GENRE: Adult – Romance/Western
FORM: Mass-Market Book, ARC
PUBLICATION DATE: October 31, 2011
While I was granted permission to read this book by Sourcebooks, I have received no compensation for this review other than the joy of reading!
**Read to the end for an interview with the author, as well as a chance to win a copy of the book!**
SYNOPSIS: Lacey was always the beautiful, perky cheerleader, and even in her late twenties she feels like that is all her life has been as Trophy Wife. She was married and recently divorced from a crook real estate agent, and is now running from some of her previous husband, Trent Bradford’s “business partners,” who want to use her to make sure Trent doesn’t talk to the authorities. So having her life already ripped apart, and refusing to have anything to do with the wealth Trent so illegally acquired, Lacey decides to run to the one person who was always there for her before she married.
Chase is a hardened, cynical, hot and sexy cowboy. His life has been ripped apart in multiple ways; by Lacey because she broke his heart, by Trent because of the loss of his love, and his father’s ranch as well as life. When Lacey comes stumbling back into his life, he wrestles with desire and compassion and the hatred stemming from the fact that it was her and husband that has put him in his current situation. Chase is ready to send Lacey packing until her situation proves to be dangerous, and the next thing he knows he is bringing Lacey to his home – a place where he has always been able to her permanently.
REVIEW: You’ve got to love a damsel in distress story. Combine that with sexy ranch cowboy and you get a sizzlingly sexy book. Tall, Dark and Cowboy was hot, to say the least. Lacey and Chase are both dealing with issues. Lacey is desperate for some independence. She has always had to rely on someone to provide for her, so it is understandable that she struggles with a relationship that is so obvious that Chase wants. She is also utterly clueless that Chase has always been head over heels in love with her, despite the way that he has always been constantly at her side ready to drop everything for her.
Chase is a very sweet compassionate character, no matter how hard his exterior or the wall that he puts up between himself and anyone who would like to get close to him. It is really easy to understand his reluctance to help Lacey out in the beginning, given how she and her ex-husband has affected his life for that past several years, but watching him melt and love Lacey was my favorite part. He is overly understanding of Lacey’s back and forth “I can’t be with you, let me jump your bones” personality, but when he finally makes up his mind to have her forever, the victory is so very sweet.
Outside of the Chase/Lacey relationship, there was a bit of action, and a few funny characters. I loved Annie, Chase’s niece, who is bound to either be a law enforcer or serial murder when she grows up. Kristal was the girl you were very happy to see get what she deserved. The best action, however, was the end/climax. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching all the pieces fall into place and having the story wrapped up nicely.
And now for a special treat! I was given the privilege of interviewing author, Joanne Kennedy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
JK: I’m a romantic who believes in love and happy endings. My contemporary Western romances celebrate small towns, wide-open spaces, and hot cowboys with big hearts.
As a child, did you have a favorite author? Book?
JK: I spent most of my childhood with my nose in a book, so it’s hard to pick just one! I read a lot of older books my parents passed down to me from their own childhoods. Gene Stratton Porter was one of my favorite authors; I loved “The Girl of the Limberlost” and it gave me my love of nature and open spaces. I also read my dad’s old Zane Gray westerns; Lassiter in “Riders of the Purple Sage” was my first and best cowboy love.
If you could live anywhere at any time (past, present, or future) what would you choose? Why?
JK: This sounds corny, but I love my life so I’d stay right here, right now. I guess that’s why I write about the modern West—it’s right where I want to be. I’d like to visit the old West and share the experience of traveling with a wagon train to start a new life, but I suspect that once I tasted the hardships of the frontier I wouldn’t want to stay long. I like my hot showers and warm bed!
Tell us one silly fact about yourself.
JK: If you’ve read my books, you know I love horses—but I am the worst rider in the universe. I’ve tried over the years, but I’m extraordinarily un-athletic and I always end up on my butt, watching the horse trot off into the distance. My cowboy friends tell me it’s not that easy to fall off a Western saddle, but somehow I always find a way. I love to groom horses, do ground training, even muck out stalls—but I stay out of the saddle.
If you could only own three books for the rest of your life, which three books would you choose?
JK: I have trouble getting through a weekwith only three books, so this would be a real challenge. I’d pick the Bible first, because it’s huge and you can read it over and over and find something new every time. I’d pick Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove because if I can only hang out with one fictional character the rest of my life, I want it to be Gus McCrae. And I’d pick Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study, which is another book I loved as a child. It’s a weirdly poetic and endlessly interesting encyclopedia from the 50’s full of birds and bugs and other critters. Mostly, I’m going for page count and word density, because three books is nowhere near enough!
What inspired you to become an author?
JK: Books have been such an integral part of my life. I was a shy child, and stories let me be whoever I wanted to be and go wherever I wanted to go. I always had stories in my head, and when I finally started to share them I was surprised to discover other people wanted to go along for the ride. Books have gotten me through some tough times. To be able to do that for other people is just awesome.
What has been the most difficult part of the writing/publishing process?
JK: Reviews! I’ve been lucky enough to have mostly good reviews, but it can be really tough to pour so much of yourself into a story and find out you disappointed someone who just doesn’t see the world the way you do. My relationship with my characters is probably not normal; I fall very much in love with them and if someone doesn’t like them, I’m hurt more deeply than I should be. Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful to the people who take the time to write thoughtful, honest reviews and help readers choose books that are right for them. But waiting for those responses on a new book is a real nail-biter!
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
JK: If you truly love to write, you’re probably good at it—or you will be with practice. Read a lot, take time to develop your craft, and don’t let anything deter you from following your dream. Ignore the nay-sayers and that inner voice that says you’re not good enough, but find people who will give you constructive criticism and be open to learning from them.
Of your own books, do you have a favorite?
JK: That’s like asking me to name my favorite child! I love Cowboy Trouble because it was the very first book I ever wrote, and the experience was just magical. I love One Fine Cowboy because it won me a RITA nomination, and because readers responded so wonderfully to the characters. I love Cowboy Fever because it let me use my experiences with disabled kids and horses, and because I really admire the heroine. And I love Tall, Dark and Cowboy because—well, that’s the next question.
What makes Tall, Dark, and Cowboy special to you?
JK: In some ways, this book saved me. I was having serious health issues when I wrote it (don’t worry, I’m all fixed now). I was in a lot of pain in real life, but every time I entered the world of the book all my troubles faded away. Chase and Lacey are so hot together I could barely get them to keep their clothes on, but they had a lot to learn outside the bedroom before they could be together. Wrangling those two stubborn people into a love affair was a real challenge, and it was impossible to dwell on my own problems while I was doing it. I hope the book does the same thing for readers.
I am giving away 2 copies of Tall, Dark and Cowboy! For your chance to win, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is for US and Canada only, and I ask that you be 18 or older to enter!