the long haul.
Harper Masterson is one desperate Lady. Sacked from one of her two jobs, she jumps at the chance of working as a ranch hand from the gruff Bran Turner. Bran can’t quite believe that the former beauty queen is the only applicant for the short-term position on his successful ranch. Always attracted, and intimidated, by the shy stunner, he accepts her offer out of desperation. Unbeknownst to him, Harper is used to turning her hand to hard labour, after having worked since she was little to support herself and her sister. After weeks of living in each other’s pockets, witnessing births and deaths in the life-stock that they attend to, the mutual attraction starts to ignite some serious sparks! Neither want to get involved in a serious relationship, but this particular fling would have a time limit, as Harper is getting out of their little town as soon as her youngest sister graduates high school. She gets sex with a hot Rancher, who can show her a few more moves to add to her limited repertoire, and he gets to bed his long term crush, without her getting too close to cause him any emotional damage. Win-win, right?
I liked Harper, but I wanted her to relax for the first 25% of the book. She was so concerned with everyone else’s opinion of her, constantly running away from the bad reputation of her mother, that she leads a pretty crappy life. She doesn’t get involved with men because she doesn’t want to be labelled as a slut, she works her fingers to the bone to keep a roof over her head at two jobs, and she pretty much keeps herself to herself. All of her actions are steered by her belief that everyone is judging her; instead of just telling them where to go, she lets them influence her actions. When she gets involved with Bran her first thoughts are how everyone is going to think she is a tart for sleeping with her boss, just like her mother. I loved Bran for showing her that she could be appreciated for more than her looks, and that she was worth some attention, because she wasn’t her mother. Bran is so sweet and he is the perfect cowboy. He is a serious, intense, gruff Rancher, who seems to think he has nothing to offer. He doesn’t see himself as handsome, funny or particularly successful. In his opinion, he is nothing more than a lowly Rancher. He thinks he has no chance with Harper, even though he has had a crush on her since she was a teenager (she has had a crush on him for about the same length of time), so he’s quite happy to sleep with her because he isn’t setting himself up for a fall. When he FINALLY realises he’s in love with her, he turns into an absolute sweetheart…karaoke machine serenading and everything!
This book was sexy and surprisingly funny. There weren’t many sex scenes, but what there were were seriously hot! Harper is very inexperienced when it comes to sex. When she starts to sleep with Jack, it is with the intention of learning new tricks. Jack really wants to explore his dirty side, but hasn’t had the confidence to it with girls he has previously dated. The thing he has going with Harper has a time limit, so it doesn’t matter if she runs away as if her butt is on fire, because it was never a long-term thing anyway. I have to say this storyline rather reminded me of Cord and AJ’s in the rough riders’ series (as did Bran’s attempts at “wooing” Harper) but I certainly am not complaining. We had mild bondage, anal sex, mild Domination (very mild…I would have battered him if he got me in a cupboard, demanded oral sex and then buggered off! Not OK!) And a mutual spanking scene (which was a *phew* moment!). If you don’t like your sex with a kinky edge, this is probably not the book for you! It also had plenty of laugh aloud moments.
My favourite (as seems to be everyone else’s!) is the fainting goats, Pox and Hex, a present to Bran from an ex. I actually burst into laughter when they were first described – I have never heard of this breed before, but I sure have looked them up now: D. I also had some laugh aloud moments when Harper got snarky with Bran. When she started to come out of her shell, as she got more and more comfortable with him, she was very quick witted and smart. I do like a strong female character 😀
The side characters introduced certainly added some spice and I’m looking forward to the next few books (especially Renner and Celia..I can imagine their book’s being a lot of fun!). Unfortunately we are running out of West-McKay’s to read about it (TBH it’s about time…there are more men in that family than is normal….although they are all hot, demanding and intense, so we can forgive them) so the Black-top Cowboy series looks to be taking over its mantle.
I read this book in one sitting. I love Lorelei James, and her Cowboys, and this book doesn’t disappoint. I didn’t read the first one, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of this story. Read this, and the Rough Riders, if you like tall, demanding cowboys …you won’t be disappointed.