Review of TRUST A COWBOY by Judy Christenberry (see her website)
THE LAZY L RANCH
Harlequin American Romance #1220, July 2008
Cowboy Pete Ledbetter knows he blew it. He had a good thing going with sexy ranch chef Mary Jo Michaels and they slept together. Then Pete fell for the charms of one of the one of the dude ranch's female guests. Obviously Mary Jo dumps him. Equally obviously, Pete feels like a heel. But being dumped just might be the best thing that ever happened to him because it wakes Pete up to the fact that he really, really, likes Mary Jo. Whatever it takes to get her back, Pete is prepared to do--but can he get Mary Jo to even listen?
Mary Jo still loves Pete, but he hurt her badly. A man who would dump her once might do so again and Mary Jo couldn't stand the pain. Still, when Pete's grandfather decides to play matchmaker, thrusting one beautiful woman after another Pete's way, Mary Jo gets more and more torn up inside--even though Pete seems completely uninterested in any woman but her. Finally, he buys her a ring--but a pretend engagement is not what Mary Jo has in mind. Nor is she willing to be courted simply becaue Pete loves her cooking and her cobblers (although she does make sure he gets the sweets he craves).
Author Judy Christenberry (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Christenberry) continues her Lazy L Ranch series with a story of trust and betrayal. Mary Jo trusted Pete once--and he broke her heart. Learning to trust a second time won't be nearly as easy. Appealing to the familiar fantasy of country living, Christenberry's Lazy L Ranch is rich in family and material wealth--as well as hard work and cold winters.
In her introduction, Christenberry talks about not-so-good guys. By betraying Mary Jo, Pete turned himself into one of those. Yet, one of the strongest themes in romance is that of redemption. Pete's efforts to earn his redemption definitely turn him into quite a catch for Mary Jo. I didn't think we needed the added complication of Mary Jo thinking Pete wanted her only because she could cook--the issues of betrayal are so much stronger. Still, they point out the risk of losing trust. Once Mary Jo knew she couldn't trust Pete with her heart, how was she supposed to trust him about anything?
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