watching over an hour of barrel racing on the Cowboy Channel. (Okay, there
isn't really a Cowboy Channel but there ought to be!) Barrel racing, for those
of you not in the rodeo know, consists of riding a horse around barrels. And
that's it. And yes, you might well wonder what the attraction was for me. Well, on top
of those horses were cowboys. Leather gloved, jeans clad, Stetson wearing,
steely-eyed cowboys... and what romance reader worth her salt lick doesn't
have a place in her heart for a saddle tramp, an against-all-odds sheriff, or a
seemingly irredeemable hired gun? None that I know.
When western historical romances faded into the sunset I
grieved like Joey for Shane, hoping they'd return. Well, now they have! Yeehaw!!
Below you'll find a handful of some of my favorites, new and older.
Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin
This is everything, everything, you hope a western
will be! An edgy, driven heroine with an agenda teams up with a cynical, ex Civil War
sniper-turned-snake oil salesmen (literally), and together they go on a hell-bent-for-leather
ride across the American west. She's single-minded in her quest for revenge and
he's single-minded in his unwilling resolve to keep anyone from collecting the
bounty on her head. I'll be reading
this one again while I wait in delicious anticipation for the next Lori Austin
Where the Wind Blows by Caroline Fyffe
If you find yourself in the mood for a lovely, tender and yearning
sort of romance, boy howdy (points to me for cowboy slang!) do I have the book
for you. Weather-beaten, solitary drifter Chase Logan shows up at Jessie Strong's
door to deliver the news that her husband is dead but agrees to stay and pose
as her husband in order to facilitate her adoption of a little girl.
Alternately heart-breaking and heart-warming, it's the sort of feel good
western that leaves you sighing.
Bad Luck Wedding Dress by Geralyn Dawson
Filled with humor and charm, this Texan tale pairs
dressmaker Miss Jenny Fortune, creator of one extremely snake bit wedding dress,
with saloon owner Trace McBride, a widower with a trio of wild-child daughters
and a tragic past. Generally I'm not much
of a fan of kids in romances, but these three hellions are the exception. The
machinations they use to finagle Jenny and Trace into a marriage of their
convenience are fabulously entertaining, and the romance that blooms between their
two willing victims is over-the-top delightful.
The Last Renegade by Jo Goodman
In this book, Ms. Goodman had me at "shootist." And if, like me, you were
a Zane Grey junkie, not-so-secretly yearned after every cow-poke that rode
across your television screen, and thought the hero of High Noon embodied the
heights of manliness, she's got you, too. This story about a beautiful saloon
owner and her tough, hired gun sparks and sizzles through secret identities,
excellent dialogue, and threats posed by the de rigueur evil land baron. A