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Cowboy Blue Kindle Edition
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"Fool Me Once" by Catherine Bybee
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This is actually a reissue of a previous work, A Cowboy for Christmas, so technically this is a re-read for me. I definitely enjoyed the book the second time around but did notice a significant (to me) change from the previous work--more on that in a bit.
As a child, Casey Harrington had a fascination with cowboys. For Christmas one year, all she wanted was the Cowboy Cody doll--a toy that, like the tv show of the same name, brought to mind the cowboy code and all that the lifestyle entailed. Imagine Casey's disappointment when, to her dismay, she does not receive Cowboy Cody, but gets an Easy Bake oven instead. At that moment, Casey swore A) she'd grow up and get herself whatever she wanted for Christmas and B) she'd never bake anything, ever.
Fast forward twenty years later. Casey has a successful career in Manhattan, where she works in marketing for an international bank. But she has never forgotten her love for all things cowboy, as evidenced by the many products she has bought from the Maverick Western company.
So when Casey is offered a position as Maverick's new director of marketing, it really is an offer she can't refuse. Casey heads to Colorado to meet the owner of the company, Jake Maverick, and spend some time learning not only about the business but also the workings of a busy cattle ranch.
While there, Casey meets Bonner "Blue" Boyd, a genuine cowboy who reminds Casey a little too much of her fascination with Cowboy Cody. Bonner is a former rodeo star and current right-hand man on the ranch. He's the definition of the strong, silent type and at first, he doesn't give much credence to the corporate big wig from New York City. But Casey is determined to prove herself and commit to this job, so she dives in and learns everything she needs to know about ranch life. Her newfound knowledge will help her with her marketing plan for the company. Beyond this, though, Casey starts falling hard for Bonner.
The feeling is mutual. Casey and Bonner have an obvious attraction. Despite Bonner's initial misgivings about not wanting to mix business with pleasure, they find that their attraction is too tempting to resist. But surely this is just a casual fling. How can they pursue anything more when Bonner lives in Colorado as a cattle rancher and Casey lives in New York and works in the corporate world?
My one and only complaint is that, since this is a reissue, I noticed one change in particular from the previous work. There's a portion of a sex scene that was in the original book that was removed for this one. I'm not sure why and it certainly doesn't take away from this story at all, but since I had read the original, it was something that stood out to me. (Also, it was a pretty memorable scene in my mind, so when I noticed its absence in this version, I thought it was worth mentioning.) Again, though, the lack of that scene didn't take anything away from my enjoyment of this book, especially since there are plenty of sexy times in this book otherwise.
Cat Johnson does a fantastic job creating the atmosphere of the Maverick ranch in Colorado--it's like a character in its own right. Additionally, the supporting characters of ranch hands Dakota and Justus provide plenty of comedic banter. Lastly, Jake's housekeeper, Mrs. Jones, is a comforting yet feisty maternal figure for everyone in the house.
On its own, I really love Cowboy Blue. Cat Johnson knows how to write a darn fine cowboy. It has all the tropes that work for me: cowboys, fish out of water, and opposites attract. It's a feel-good holiday read that made me smile and I highly recommend it.
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