The Cowboy of Valentine Valley
Avon / January 28, 2014 / $5.99 print, $4.99 digital
Ever since a heated late-night kiss—that absolutely should not have happened—cowboy Josh Thalberg makes former Hollywood bad girl Whitney Winslow's pulse beat faster. But when she decides to use his gorgeous leatherwork in her new upscale lingerie shop, Leather & Lace, she's determined to keep their relationship strictly professional . . . even if she wants so much more.
Josh has never met a challenge he isn't up for. Which is probably why he allowed Whitney to persuade him to take the sexy publicity photo that went viral—and now has every woman in America knocking down his door . . . every woman except the one he can't get out of his head.
But how to convince a reformed bad girl that some rules are worth breaking?
I haven’t read any of Emma Cane’s works before, but who can resist a former bad girl or a gentle satire of today’s media world? Plus having the woman be wealthy, successful, and traveled puts a new spin on a small-town romance.
Whitney Winslow never dreamed that her father wouldn’t want her in the family business. But even after she graduated summa cum laude as a business major, and then went on to receive her MBA, she is unable to convince her father that she is capable of working in the family firm, leaving her devastated.
So Whitney went a little wild—in fact, the paparazzi called her Whitney Wild. One night she got out of the limousine and they got a crotch shot of her wearing sexy underwear. Which set her on her a new career path. A small lingerie company contacted her about designing a private label with her name on it. Whitney reluctantly agreed, in spite of not enjoying the notoriety. No slouch in the matter of money, she pushed for stock options as part of her compensation. Soon she is running the company for the owner. Eventually she bought him out, and to put her own unique spin on the company, she changed the name to Leather and Lace. Now she is carefully expanding, and believes that Valentine Valley would be a perfect spot for a new location.
After some resistance, she has the backing of the community and the interest of one sexy cowboy. She made her moves on Josh Thalberg, but he turned her down. But now when she is in town to finalize arrangements for her store, he acts all interested. It seems that Josh wants to play by his rules, not her own.
But Whitney has had time to think about their situation. She wants to put Josh’s leather products in her store, and she is not about to jeopardize her business for a short-lived relationship.
“My own behavior was at fault, not you. I got a little drunk and pushy—”
“You weren’t pushy,” he interrupted, wearing that easy grin that did things to her insides. “You were sexy as all hell.”
“But I was drunk, and you were gracious when you turned me down.” The first man to ever refuse her offer of intimacy. “I appreciate it.”
“It took all of my restraint,” he said in a low voice.
She gave a heavy swallow, followed by a false smile. “Now you’re just teasing me. Let’s forget about it okay?”
“Forget? No. Ignore? Okay For a while, maybe.”
“No maybes. Let’s concentrate on work.”
But what she doesn’t realize that Josh has his own agenda, and it is doesn’t involve letting her get away. He is fascinated by her, from her background of living in a boarding school, to her travel overseas to her model looks. But their goals and ambitions are miles apart: Whitney hopes to put good managers in place, and concentrate on opening stores in Europe. Josh is not a small-town hick man. He has traveled, but he has everything he needs in Valentine Valley. He enjoys doing his part to keep the family ranch successful, and has recently discovered how satisfying it is build a business around his love of working with leather. Still, all facets of Whitney beguile him, even her former self of Whitney Wild:
He thought of “Whitney Wild,“ remembered how uncomfortably aroused he’d been by every picture, the sly, sexy way she had of playing up to the cameras, the way the men on her arm had worshipped her with their eyes, showed their possession of her. Their brief possession. None of them had held the wild young woman, and from everything she’d told him, no man had held her affection since.
But he didn’t want to be one of the men she eventually left behind. Somehow, he would find a way to make her see that she could change her life once again, and it could be better than she’d ever imagined.
But soon Josh is treated to his own version of celebrity status. At Whitney’s encouragement, he posed with some of his work and the shop owner posted it to her webpage. And from there it spiraled out of control.
“Jesus, Josh, you have a Facebook Fan page.”
That took a moment to skin in, as he was inhaling the scent of her. At last something pierced his brain. “What did you say?”
“Facebook. You’ve heard of it, right?”
“Yeah I heard of it, but I’m not a member. . .”
“No, you don’t get it. You have over thirty thousand likes, Josh.”
“So . . . thirty thousand people like the photo?”
“Not just that. They’re posting about you, where they’ve seen you—and here you go. Those girls today. They uploaded a photo of you all muddy and bare-chested.”
He frowned and finally gave his full attention to the screen. “You told me to let people take my picture, that it’d die down.”
“I assumed it would. Wait a sec.”
She called up another browser window, even as he sank back on the couch.
“Josh, you are actually trending on Twitter. Worldwide.
Of course, between the covers there are many more twists and turns. But its unpredictability, from the non-traditional small-city heroine to a hero flabbergasted at the turn his life has taken is what makes this book so charming. And of course he is a cowboy!
Learn more or pre-order a copy of The Cowboy of Valentine Valley by Emma Cane, available on January 28, 2014:
Leigh Davis, Blogger