May Contain Spoilers
Despite some minor irritations, I thought this was a great read. Lauren Danners is a young widow struggling to raise her son. She reluctantly moves in with her brother Jax, grateful for his generosity, but slightly resentful that she must rely on him. When Jax encourages Kyle to take up steer riding, Lauren has a whole new set of problems to focus on. What if her baby is hurt by a crazy steer?
Lauren mets Bren at Kyle’s first show. Bren is the town’s sheriff, as well as a retired Green Beret. After a miserable marriage to an ex military man, Lauren has sworn off another relationship with one. Bren, a more mature hero, is bothered by the 12 year age difference between them, and declares Lauren off-limits. Dating her might make waves for his re-election.
Bren forms an instant bond with Kyle. In him, Bren sees himself. Driven to succeed at his sport, and determined to learn everything he can about riding. Bren agrees to take Kyle on as a riding student – he coaches some local junior rodeo riders. Kyle is his youngest, brightest student. The only fly in the ointment is Lauren. He’s forced to interact with her, and his attraction to her is driving him crazy.
I thought the tension was well done. You could feel it crackling on the pages, as both protagonists tried to fight a losing battle. I loved this. What I didn’t love was Lauren’s constant hoovering over Kyle. She was afraid to let him do anything, and it made me nuts. She was afraid to let him take riding lessons (on a horse), and she was stressed to the point of nausea every time Kyle competed. I get it. Riding large animals that are trained to knock you off their backs is a dangerous hobby. So is learning how to jump a horse over fences. But the constant reminders of Lauren’s distress got old fast.
The other annoyance – the age difference. I didn’t see that it was a big deal. Bren was 12 years older. Big deal. They are both adults, Lauren is the mother of a 10 year old boy, so it’s not like he was dating an underage girl. This was a non-issue to me. Even though they lived in a small town with plenty of busy-bodies, I still didn’t see how this was major concern to anyone.
Other than those two niggles, this was an engaging read. Lauren had a lot of baggage to overcome from her marriage, but with the support of her brother, and her son, she works through her issues. Bren was a great hero; caring, patient, giving. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to Jax’s story, which I hope will be next.
Grade: 4.75 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book
Not His First Rodeo
Sheriff Brennan Connelly knows he should avoid anything that could hint at scandal while he’s running for reelection, such as falling for a gorgeous young widow. But despite the age difference and the political risks, Bren and Lauren Danners share a remarkable connection. And as he coaches her young son in the rodeo, the former Green Beret is drawn ever closer to her.
Lauren Danners may be young, but she’s long past the age of swooning over devastatingly handsome men. And Bren Connelly may be handsome, but Lauren has had her fill of men in dangerous jobs. To protect her son—and her heart—she tries to keep Bren at arm’s length. But whenever she’s around him, all she wants is to be in his arms!