Counting on a Cowboy – Debra Clopton – Four of Hearts Ranch #2 – Thomas Nelson – Published 11 August 2015
After losing everything she held dear, Abby never wants to love again. But a certain cowboy may just spur her to wonder if love might be worth the risk.
Running from a past that haunts her, Abby Knightly is drawn to the cozy town of Wishing Springs, Texas. Maybe this small town could offer hope and healing and a future for Abby . . . if she s brave enough to reach out and take it by the reins.
Bo Monahan isn t interested in the new romantic destination his little town has become or the women who might be looking at him like he s their next Mr. Right. Between taking care of his Pops and his growing stirrup business, he isn t looking for serious romantic commitments. But when the infant son he never knew about shows up at his doorstep, his world is turned upside down.
This confirmed bachelor might not think he needs a wife, but he sure needs help. Even Abby can see that, and despite her best efforts to keep her distance, she can t help but be drawn to this new father-son duo. As Abby throws herself into helping Bo navigate fatherhood, hope sparks between them, revealing that maybe, just maybe, they can navigate their dark pasts and emerge together into a future as bright as the Texas sun itself.
A cowboy set on not settling down, a lady desperate to get some distance from the horrors that have marked her life, a small, country Texas town and, certainly not least, a young infant left on the cowboy’s porch. This is a complicated romance, where broken hearts and stubborn wills battle it out.
When Abby sets out for her new life in Wishing Springs, she couldn’t have dreamed that her arrival would occur with such a bang. But that’s what happens when she is driving into town and crashes her car into a ditch and a fence trying to dodge an escaped bull and the cowboy to which it belongs. Getting wrapped up in the life of a handsome, and single, cowboy wasn’t in Abby’s plans to start over. But when Bo Monahan gives her a lift while her car is repaired she is present when his life is turned upside down with the arrival of a son he didn’t know he had sired. Complicated doesn’t begin to describe their relationship, and all that without even uncovering details of her recent heartbreak.
I enjoyed reading the first book in the Four of Hearts Ranch series, so I was eager to start this second book. While the stories do flow and share both a setting and a cast of characters, the books can both be read as standalones. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book like I did the first. While the premise sounded very promising- I love a bit of heartbreak and hard times with my romance and can’t resist a small town or a good-looking cowboy – I found the story to be a little overdramatic and the characters seemed a little two dimensional. I just couldn’t connect to the story.
I really felt for Abby. She has a tragic story but is determined to continue with her life as best she can. Meeting Bo and the circumstances that surround their meeting and his son’s unexpected arrival are hard on Abby. My problem lay with Bo. He annoyed me for some reason. He was too flippant about things. Or maybe it was his ‘I don’t want to get married, how dare you bring single girls to the area, but I can’t leave Abby alone’ attitude that got to me. I felt that Abby deserved better than Bo, and I don’t even believe in people being more or less deserving than others!!!! I felt like Bo’s issues were brushed over a little too easily. I should point out here that his actions weren’t the problem, just his attitude! Bossy and not very good at listening, the very definition of a stubborn cowboy. Unfortunately, he didn’t appeal to me at all.
The town setting we first see in book one of the series remains the same. I enjoyed the setting in book one, but felt that this book needed to expand a little, explore more of the town or people, cover different issues rather than the same ones in Betting on Hope. The same grief over Bo’s grandfather, the same meddling from Clara Lyn and Reba, and the same almost-relationship between Pebble and Rand were all done before and I was looking for something new to draw me into this book.
But it wasn’t all bad. Things infinitely improved in the last quarter, with more action and tension to speed things along. Again, faith is not a huge theme in the book, but there are a few mentions of God, God’s hand in things and forgiveness towards the end of the book. It wasn’t the right book for me, but those who like simple, clean romances might enjoy the developing romance between Bo and Abby.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Romance. Children. Grief. Small-towns. Ranch life. Family.
Published: 11 August 2015 by Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback, hardback, ebook, audiobook. 320 pages.