Cherish Me, Cowboy by Alissa Callen

In brief: Payton is a cowgirl who doesn’t need anything. But when Cordell helps her with a new calf, then needs a place to stay…well, things might just change.

The good: There are loads of things going on – including a mention or two of the characters in Rachael Johns’ Tease Me, Cowboy.

The not-so-good: I’d love to hear more about Rhett, even if he is a bit of a bad boy.

Why I chose it: Really enjoying this series. Thanks to Tule Publishing for the eARC.

Year: 2013

Pages: 130 (eARC)

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Setting: Montana, USA

My rating: 8.5 out of 10

Cherish Me, Cowboy has the distinction of being part of not one, but two series of cowboy/cowgirl themed books by Tule Publishing. It’s the second book in the Montana Born Rodeo series (you can read my review of the first book, Tease Me, Cowboy by Rachael Johns here) and the first book in the Wildflower Ranch series (all of which are written by Alissa Callen). Tule books are always a fun read, and Cherish Me, Cowboy is no exception.

Payton is a cowgirl down to her bones – after the death of her parents, she’s had to be. Times are tough, with drought playing havoc on her ranch. She doesn’t need a man to slow her down but when on the way home from a wedding she needs to do farm work, she ties up her dress and gets down to work. Cordell, a man looking for some land for cattle to graze on, just happens to drive by and offers to lend a hand. Payton helps him to sweet talk neighbour Henry for the land (there may have been a cookie bribe involved), but there’s a catch- Cordell needs to live with Payton at Beargrass Hills Ranch while he gets himself organised. That sparks off an attraction between them and as they fall in love, secrets will be revealed. But will either of them let down their guard to reveal their feelings?

Cherish Me, Cowboy is a sassy read. Payton doesn’t take any guff from anybody, be it her friends or Cordell. She’s got a spine of steel but Callen demonstrates her vulnerability in subtle ways. Plus, she’s not afraid to act girly (even though Payton hates strappy sandals with a passion – give her boots any day). Cordell is a worthy hero – he’s kind and good in a crisis. Plus, he’s not afraid to take Payton’s would-be suitor, Rhett, to task when he goes off the rails. (I thought Rhett was rather cute despite being easily led to run with a bad crowd. Obviously all he needs is a good woman and a story of redemption, which is in Her Mistletoe Cowboy, book two in the Wildflower Ranch series). But of course he’s got secrets – quite a few to go through in this book. Some of the later reveals seemed pretty jam-packed into the pages, but it didn’t feel incomplete. Henry, a grumpy old rancher hiding a talent for matchmaking was also a standout in this book. I loved reading his interactions with Cordell and Payton – he’s gruff but you know he would do anything for either of them.

I think Tule books are going to be one of my go-to reads for holidays. The stories are light, but they never fail to entertain. The plots are multi-layered and you get a happy ending. What more could you wish for?

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