Sunday, October 4, 2009

Review: Once A Cowboy by Linda Warren

Title: Once a Cowboy
Author: Linda Warren

Read copy: eBook
Published: February 1, 2007
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 1426830580
ISBN-13: 9781426830587

Brodie Hayes is a former rodeo star, now a rancher—a cowboy, through and through. But when he finds out some shocking news about the circumstances of his birth, he begins to question his identity. Luckily, private investigator Alexandra Donovan is there to help him find the truth about who he is. Along the way, he discovers that even a man who thought he'd be alone for the rest of his life can fall in love.

For Brodie, love was something you did once—and for always. But is Alex the type of woman who can take on a stubborn man like him? Because there's one thing about him that will never change, no matter what they find out about his past—once a cowboy, always a cowboy.

My rating:

Brodie Hayes is a former rodeo star, three times world champion, whose life unravels when P.I. Alex Donovan appears on his ranch, asking him to consent to a DNA test. Thinking it's probably some woman claiming he is the father of her baby, he's shocked to his core, when Alex informs him of a woman's claim that Brodie is her son.

With the test twice resulting 99.9% positive, Brodie is faced with a hard choice and an even harder journey toward self-discovery.

I was surprised how much I actually liked this story. The premise was heartbreaking, the story marvelously concocted and even better executed, skirting that fine line between "respectful" portrayal of a character's feelings and doubts and fear of getting into the cheesy territory.
The writing and style did this one justice, taking this delicate thing and making the reader actually enjoy the ride.

The characters were great, the romance perfectly proportioned and developped, the emotions tangible, and Brodie's fears and doubts even more so. I loved Alex and Brodie together, I loved how he realized she was his security blanked and knew there was something deeper between them, but refused to pursue anything further before he knew who he truly was...And wasn't afraid to admit it, didn't go all macho, but instead talked to her...Before getting the hell out of Dodge.

Yes, sadly the category-romance shadow was skirting this book from the very beginning (hence the fear of getting into cheesy territory), and it certainly would've been better if it was a normal (single title) book—the additional pages wouldn't have hurt, but still it was a rather remarkable peace of writing for a Harlequin story.
I don't read HAR books, but I'm really glad Harlequin decided to throw this one onto its freebie pile.


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