Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-280-8
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Her Bucking Bronc sounds like a dirty title, and I suspect that’s the whole point of it. Unlike the other books in the author’s Devils on Horseback series, this one is set in the present day, and I don’t know whether this is the cause of the problem, but the whole thing is a joyless read.
Hannah Blackwood’s restaurant burned down shortly before the story opens, and Dylan Bennett is the architect contracted by her brother to rebuild the whole place. And that’s basically it for the whole story.
Our heroine is prickly, bitchy, confrontational, and stubborn. Dylan is stubborn, prickly, confrontational, and has a chip on his shoulder about being attracted to “a pair of tits”. Of course, he can always be attracted to, say, a pair of testicles, but I suppose there is neither here nor there. What I’m saying is that these two start out rubbing one another the wrong way, but I don’t understand why. Okay, maybe Hannah is in a bad mood as losing a fiancé in the past and now her business can do that to a person, but she is often being bitchy just because she could. It’s the same with him – he’s busy being the typical brooding cowboy stereotype who says things that rub the heroine the wrong way just because he could. Or maybe it’s because the story needs an excuse to keep the characters from shagging by page 6 and married by page 20. Both characters seem determined to be annoyed by the other person, hence the whole joyless feel of the story.
At any rate, I don’t get enough tender moments to believe that the romance will work. Just lots of scenes of our hero and heroine snapping and hissing at one another, while various secondary characters insist that the two of them are meant to be. Nothing buck exciting here, I’m afraid, just a reasonably readable story that doesn’t offer as much pleasure as it should.