Walker Everett spends his days at the Crossroads Ranch wrangling cattle-and steering clear of anything that would complicate his already too-complicated life. Until Violet Chastain, the ranch’s newest employee asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend for her parents’ anniversary party. She’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever met and needs his help. How can he refuse?
Violet isn’t about to fall for a brooding bad-boy cowboy, no matter how sizzling their chemistry. But she also never expected Walker to go along with the charade. Before long, he’s charming her parents at their weekly dinners and kissing her way more than necessary. Spending so much time together tests the limits of their “just friends” relationship, but what happens when their game of pretend becomes all too real?
Titles in the Crossroads Ranch series include — Second Chance Cowboy – Saved by the Cowboy #1.5 – Tough Luck Cowboy – Hard Loving Cowboy –
Includes the bonus story Rocky Mountain Cowboy by Sara Richardson
Title: Hard Loving Cowboy
Series: Crossroads Ranch #3
Author: A. J. Pine
Genre: Modern Western Romance
Published: March 26, 2019
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
My Rating: 4.5 stars
HARD LOVING COWBOY is the final story in the Crossroads Ranch series and I’m sad to see these characters go… but have hopes to see them again in cameos in another series (according to the author). If you’ve read the entire series then you know of Walker’s battle with alcoholism, even before he acknowledged that problem and, of course, the brothers’ father was mentally and physically abusive toward them before they were removed from his influence by a family member. I hope that you aren’t starting the series here because you’ll miss some amazing stories and information about this family’s background — but if you are, then be aware that there are possible triggers of former child abuse and alcoholism in Walker’s and Violet’s story.
I found HARD LOVING COWBOY to be a combination of light romance and darker moments. I completely enjoyed this story and was thrilled to see Walker’s recovery and happy future, but to get there he and Violet have to go through some rough waters. I believe to get the full impact of this story you need to experience it firsthand. While I may have some questions, it’s not fair to voice them before other readers get the chance to form their own opinions.
So, simply said, this is a deeply emotional romance with a hero who is facing his sobriety on his own in so many ways, and a heroine who is dealing with not only her own heartache but a family medical situation that she is trying to help resolve. They both have secrets that they aren’t sharing but their chemistry easily moves them from the fake relationship to facing what they each feel for the other. I liked them as a couple and have high hopes for their future. The rest you should read for yourself.
I would not hesitate to recommend any of the stories in the Crossroads Ranch series to readers who like to go a bit deeper into the emotional side, enjoy a good solid romance and loves engaging secondary characters with the hopes that they will get their own story one day.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available in paperback and for the Kindle