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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Cowboy’s Convenient Bride by Wendy Warren

The Cowboy’s Convenient Bride by Wendy Warren
Publisher: Silhouette (Harlequin)
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (217 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Claire Dobbs needed a job—and she needed it yesterday. But when the single mother of three arrived at Pine Road Ranch, she didn't expect to be greeted by six-foot-plus of scowling, growling cowboy….

After being injured in a bullfight, all Fletcher Kingsley wanted to do was slink home to Honeyford, Oregon, and lick his wounds. The former rodeo champ didn't need a housekeeper. He needed a wife! It was either that—or forfeit his beloved family home.

It would be a cold day in Honeyford before Fletcher ever got hitched. But having the pretty, spirited widow and her lively brood underfoot could change a man's mind in a hurry. Especially when sweet Claire started him thinking about home and hearth…and love?

I was hooked as soon as the crotchety and mangy cat started to purr because I realized that he was the perfect personification of Fletcher the man.

Fletcher is the hero and he’s a man who is so drowning in torment he doesn’t know the way up to get fresh air and even when the light shines in his face he doesn’t trust it. That’s one of the biggest internal hurdles poor Fletcher has to overcome, that and everyone else’s perception of him in town. Perception plays a humongous role in this book when it comes to the hero. When he was a kid, people didn’t talk about certain things and a kid can only draw upon his own limited life experiences to explain adult happenings and the poor kid was scarred for life. I really felt for him. In the beginning, I had a hard time feeling sorry for him because he was so much like what that roughed up cat looked like - ornery. The difference is that the cat was willing to purr and the man was afraid to. How can a man like that be healed? The author did a good job of making me want to know.

Claire’s character is a delight. Some of her internal dialogue was brilliant and I really respected her character. She has an indomitable spirit that just won’t take no for an answer. She’s got three adorable kids and the author did a great job of balanced writing about them during the course of the book. They weren’t props, they were her life and her joy. I definitely got the impression of a strong mother’s love from Claire. Ms. Warren also imbued the heroine with just enough strength, vulnerability, desperation and hope to draw a reader into caring for her without the burden of pity. I enjoyed watching Claire discombobulate Fletcher.

There were quite a few secondary characters that were important because they allowed the hero and heroine to explore their fledgling romance even when it hit snags. Dean, Fletcher’s brother, is an enigma. Is he really as unflappable and perfect as Fletcher views him? Is he really that oblivious? The author knows and there’s a promise of Dean’s own story coming up and Ms. Warren did a good job of piquing my interest with the role he played in this tale. I enjoyed Claire’s helpful neighbor and found myself being totally surprised by the mayor. That was a nice little twist in more ways than one.

The Cowboy’s Convenient Bride has all the emotional and sentimental violin strings in play and the outcome is a beautiful romance story. There is humor, internal angst, and truths revealed that heal and bring hope to the hopeless. It’s a well told story of two people battered by life and circumstances coming together by accident or design who end up bringing their lost dreams back to vivid life. This book was a joy to read and I read it cover to cover in one sitting. The happily ever after is as sweet as one of Claire’s cakes or muffins – delicious.