Grand Central Publishing, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4555-0815-0
Contemporary Romance, 2012
In Katie Lane’s Catch Me a Cowboy, we have a hero, Billy Wilkes, whose nickname is Bubba. He chews tobacco, spits them, and wipes the spittle on his face with his hand. Our heroine Shirlene Dalton is bedecked in designer clothes and shoes, but she’s headed back to the trailer park if she can’t get her act together and pay the bills. In this story, readers are taken to “the heart of Texas”, where culture, it seems, is just a step higher than Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
Shirlene’s much older husband recently croaked, leaving Dalton Oil and the family finance in shambles. Shirlene discovers that her husband mortgaged their house to allow some cash flow in the business, and her efforts to “manage” the finances after his demise only made things worse. When the story opens, she has one month to make payments to the bank or she’d be forced to move back to the trailer home in she grew up in. Still, she is determined to keep the state of the finances to herself, so she struts around town as if nothing is wrong while she figures out a way to solve her problem. Like all sensible romance heroines, she will attempt to adopt two wayward kids later in this story, because when she’s just one eviction notice away from homelessness, it makes sense to bring two emotionally damaged kids down with her.
Still, I have to admit that I like Shirlene. Sure, she’s not exactly smart, but in a way, she’s pretty capable at getting things done once she puts her mind to it. She has this eccentric kind of charm to her, and her heart is in the right place. Besides, I can’t resist her determination to keep going no matter what. Shirlene is a trooper with a big heart and warmth, reminding me of those characters typically played by Dolly Parton in those charming TV movies back in the old days. It’s too bad that in this story she’s being taken for a ride – in a bad way – by our hero.
Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy. Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but I don’t understand him. This guy is in Bramble to destroy the place by dismantling the economic life blood of the town, Dalton Oil. Yes, he is the one who is going to happily evict Shirlene too even as he sleeps with her. As the new president of the local bank who has not shown his face to the people around town, Billy has the luxury of being able to deceive the others into thinking that he’s just the local kid who has finally made his way back home after seeing the outside world. And he’s doing this because he blames the town for the death of a family relative… back in 1892.
Yes, 1892. And no, Billy is not a time-traveler from the past. He’s just here to avenge himself based on something he read in third-hand accounts. The rest of the story plays out familiarly: Billy realizes that he has fallen in love with Shirlene, the two kids she wants to adopt, the town, yadda yadda yadda, and yes, Shirlene does give him plenty of crap after she ruthlessly exposes his plot to the rest of the town. She takes him back only after he has made some sincere efforts at reparation. And I can believe that he’s loves Shirlene too.
Catch Me a Cowboy is actually a charming and funny story. I really had a good time reading this story and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of Honey Boo Boo Cowboy romance romps… were not for the fact that the hero went through all that trouble because he was mad about some perceived injustice that happened in 1892. I can’t get past this. I don’t know whether to laugh or think the man crazy. At any rate, I think this one’s alright. But next time around, Ms Lane should come up with a plot that Southern-challenged readers like me can relate to better.