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Monday, October 4, 2010

Mark: Secret Cowboy by Pamela Britton

Mark: Secret Cowboy by Pamela Britton
(Codys: First Family of Rodeo series)
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Review by: Poppy

Mark Hansen has hated the wealthy Cody clan his entire life. And he's secretly loved Nicki Sable just as long. But Nicki is totally beyond this cowboy's reach. She's not only tight with the Codys--she's his boss's daughter.

Nicki has never been shy about going after what she wants. And she wants Mark something fierce. Except now the bad-boy rodeo rider is kicking up dust about a whopper of a secret that could tear two families apart. And Nicki isn't ready to take sides. Even if Mark is the sexiest, most trustworthy cowboy she knows.

Claim his heritage or blaze his own path? Mark has never chosen the easy road. And now the wrong decision could cost him everything, including the woman he loves.

Of all the books in this series, this is the one I was waiting for most. The secret of Mark’s paternity finally officially answered! Maybe that’s why I felt a little let down by the way this story played out.

I love a strong, sexy cowboy. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I decided to review this series. In past books, Mark has always come across as independent and really hot, if a bit confrontational with the Cody family. So I looked forward to really getting to know him. He was definitely sexy in this book, but frequently came across to me as a bit whiny and unwilling to take responsibility for his own life. The truly strong character in this book is our heroine, Nicki. She was absolutely fabulous.

It was Nicki who made the first move to get their relationship started. Admittedly, Mark had tried once in the past, only to allow Nicki’s father’s threats to stop him from moving forward. And, as their relationship grew, it was Nicki who stood up to her father, not Mark. She was the one willing to take risks, the one willing to open her heart and her life, unconditionally, to Mark. She was smart, sexy, and fun. Thankfully, Mark got to see those qualities in this story, and – though there were times I wanted to smack him upside the head for his foolishness – ultimately, he decided to take a stand.

Though the question of Mark’s paternity was a driving factor of this book’s plot, it wasn’t the primary conflict. Yes, we get our official answer (though, was there really any question?), but we don’t get to find out why what happened, happened. Perhaps in a later book?

The real Mark, the strong, sexy, stubborn cowboy I thought he was finally came through in the last part of this book. And I have to admit to loving the climax... it made my heart swell. So, although some things may have frustrated me, the fact was, I was completely invested in the characters – and that says something about the book and the author.

A word to any new readers of this series – this book, of all of them, really doesn’t stand alone well. I’d strongly recommend finding the other books in the Codys: First Family of Rodeo series and reading them first.

Overall, if you’re looking for a sexy cowboy and a love story that will make your heart sing, and if you like a woman who’s as strong as the man she loves then this might be just the book for you.