Tuesday, July 4, 2017

ARC Review: Semper Fi Cowboy

Series:     Lone Star Leathernecks #1
Pub. Date:June 26, 2017
Publisher:Pocket Books
Length:300 pages

I don't read a ton of cowboy books... but Anna over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup piqued my interest, and I'm spending a month among the ranches and farms in Tucson and Yuma, so I figured this is a good time to read about men in Wranglers, Stetsons and broken-in boots. Heather Long is a new-to-me author, and one I will definitely be reading again in the future.

Captain Tanner Wilks is about eighteen years into a successful military career with the Marines when he gets the call that he must return home to the ranch to assist his ailing father, the Colonel. Feeling a familial duty doesn't quite overcome Tanner's resentment for his forced early retirement, and he delays the last portion of his trip home with a stop at the Silver Dollar for a burger and beer. Tanner quickly decides that there may be no better way to spend his last night of freedom than with the lithe brunette dancing the night away and rebuffing his advances. Tanner was a great hero... somewhat alpha male and someone who doesn't like to take no for an answer. I enjoyed watching him experience some personal growth as the story progressed, and he had quite the adjustment to make in learning how to deal with this woman, his injured comrade, and his ailing and stubborn father.

Julia Heller is the sole veterinarian in a small Texas ranching town, and she is struggling with being the new girl on the block. In an effort to earn (and keep) her client's trust and respect, she lives by several rules, one of which is that she doesn't date ranchers. I had to admire Jules' drive and work ethic, even if I thought that rule was a bit silly. She genuinely cared about all the animals she treated, and she never shied away from late night calls and difficult situations. I liked that she helped Tanner to understand the Colonel and Mateo, without being too preachy about his shortcomings and lack of understanding.

The relationship between these two started with a bang and never really slowed down. Even though Jules threw up her hand and said she didn't date ranchers, Tanner wouldn't take no for an answer and set out to woo her at every turn. Because this book took place over a relatively short time, I would categorize it as a tad instalove... but it wasn't an annoying shallow relationship. They talked and got to know each other quite a bit, and that helped distribute the focus away from the timeline.

As I haven't read a ton of books of the cowboy trope, I am glad that this southwestern setting wasn't in your face. They were working a ranch and the animals, but there wasn't any artificial honky tonk type stuff or stereotypical southern slang. Heather Long will definitely be an author that I revisit in the future.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Pocket Books.