Review of NO ORDINARY COWBOY by Mary Sullivan (see her website)
Harlequin SuperRomance #1570, June 2009
When his sister sends an accountant to look into his handling of the ranch's finances, Hank Shelter is both angry and frustrated. He's trying to run a program that helps children who are cancer survivors and he knows he's paid the bills. But pretty accountant Amy Graves is trouble with a capital T. She won't give up, won't stop poking into secrets...and Hank is certain she'll be on to his secret in no time.
A cancer survivor herself, Amy Graves is moved by Hank's devotion to the children, especially when she learns that his own son died of blood cancer (which cost him his marriage). The attraction is immediate, but she knows Hank is keeping secrets from her. Besides, she's already seen the look in a man's face when he realizes that she is no longer whole, that cancer has cost her a part of her femininity. She can't stand the idea of seeing that look on Hank's face. And then there's the matter of the financial disaster Hank seems oblivious to.
Author Mary Sullivan does a great job establishing sexual tension between Hank and Amy. Immediate physical attraction deepens as each learns more about the other and gradually reveals secrets. The fairy-tale ranch setting with Hank refusing to charge any money to the children who stay at his ranch three weeks out of four, helps separate the fantasy world of cowboys from the dirty reality.
I would have liked to see Amy stick with one issue and peel away at it. Instead of one deep conflict, though, Sullivan gave us a whole slew of issues. Amy was afraid of secrets, certain Hank was a compulsive gambler like her father, afraid of the certain rejection she'd get when she exposed her missing breast, unable to deal with the possible loss of a child (something Hank had come to terms with only by becoming something of a saint). In contrast, Hank was perhaps too perfect. His 'secret' was horrible only in his own mind. Sullivan tossed in some other issues (the relationship between Hank and his 'sister' without really resolving them.
NO ORDINARY COWBOY is an entertaining read. Sullivan's writing is strong and she deftly creates a fantasy world, and hero, that will appeal to many women.
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