Steeple Hill Books - May, 2009
In my next life I’m going to copyright “Cowboy” and “Viking.” The royalties from romance covers alone should keep me in designer clothes. (I had a designer body once, but, alas, not now. Ask any of my great grandchildren.) The cover of Brenda Minton’s new Steeple Hill romance shows a smiling cowboy, a rocker, a baby, and the family dog. Tell me this is going to be a murder mystery in which a baby kills a dog.
No, dear reader, The Cowboy Next Door is Minton’s fourth Steeple Hill outing, and it moves along at a much greater-than-rocking-chair pace. As a matter of fact, Minton seamlessly sets her stage. She introduces her central characters and the emotions driving them all in a few hundred or so smooth flowing, fully packed words. Every word ringing with purpose.
Minton introduces Lacey Gould, our heroine from the city; Jay Blackhorse, the hunky deputy sheriff, and Lacey’s druggy younger sister with a cute plot-driving baby in the first few pages. Although I must say Lacey’s studio apartment with a walk-in closet seems a bit of a stretch, but then I didn’t grow up in Gibson.
It’s no surprise that the story revolves around the baby. The baby is safe, cute, and needy. Lacey becomes the baby’s guardian. Corry, Lacey’s sister, was looking for a free ride and trouble. Lacey had worked hard to become part of this small, wholesome community and certainly didn’t need her sister messing it up for her. What other unwanted family member will show up?
This book moves well. Psychologically, it has trust issues, grief, abandonment, and people with varying degrees of dysfunction. Lacey is working hard to overcome her unsavory background and live a Norman Rockwell life. Jay Blackhorse wants nothing to do with a city girl because he figured all city girls would break his heart like the first one did. Fortunately, Lacey and Jay come to care for one another and not surprisingly, that caring begins to dispel the dysfunctions. Isn’t that what Biblical love is all about? Stir them together and what do you get? One whale of a good story!