Midnight Ride (Midnight Cowboys #1)
Zebra / April 28, 2015 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital
One bucking bronco...
Oklahoma ranch hand Tyler Jenkins is too young, too sexy, and too damn wild to be tied down by any single woman—for more than a few steamy hours...
One hard-working widow...
Widowed rancher Janie Smithwick is too busy paying off her debts to play rodeo with a reckless young cowboy like Tyler—no matter how hot he gets her...
One midnight ride they'll never forget. . .
As a rule, Janie should be dating a man her own age, like her handsome neighbor Rohn—not the twenty-four-year old ranch hand he employs. But once Tyler gets Janie alone—held tight in his arms, pressed against his hard muscled body, burning with desire—the widow realizes that some rules, like broncos, are meant to be broken...
In an age where female characters are demonized for their sexual desires, it’s comforting to read a book that’s capable of reassuring us that it’s okay to give into need, want, and desire—like Cat Johnson’s Midnight Ride.
There is a twelve year age difference between the hero and the heroine, and right from the beginning, the hero sees the heroine as an object of desire. Tyler thinks Janie’s a beautiful woman. And Lord help him when she mentions his tongue.
His mind went to bad places at her mention of his tongue and its talents. Visions of what he’d like to do with it—and her—flashed through his brain.
His desire is immediate and palpable. And right from the beginning, as far as he’s concerned, her age is simply a number. “(I)t was obvious Colton had never met Janie Smithwick. If he had, he sure as hell wouldn’t have called her old.” Hot, beautiful, sexy , yes. But not old.
And yet for her? While Janie admittedly thinks Tyler is hot, she sees two other things.
That cowboy was trouble with a capital T. She could see that right off. In another lifetime, where she was ten years younger, he’d be tempting in spite of the trouble that surely came with him.
First, clearly, is trouble. When characters meet because one is hiding in the back of the other’s truck for non-dangerous reasons, trouble is absolutely a word used to describe the hider. But looking deeper, in contrast to the hero’s attitude, our heroine has noticed the hero’s age, and immediately decides it’s an obstacle she can’t overcome.
Except life doesn’t always conform to the logical rules we make for ourselves. For our heroine can’t stop fantasizing about the hot, young cowboy.
(F)antasizing about a man, especially one so much younger than herself, was about as foreign a concept to Janie as being a widow at thirty-six.
And our hot young cowboy? Still planning.
“He had a full day of work with which to come up with a plausible excuse to get him back over to her place. A plan he’d hopefully start implementing right after he finished working …today. Just the thought of seeing her again was enough to have him whistling while he worked.’
So he manages this, and our heroine? Can’t help but drool all over him, and yet “..(y)anks herself away from her shameless thoughts.” Then invites him to share her dinner, and wonders “(w)hat the hell (she was) thinking, asking this hot young guy to dinner.” His age. Once again. She’s sexually attracted to him, but she can’t see past his age.
Their wonderful companionable dinner even ends with her scared. “(C)ounting on this wild young cowboy as a substitute for the companionship missing in her life was sure to be a bad idea.” As a substitute? Because of his age, of course.
Finally, after another lovely dinner, he calls her on it.
Janie swallowed and tried to regain her focus. “You should be dating girls your own age.”
That was one truth about her avoidance she would tell him. Twentysomething guys should date twenty something girls.
“I have. I’ve gone out with plenty of them, but not one of them was anything like you.” His blue gaze pinned her even as she averted her eyes to avoid the intensity she saw in them.
Janie wasn’t used to being the object of a man’s attention anymore. At least, not like this. “So I’d be a novelty.”
“A novelty, no. But you are one of a kind, Janie Smithwick. Don’t you ever forget it.”
What finally gets our heroine on the road to accepting the suit of our hero and happily ever after she deserves? Some attention from a man who she, and society, would place her with. Someone closer to her age. After her best friend arranges for her to meet with someone after a church service, our heroine comes to a realization.
Some attention was flattering. Some was not. Tyler obviously found her attractive too…but he didn’t make her feel dirty. She didn’t have the impulse to cover up when he looked at her.
This obviously isn’t where our story ends; Tyler and Janie have a great deal more to work out in order to earn their HEA. At the same time, this is where Johnson masterfully convinces the reader that an HEA is possible. Janie doesn’t consider Tyler’s age here, only the desire he makes her feel and how welcome it is. As a result, she is forced out of the societal idea that people must only date from their own age group by virtue of her own experience.
It’s nice to know that a woman like Janie is going to get a second chance at happiness with a hot cowboy like Tyler. She deserves it. And so do the readers.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Midnight Ride by Cat Johnson before its release (April 28, 2015):
Stacey Agdern, @nystacey