The Cowboy Takes a Wife

 
Cattleman's Courtship by Lois Faye Dyer
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1306, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-24306-5
****
There is an awful lot to like in The Cattleman's Courtship -- a small-town Montana setting done to perfection; a swaggering, sexy cowboy with a chip on his shoulder; and a spunky heroine too savvy to let him get away with it for long.

Victoria Denning has moved from Seattle to Colson, Montana, for the dry air and a respite from her severe allergies. A lawyer, she's keeping herself busy by helping her uncle run his pharmacy and assisting the local attorney with a few items here and there. When she meets cowboy Quinn Bowdrie in a local club one night, a flare of interest is sparked. Quinn, however, distrusts women in general and women lawyers in particular, having just finished a lengthy court battle over his father's estate that was instigated by his malicious stepmother.

Quinn's own mother left when he was eight, and their father and stepmother raised Quinn and his brother. Quinn's belief that he's a hellraiser, he'd make a lousy husband and isn't really capable of loving anyone is an attitude that Victoria just can't accept. In their subsequent meetings, she lets him know it, and as she begins to break down his walls of resistance, a strong friendship and love blossom. But what will it take to get Quinn to commit?

What saved this book from "I-had-a-lousy-childhood-and-can't-love-anybody" mediocrity was Victoria. This is not a story of coincidental meetings between two people who eventually can't keep their hands off one another. No, this is a planned assault. Victoria has full sympathy for Quinn and his background, but isn't about to allow him to wallow in self-pity and perhaps ruin a great chance at happiness. Quinn's bemused reactions to Victoria's plain speaking are touching and funny. Here's a woman unlike any he's met before. Not only is she pretty, but she'll go toe-to-toe with him and not back down. His usual excuses aren't cutting it. It's "put up or shut up" time. What a delightful spot for a reader to be in!

The sensuality between them is plenty hot, though the book retains its sweet overtones until close to the end. And by the way, ignore the back cover blurb -- it's misleading. Instead, jump in and enjoy Cattleman's Courtship. There's a hint of another story in an unresolved secondary romance of sorts. Can a book about the second Bowdrie brother be far behind? I'll be watching.

--Cathy Sova


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