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In Cold River, sometimes forbidden love is the sweetest of them all…

Perennial good girl Amanda Kittredge knows that her longtime crush on Brady Everett was never really supposed to go anywhere. But when Brady comes home to Cold River during Amanda’s first attempt at independence, well, who better to teach her about rebellion than her older brother’s bad-boy best friend?

Brady’s plans did not include being forced to work the family homestead for a year–and yet, here he is. And, to make matters worse, his best friend’s innocent little sister is making a menace of herself in the most grown-up, tempting ways. When Amanda begs Brady to teach her about men, he knows he should refuse. But could Brady’s greatest temptation be his salvation?

Titles in the Cold River Ranch series include —  A True Cowboy Christmas – Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy – The Last Real Cowboy

Title:  The Last Real Cowboy
Series:  Cold River Ranch #3
Author:  Caitlin Crews
Genre:  Modern Western Romance
Published:  January 28, 2020
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
My Rating:  4 stars

The Last Real Cowboy is the third story in the Cold River Ranch series and brings us Brady’s story at last.  I had been looking forward to finally hearing Brady’s side of not only this year-long quest to decide the future of the family ranch, but what his real thoughts and emotions were about two brothers who really don’t support him much and spend more time talking down to him and not listening to his financial knowledge.  What I found was a story that has me torn.  While I liked most of Brady’s and Amanda’s romance there were attitudes going on here that I could have easily smacked people upside the head and not been the least bit sorry if their hat fell off into the mud… or a cow pattie.  Seriously.

The age difference between Brady and Amanda didn’t faze me, love comes where it comes in age, race, gender, so a ten year age gap wasn’t a big deal – but – the way Brady treated Amanda at times was not right by any stretch of my imagination.  I expect that crap from protective older brothers, not from the hero who is supposed to love a woman enough to fight for her.  I was… disappointed in Brady, and that affected how I viewed his romance and his troubles with Amanda and all the “brothers”.

In all, I’m divided on The Last Read Cowboy.  I loved parts of it, rolled my eyes at others, and while Brady did redeem himself somewhat that didn’t take away his earlier actions – for I don’t believe he’s learned the lesson he needed to get into his thick skull.  I believe that this is one of those stories where each reader is going to take away their own opinion – so, as always, don’t take a reviewer’s view of a book (after all, I’m just a reader, too) but pick up Brady and Amanda’s story and decide for yourself.  I liked it, I was also frustrated by the characters’ actions and that made a difference for me.

*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.*

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