I just looked at the cover and decided I wanted to read The Cowboy and the Cop. I haven’t read the author previously, and while this didn’t work completely for me, it was entertaining enough that I would read her again. Things kind of fell off the rails during the investigation into the cattle rustling, when there was just too much going on, making the plot hard to swallow.
Luke’s family has owned a large ranch for generations. After his mother is killed in an accident, his father goes off the deep end, giving away livestock and letting the ranch fall to ruin. To get away from the man he no longer recognizes, Luke and his brothers hit the rodeo trail. They are all fairly successful, earning big payouts, which are going to come in handy after Sergeant Amber Chapman tracks down Luke. Instead of a pleasant social call, she warns him that the ranch is about to be sold at auction for back taxes, his father is in rehab after being arrested for drunk and disorderly, and Luke hds best come home now and put things right. In the two years he’s been gone, the small town of Beaumont has fallen on hard times, now that the area’s largest employer and tourist attraction is in shambles.
And wow! What an intro! Rodeo cowboy has to ride to the rescue of his hometown. I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. Luke is dismayed to see the ruin of his family home, and though he originally had his doubts, he is determined to rebuild. His mother would be heartbroken to see the property in its current condition, so Luke rolls up his sleeves and gets to work.
The conflict between Amber and Luke felt a bit forced. Amber’s dad and brothers have always skated on just this side of the law, and rumors abound that they sell moonshine and run a chop shop out of their junk yard. Amber has made her dad promise to keep his nose clean, at least until she gets a job with the state police. She knows that her background will be thoroughly researched, and she’s terrified her family’s shady business will rob her of the job she so desperately craves. When Luke’s stock starts disappearing, the first suspects he thinks of are Amber’s family, so the tension between them is not always pleasant. And since Amber has arrested his father three times, Luke is a little miffed about that. I just didn’t find this conflict to be very believable.
Both Amber and Luke occasionally suffered from tunnel vision, which made for a rocky road for them. This was a very quick read, and despite my quibbles, it did keep my entertained on a Sunday afternoon.