Rouge, £3.99, ISBN 978-0-753541-56-2
Contemporary Erotica, 2007
I apologize for being late with this month’s TBR Review Challenge – I had to make an unscheduled trip abroad, and everything had to be delayed by a few days as a result. The theme this month is either sweet or spicy, and it probably says something about me that I have far more spice than sugar in my particular TBR pile. And given that Where Have All the Cowboys Gone is published under the Rouge X imprint – behold the X, people – which promises a “red hot romance just got steamier”, I fully expect something to raise the temperature a bit. Well, the temperature does raise a bit while reading this book, but that’s due more to my blood pressure than anything else.
Lauren Redstone celebrates winning a lucrative business contract in Las Vegas by getting so drunk that she trips and falls onto our hero Grayson Turner. She’s so hot, and I suppose the alcoholic fumes only adds to the appeal. Mind you, on his part, it’s love at first sight, maybe because every cowboy dreams of marrying a drunkard. It isn’t hard to get her naked and all – alcohol, Vegas, et cetera – and he even asks her to marry him. She agrees, because she wants to be independent and break free from her father, and marrying another overbearing control freak is the most sensible way to do it. I wish I’m joking, but I’m not. Kate Pearce is doing a good job in convincing me never to even entertain the idea of going to Las Vegas.
Anyway, once she wakes up the usual justifications set in to ensure that romance readers will not see Lauren as a whore who indulges in one-night stands. (It’s totally sexy when the hero does it with those whores, though.) You see, she has issues with her father, and now she has involved an innocent bystander in her daddy drama, so she must flee! Grayson doesn’t mind, though, because he knows that she’d be back. Once she’d gone cowboy, she will never go back, et cetera.
Indeed, six months later, Lauren agrees to spend a weekend with Grayson, since he’s not giving her a divorce otherwise. And instead of wooing a woman he wants in his life with flowers and diamonds, he just whips it out, sticks it in, and wags it all around while telling her he has all rights to her body, she will do ranch work or she can walk all the way back to the airport, and generally being a commandeering douchebag that makes all her decisions for her while smugly telling her that she’s not going to be able to survive without a daily rogering from him. There are many bizarre sexy times, as it seems like every little thing is a signal for them to drop everything and start shagging. She can be mad at him, but in the next heartbeat she will get horny and starts asking for it.
As for the cowboy thing, well… the ranch is a basically a big mansion equipped with the most modern amenities around. He has people to do all the housework for him. I suppose I should be glad that the author doesn’t even try to pretend that cowboys are sexy – Grayson here is basically another Harlequin Temptation control freak millionaire with a cowboy hat.
As for the romance, well… Grayson for some reason already has this perception of Lauren as the woman for him, the right woman, blah blah blah, just because he talked to and later screwed her while she was intoxicated. I don’t know how he knows – maybe his penis is magical and can somehow “read” the inner workings of the person it is stuck inside. Lauren comes off as a neurotic whackjob who doesn’t know what she wants – apart from the peen – and is overloaded with contrived, unrealistic daddy issues that force her to get all codependent on Grayson. And yet, he describes her as passionate, trustworthy, a “real woman”, et cetera. What I see and what he says are completely different. Then again, it probably doesn’t matter, since he will make her be whatever he wants her to be, and she’s too pathetic to have any say in the matter.
The sex can cross over from erotic romance to erotica now and then. There is a threesome scene here, but given that Grayson practically sets it up so that he can get off on the idea of Lauren getting it on with another woman, I can’t enjoy it as by that point, Grayson is like the puppet master that pulls all of Lauren’s strings. He also gets off on the idea of her parents knowing, just by looking at her, that she has been “fucked by a cowboy”, which again makes me cringe because the power imbalance between the hero and the heroine makes all this “I’m a cowboy with a huge peen and you are a woman who will do everything I say, because I know you need my peen!” so-called sexy nonsense more eeeuw than ooh. The author does the usual trick of making the heroine quip sassy things now and then to create this illusion that the heroine is feisty, but come on. He just has to wave it at her face and she’s all his to do as he pleases.
Ultimately, Where Have All the Cowboys Gone is tailor-made for fans who like a domineering douchebag hero that overwhelms the story and makes the heroine seem like nothing more than a prop stuck on his private parts. If that’s your thing. enjoy. If not, let this cowboy stay gone.