Cool Hand Hank

The Last Good Man

The Last True Cowboy

A Mother's Gift

Night Falls Like Silk

The Night Remembers

Once Upon a Wedding

One Cowboy, One Christmas

Ride a Painted Pony

Something Worth Keeping

Sunrise Song

A View of the River

What the Heart Knows

You Never Can Tell

Cowboy, Take Me Away
by Kathleen Eagle
(Silhl. Spec. Ed. #2113, $4.99, PG) ISBN 978-0373-65595-3
As a reviewer, one knows that the book will get three hearts when the following words come to mind: lukewarm, laissez-faire and moderate. Cowboy, Take Me Away meets those descriptions, yet on one sense it was a satisfying story, so it is not something to steer clear of. Fans of Kathleen Eagle may well enjoy the visit with some previous characters too.

Trace Wolf Track is a cowboy who fills out a pair of jeans, especially when those jeans are outlined by a pair of chaps and he is just getting ready to get on a bucking bronc bareback. Trace is about to celebrate his thirtieth birthday and life is good. He is on the way to Nationals and a silver buckle in that event. He knows he is loved and has a good relationship with his adoptive father, Logan Wolf Track and his brother Ethan. He has friends and a good piece of land in a valley near the Black Hills. He doesn’t even realize anything is missing in his life.

Skyler Quinn is almost forty, is a widow with a twenty-something stepson and is at a crossroads. She married a man twice her age and was unable to have a child with him. She helped raise his son, who is now trying to step up to being a man. Her husband, who was good to her, left her with debt and plenty of work to do after a long illness. Technically the debt and the work belongs to her stepson Mike, but she is too responsible to just walk away without helping him figure out his life. Right now, he is torn between the rodeo and being a rancher.

It is at the rodeo that Trace and Skyler connect. They are attracted and soon discover that they both know Mike. Trace has been helping Mike train his horse. Skyler and Trace start off with a drink and things lead to things. They make love without the use of a condom – something that doesn’t sit well with Trace and something Skyler hopes leads to a pregnancy. It isn’t that she planned it, but hey, if it happens, it will help her reach one objective. Her other dream involves training a wild horse and somehow becoming a photographer/videographer professionally.

Skyler convinces Trace to help her train her wild mustang; she is trying to train him to win a contest put on by Sally Night Horse and her Double D reserve. Sally and her husband Hank were featured in a previous Eagle book and both make an appearance or two in this one. So the plan is three days of training for Skyler helping Trace celebrate his birthday at a county fair on a day off from the current rodeo. And that works out great until Trace gets hurt…3 days turn to five and we have a romance.

Beyond their ages, there are issues they have to work through. Trace has abandonment issues left over from his mother, yet he was raised by Logan and given a really good foundation. He isn’t sure how he feels about making Skyler pregnant, but he has strong feelings that he will be a part of any child’s life that he fathers. Meanwhile Skyler is strong and assured about everything but her life. he has many issues about her marriage and yet embraces her feelings about Trace. One of the bigger areas that raised red flags for this reader was the short length of time for their romance. Falling in love in just a few days and making big decisions in a few weeks stretches it.

However, the major block about this book was the way the two characters communicated. They seemed to have some kind of shorthand that at times, just made this reader question what they were talking about. Re-reading the conversation was needed to figure it out. One example of this was a conversation that sounded like talking about wearing a vest and helmet while bronc riding that ended up being a conversation about using condoms.

Cowboy, Take Me Away had its moments of fun and romance; it also had its moments of subtlety that was actually convoluted communication. For me the convoluted outweighed the communication, taking away from the enjoyment.

--Shirley Lyons

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