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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dusty: Wild Cowboy by Cathy McDavid

Dusty: Wild Cowboy by Cathy McDavid
(Codys: First Family of Rodeo series)
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Poppy

When a man finds out he's got a son, it's time to take stock of his life. Dusty Cody may be Markton, Wyoming's most famous good-time wrangler, but now he's got only two dreams he's hankering to fulfill. To become the world's next roping champ. And be a father to his little boy.

Gorgeous California girl Maryanne Devonshire shouldn't even be on this cowboy's radar. So why's she making him feel he was born to the family life?

The West is still a mystery to Maryanne, but there's obviously more to the gorgeous rodeo rider than lazy Western charm and killer good looks. Suddenly she's not so eager to hightail it back home. Maybe because she's starting to realize that home is wherever Dusty Cody is.

How will the author ever redeem a such a playboy of a cowboy? In the last couple of books in the Cody’s: First Family of Rodeo series, Dusty has been painted as the kind of guy who loves ‘em and leaves ‘em. In fact, he has a son out of wedlock and, previously, had been pestered by phone calls from “buckle bunnies” that he’d met on the rodeo circuit. I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of woman could tame him.

Enter Maryanne Devonshire, California girl and city through and through. She’s there in Wyoming for her widowed father. He’s chasing his dream of becoming a rodeo star and learning from Dusty’s neighbors.

When Dusty and Maryanne meet, he realizes that she might just be able to help him reach his goal of having a screenplay accepted and produced. No one knows that Dusty writes on the side, and he doesn’t want them to know, but Maryanne works in promotion and her mother was an actress, so she has the experience and contacts he needs.

I was surprised to finally really get to know Dusty in the book. My image of him was what he put out publically, evidently, and not who he really was. I have to admit to being disappointed when one of the secondary characters tells Maryanne not to believe in all the rumors she hears – that Dusty’s not really the playboy he appears to be. I had been looking forward to the taming of a wild cowboy, and it turns out the mustang was just a regular old trail horse after all. Spirited, to be sure; handsome and sleek, but already domesticated and ready for someone to take his reins.

Maryanne was the conflicted one. Everyone leaves her — at least that’s how it feels. Her birth parents did. And though she was adopted by a loving couple, her mother left her, too (not by choice, of course, but she’s gone nonetheless). Her fiancĂ© left her. So, she isn’t willing to sacrifice much in order to try to establish a solid relationship with Dusty, because she figures he’ll leave, too.

It’s Dusty who does the pursuing and Dusty who wants the relationship, a complete reversal of what I expected. He’s romantic and thoughtful, caring and far deeper than anyone would have believed. He’s determined and strong and a really great hero. He also doesn’t seem to care much about what anyone thinks, and is the rebel in his family, which leads to some problems here and there, especially when it appears that his father might have been unfaithful.

This book is full of fantastic characters, my favorite of whom is Maryanne’s father. I could have read an entire book about him. He was funny and caring and smart and everything a father should be. I also enjoyed watching Dusty work out being a father and it was wonderful to see how much Maryanne supported him in that.

If you’re looking for a light romance with a wonderful cast, this is a great book to read. It stands alone, for the most part, but for a richer experience I recommend starting this series from the beginning. You won’t be sorry you did.