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Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Cowboy and the Angel

The Cowboy and the Angel by Marin Thomas
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Poppy

Renée Sweeney will do whatever it takes to keep a roof over the heads of Detroit's street kids. Even if it means stepping in front of a ten-ton wrecking ball aimed at their temporary home. And especially if it means clashing with gorgeous corporate cowboy Duke Dalton.

To Duke, the blue-eyed blonde seems more like an angel than a social worker. Until he discovers a group of runaways camping out in his warehouse! The Tulsa businessman came to set up shop in a new town, not provide free housing for the masses. But Renée and the kids are making him rethink his bottom line…and what the spirit of the Christmas season really means.

Now this cowboy Santa is looking to give Renée—and her young charges—a gift straight from his heart!

Marin Thomas has penned another winner! This story will make you laugh, cry and fall in love.

When Renee Sweeney all but throws herself onto a wrecking ball to save a warehouse, owner Duke Dalton wants to know why. He also wants a chance to get to know Renee better, as his attraction to her is instant and powerful.

Renee wants nothing to do with a relationship, especially not with a man from a wealthy family--having been badly burned not once, but twice by people with money. Renee has a perfect life with her adoptive mother and overprotective brother and isn't looking for anything more. All she wants is to take care of the kids who are forgotten or overlooked on the streets of Detroit.

This story packs a punch in more ways than one. Though it's certainly a romance primarily and full of hot looks and sexual tension, of tenderness and thoughtful gestures, it's also one that makes a person stop and think about their priorities. I know it did me, and it also made Duke think about what really mattered in life. Renee is passionate about her career as a social worker, partly because of her past, but partly because her heart is so huge. She really loves all of "her" kids and lives and breathes for them.

Duke quickly discovers that in order to create a future with Renee, he needs to understand and take part in that piece of her life, something he does with gusto. Duke is the kind of man we all dream of falling for, and I have to admit to being a little frustrated with Renee and her reluctance to trust Duke. Instead, she assumes he and his family are as shallow as the wealthy people she's known in her past, and really doesn't give him a fair shake. Even when she acknowledges and acts upon their attraction, she withholds her heart and her trust. There were times I just wanted to give her a good shake, and there were times I was amazed at Duke's patience with her.

The strength of this story is definitely in the emotion--between Duke and Renee and between both of them and the kids. A strong secondary cast makes up this book, and I was overjoyed to discover there is a sequel coming soon. I only wish it were about how the six kids she rescued were doing in life. I was so thoroughly caught up in them that the ending of this story made me cry...happy tears.

If you're looking for a book to really show you the meaning of the holiday season, to wish for a bit of mistletoe and a hunk of your own, then I highly recommend The Cowboy and the Angel. It's earned a spot on my keeper shelf.