May Contain Spoilers
Patricia Johns is a newly discovered author for me. She’s written a number of Harlequin Love Inspired Romances, but she didn’t hit my radar until she started writing for the Western Romance line. I loved Her Stubborn Cowboy, and she is a must read for me now.
Avery has traveled to Montana to meet her biological father. But things don’t go as planned because instead of just introducing herself as the daughter he didn’t know he had (talk about awkward!), Avery applies for a cook position that Louis Harmon is advertising for his ranch. Since there have been no other bites on the job, Louis gives Avery the position. She thinks that she can get to know her father on the sly while working for him. What she isn’t equipped to handle is prepping meals for 35 hungry ranch hands!
Afraid his qualified held will start quitting because the food is so awful, ranch manager Hank Granger agrees to give Avery a hand and show her the ropes in the kitchen. He has a feeling that she’s not being honest about her true intentions, and let’s face it – who would apply for a job feeding an bunk house of hungry cowboys when they hate to cook? When Avery admits that she’s only in town for two weeks, Hank is even more suspicious about her motives.
I really enjoyed Her Cowboy Boss. Avery is reeling from her mother’s death, and when she learns the identity of her father, she is determined to establish some kind of relationship with the only family she has left. But when she gets to Hope, and starts asking questions about her mother’s high school days, she discovers that the young woman who grew up in Hope isn’t the same woman who raised Avery. Her attempts to reconcile herself to her mother’s past struck a chord with me. Avery is so desperate to learn about her mother, and the secrets that she’d been keeping from her, but the answers aren’t what she expected, or even wants to hear. She’s even more confused and, honestly, a bit bitter that her mother was so secretive about her past.
Through her uncomfortable discoveries, Hank is an anchor for her. They are undeniably attracted to each other, but the ranch has a strict no dating rule, and breaking it would mean both of them getting fired. Hank is also still grappling with his divorce, and he isn’t ready, and doesn’t think he will ever be ready, to trust someone with his heart again. Avery is a romantic, who still believes in true love, and she won’t settle for less. Hank can’t give her something he doesn’t believe in.
Both protagonists have baggage to overcome. Both of them are relatable. Both Hank and Avery have a steady worldview that needs to be challenged before they can find a HEA, but once they accept that maybe do need to change their outlook on life, and their expectations for the future, I was convinced that together, they could overcome any challenge.
Grade: 4 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book
A SIMMERING ROMANCE
Avery Southerly has finally met her biological father…sort of. Instead of properly introducing herself, she took a job as cook at her dad’s ranch in Hope, Montana. There’s just one problem: Avery can’t cook! Luckily ranch manager Hank Granger agrees to help, and things quickly begin heating up in the kitchen.
But romance is not on the menu—Hank could be fired for fraternizing with an employee, and Avery is only in town to get answers. Then she’s headed home to Kansas, where she truly belongs. Hank is determined to help Avery discover the truth about her past. Yet the more time they spend together, all he can see is the future. He just needs to help Avery do the same!