Synopsis: Fleeing her latest love-life disaster, big city journalist Libby Brown's transition to rural living isn't going exactly as planned. Her childhood dream has always been to own a farm - but without the constant help of her charming, sexy cowboy neighbor, she'd never make it through her first Wyoming season.
Handsome rancher Luke Rawlins is impressed by this sassy, independent city girl. But he years to do more than help Libby out with her ranch. He's ready for love, and he wants to go the distance...
Then the two get embroiled in their tiny town's one and only crime story, and Libby discovers that their sizzling hot attraction is going to complicate her life in every way possible...
First line: A chicken will never break your heart.
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010; 386 pages; borrowed from my local library.
My thoughts: Over the last year or so I've gotten more and more into the cowboy genre, to the point where I'm actively seeking out and grabbing books that look like they fit that genre. I recently discovered Carolyn Brown who became my favorite new to me author with LOVE DRUNK COWBOY. During my last trip to the library, this book practically jumped off the shelf at me. Well, one of this author's books did, anyway - I had to immediately pull out my phone and look up the author on Fictiondb to check if it was a series so I could be sure to start with the first book. Anyway, to bring my rambling to a point, Joanne Kennedy has now bumped Carolyn Brown down a spot and has taken over as my favorite new author.
I was hooked from the first page. Libby has taken a job with the local newspaper and bought a farm where she plans to raise chickens. She doesn't know anything about farming or ranching or chickens, but she's a journalist, so she knows how to do research, and she figures she can figure it out. As she's unloading her truck on her first day at her new home, her closest neighbor pops in to say hello, a handsome rancher named Luke. Of course Libby is getting over a broken heart and has no interest in dating, hooking up or being in another relationship. Even if he's cute. And such a cliche, she thinks, in his chaps and talking with his cowboy swagger.
Later she meets the local sheriff, Cash, who's even more swagger with his silver star and hero law enforcement vibe. And she actually feels little sparks with Cash. But again, not interested, no more men, on her own, etc.
The book has a lot of humorous dialog and one liners, starting with that opening line and continuing non-stop. One of my favorites:
“I'd like to go along,” she said. “But I think we need to talk first.”
“Oh, no.” Luke backed away as if she'd suggested they take him over to the veterinary clinic for neutering. “It's okay. We don't need to talk.” (pg 91)
Libby and Luke are both fun characters, Cash is too full of himself, and the supporting cast slide seamlessly into the story, capturing you with their own distinct but rarely over the top personalities.
When Lucy hears about a young girl who disappeared awhile back, her reporter instincts kick in and she's intrigued. After the missing girl's mother approaches her and asks for her help, she begins digging into the story in earnest, trying to trace the girl's last steps, and interviewing her friends. Several of the locals seem like good suspects, including both Luke and Cash at times.
The cast is rounded out by several dogs and a wild chicken. And of course charming cowboys, who may be good guys or may be bad guys. I thought I'd figured out what happened to the missing girl before Libby did, but then a little twist came and I was surprised, so that was good.
A quick, lively and very entertaining read, and I'm now eager to collect the rest of the author's books.