The Cowboy Takes a Bride
By Lori Wilde
Released Date: March 27, 2012
Mariah Callahan has spent eleven years as an assistant to the best wedding planner in Chicago, and then she’s fired, blackballed, and standing in unemployment lines. Just when things are their bleakest, Mariah gets a phone call telling her that her father is dead and she has inherited his ranch. Her father walked out on her and her mother the week before Mariah’s seventh birthday, and Mariah has seen him only once since then, an unannounced visit when she was fourteen that was a major embarrassment for her. But maybe her inheritance can be sold for enough money to set Mariah up as competition for her former boss. With this plan in mind, Mariah leaves for Jubilee, Texas, cutting horse capital of the world.
The first person she encounters in Jubilee is a drunk, nearly naked cowboy in a gold-plated horse trough. The drunk is Joe Daniels, who has used alcohol to escape from the pain of losing his friend and mentor, Dutch Callahan, two years to the day after the death of Joe’s wife, Becca. Joe and Dutch shared a dream of Some Kind of Miracle, a hose Dutch found and trained and that Joe owned and rode, winning the $400,000 purse of the Fort Worth Triple Crown Futurity. Dutch’s death just gives more impetus to the dream. Joe can’t believe the attraction he feels for Dutch’s city kitten daughter. She’s all wrong for him. Mariah is not any happier that she can’t seem to get the sexy cowboy with a smart mouth and a kind heart off her mind.
On the surface, Mariah and Joe are all wrong for each other. She’s a city girl who has never belonged anywhere. She believes her mother is the only person who ever loved her, and her mother, having found her true love late in life, is living happily with him in Argentina, unaware of the dire straits her daughter is in. Mariah is convinced that her only hope for happiness is selling her inheritance quickly and getting out of Jubilee. She fears Joe is a man cut in the pattern of her father. She has no intention of taking second place to a horse again. Joe’s Texas roots are deep. His land belonged to four generations of his forebears, and Joe can’t imagine living anywhere else. His grief over his wife’s death almost broke him, and he is convinced Becca was his one true love and that he will have no second chances. Can these two very different people, both fearful of risking their hearts, move past all that separates them to accept the love that can heal the wounds of the past and offer a happy future?
Joe and Mariah are likeable characters. It’s easy to understand their caution about each other, and the two-month period that Joe needs to buy the land from Mariah gives them time with each other, time to change Mariah’s mind about Jubilee, and time for their passion for each other to become greater than their fears. From the beginning, the exchanges between the two are funny and smart without detracting from the emotional appeal of a plot that includes a great deal of sorrow. There’s a strong secondary plot involving Joe’s former sister-in-law and life-long friend that substantively adds to the book’s appeal.
This is the first book in a new series for Wilde. Readers who enjoyed Wilde’s Twilight, Texas books and readers who are fans of the small-town subgenre will want to add The Cowboy Takes a Wife to their reading lists. Based on the first book, the new series will have the charm and colorful characters that made the Twilight series popular.
Are cowboys your weakness? Or do you prefer more polished heroes?