Aug 26 2017 1:00pm

First Look: Maisey Yates’s Wild Ride Cowboy (August 29, 2017)

Wild Ride Cowboy by Maisey YatesMaisey Yates
Wild Ride Cowboy (Copper Ridge #9)
HQN Books / August 29, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital 

How can a story be both angsty to the core and delightfully silly, often concurrently? Not to mention passionate and poignant. Welcome to Maisey Yates’s latest Wild Ride Cowboy, the ninth in her Copper Ridge series.

Clara Campbell is in the throes of a massive addiction—to caffeine.

He was perfect in every way.

Clara Campbell didn’t even bother to hide the look of longing she knew was currently etched on her face. Asher was facing away from her anyway, working on making a cappuccino behind the bar—for her—so he wouldn’t notice if she spent a little while admiring the elegant way he moved while he steamed the milk.

Okay, maybe most people wouldn’t be applying words like elegant to the process of steaming milk. But in her mind, Asher could do no wrong, and everything he did was poetry. Including his work as a barista at Copper Ridge’s newest artisan coffeehouse, Stim.

Is it Clara’s desperate need for caffeine that leads her to soak up the magic of Asher’s moves? Nope. She doesn’t even like coffee, a fact that her late brother Jason’s friend, Alex Donnelly, finds both odd and intriguing. Clara is looking for love and affection and she’s built up a whole fantasy around the new barista in town.

A little background please. What brings former soldier Donnelly to Copper Ridge and why does he turn into the Stim parking lot when he spots Clara’s vehicle?

Putting down roots in Copper Ridge was never Alex Donnelly's intention. But if there's one thing the ex-military man knows, it's that life rarely unfolds as expected. If it did, his best friend and brother-in-arms would still be alive. And Alex wouldn't have inherited a ranch or responsibility for his late comrade's sister—a woman who, despite her inexperience, can bring tough-as-iron Alex to his knees.

Clara is not happy to see Alex because he reminds her of all the pain in her life: “The man was dragging a bunch of her baggage in with him.” Clara is an orphan—her parents died when she was a teenager and her brother died in battle. As the lone survivor, Clara lives on the run-down family ranch. Her greatest skill is “a black sense of humor honed out of necessity—since a good portion of her life had been very dark indeed, and she’d had to find ways to laugh.” Jason entrusted her care, legally, to his comrade Alex, a circumstance that gave no comfort to Clara—she doesn’t want to count on anyone so she brushes him off when he apologizes for not stopping by.

She didn’t want a false sense of ease. That would only make it harder when she was along again.

“It’s not okay, actually. We have some things we need to discuss.”

Clara is barely getting by at the ranch. She’s ignoring bills, the work of the ranch combined with her part-time winery job is never-ending, and every night she falls into a dreamless sleep—“if she was lucky”—followed by rinse/repeat the next day.

After Alex visits Clara at the ranch, he determines that willy-nilly, she clearly needs some help and he’s the man to give it. After all, he promised her brother. In a while though, it’s more than a past promise that keeps Alex showing up, repairing fences and everything else that’s been neglected. For one thing, Clara is deceptively capable and forward-thinking. Exhibit A: her bee hives. She’s determined that honey is a product with a lot of sales potential. After a spaghetti dinner, he devours “bread, mostly as a vehicle for the butter and honey.” Clara thinks she might just dive into the honey bucket. It’s no wonder that cappuccinos don’t appeal to her; they don’t have her secret sauce, lashings of chocolate and sugar.

“It is pretty good,” he said.

“Did you know that eating local honey can help with your seasonal allergies?”

Alex laughed and it created a kind of strange space in her chest that seemed to exist just to hold whatever feeling his laughter conjured up inside of her. She didn’t know what it was. Only that it felt weighted, heavy. Maybe because she knew no matter no quick Alex was with a smile, they shared a common pain.

That they both knew how difficult life could be. That they knew the cost of things. But he smiled anyway. And he laughed.

This time she had made him laugh, and that—she was discovering—held its own kind of satisfaction.

That’s a pretty great prescription for a happy life—knowing that life will definitely hold difficulties, smile and laugh anyway. Clara and Alex gradually, convincingly, see the magic in each other—it’s a Wild Ride Cowboy with a happy, solid ending.

Learn more about or order a copy of Wild Ride Cowboy by Maisey Yates, available August 29, 2017:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N



Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee moved from the San Francisco Bay to eastern Tennessee. Baseball is my passion: I follow the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Nashville Sounds (farm team of my beloved Oakland Athletics). Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Helen MacInnes. I also review at Criminal Element.


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