06 June 2016

Hot Cowboy Nights (Lucky Penny Ranch, Book 2)


Synopsis from Goodreads: If gossip is the lifeblood of a small town, then Lizzy Logan has been its beating heart. After being dumped by her fiancé for another woman, she could have decided to crawl under a rock. But no, she'd rather really set tongues wagging by "moving on" with one of the hottest cowboys in Texas, who happens to live next door at the Lucky Penny Ranch. Those busybodies don't have to know it's actually all pretend. And just because Lizzy has no aim to tame her wild, blue-eyed neighbor doesn't mean she can't enjoy the ride of her life.

Toby Dawson never was and never will be the settling-down type. But what harm could there be in agreeing to be Lizzy's pretend boyfriend? They'll put on a show for a few weeks and be done. Yet the more he gets to know Lizzy-really know her-the harder it is for him to keep his hands off of her in private. Soon this rough-and-ready cowboy is hoping to heal Lizzy's bruised heart and turn their fake affair into a true romance . . .

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, 2016.

How acquired: Fresh Fiction Box Not to Miss subscription.

First line: Lizzy's plan was to sneak inside the house, up the stairs, and into her room.

My thoughts: I loved WILD COWBOY WAYS, the first book in this series. I loved the characters of Blake and Allie. I wasn't crazy about Allie's good-girl sister, Lizzy, who was engaged to a minister, but she began to grow on me toward the end of the book, which I believe was the intended effect. And after her fiance called off the engagement I was looking forward to her book. So I was very excited to open my most recent Fresh Fiction Box Not to Miss and find this book inside.

HOT COWBOY NIGHTS picks up about six weeks after WILD COWBOY WAYS ended. During that interim, Lizzy and Blake's brother, Toby, have been having a secret hot and wild, no strings, sex only affair. Unfortunately that all happened off page, and I was sad to have missed all that action, especially when Lizzy kept thinking about it and bringing it up in her thoughts. They want different things out of life – Lizzy wants a stable man and a family and a home of her own, and Toby wants to keep his man-whore freedom. So Lizzy decides it's time to call it off. And then she learns that Mitch and the woman he dumped her for will be back in town, and while hanging out with Blake, Allie, and their friend Deke, a plan is hatched whereby Toby will pretend to be Lizzy's boyfriend. This will have the dual purpose of keeping Sharlene, the town ho, from trying to get her claws into Toby, who wants nothing to do with her, and convince the townspeople that Lizzy is over Mitch.

I liked Lizzy, but for some reason I never connected with her the way I did with Allie in the first book. I did however, love Toby, almost as much as I loved Blake. I enjoyed watching Lizzy become more confident in herself and become more sassy and outspoken. And even more so, I enjoyed watching Toby come to grips with his feelings for Lizzy and grow from a shallow club hopper out for a good time to a man ready to settle down but terrified to admit it.

The pious church crowd were pretty harsh in their condemnation of those upstart cowboys, and the way they turned on Lizzy and Allie for associating with them was downright cold. I want to say I can't imagine people acting that way in real life, yet I know there are people out there who probably do. Some of the confrontations were pretty funny.

My only real issue with the book was the lack of contractions, which made a lot of conversations feel stiff. Especially in a town where people use the word y'all in their everyday language and the men often call the women Miz (Insert Name Here). But as expected, this was a fun read, and that's my word to describe Ms. Brown – she is just flat out fun.

Lizzy's other sister, Fiona, shows up briefly, revealing a secret to Lizzy – and to us – and I can't wait for her and Toby's cousin, Jud, to meet in the next book. 

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