This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Cowboy Stole My Heart by Soraya Lane
Series: River Ranch #1
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound ◊ Books-A-Million
It takes true grit to build a billion-dollar dynasty like the Ford family ranch. But when it comes to finding love, all it takes is one handsome cowboy to steal a woman’s heart…
SHE’S RIDING SOLO
As one of the heirs to the River Ranch fortune, Mia Ford is practically Texas royalty. But that doesn’t mean she’s some pampered princess. She can saddle up and ride a horse as well as any man, even a hard-working cowboy like Sam Mendes. For years, she’s harbored a crush on the strong, silent horseman. But how can she make a move when she’s his boss?
HE’S TAKING THE REINS
Sam Mendes is through with love—or so he thought. Still recovering from a breakup, he’s doing everything in his power to resist Mia Ford. It’s bad enough she’s the kind of beauty who drives men wild with desire. It’s even worse she’s got him so worked up, aching to kiss her lips, when he’s supposed to be working her ranch. Is this lovestruck cowboy willing to risk losing his job—and breaking his heart—to win the girl of his dreams?
Cowboy Stole My Heart is the first book in the River Ranch series and it was exactly what I was expecting and that made me happy. This is a book that I loved and series I am absolutely going to continue reading! The characters in this book were memorable and the kind of characters I would want more of. They were flawed, honest, witty, sarcastic and even the animals in this story had character. Cowboy Stole My Heart was just a delight to read! I also enjoyed the setting very much. I could easily visualize the ranch setting and thought that the backstory for each of the characters was developed to perfection. I just loved reading this book!
Mia Ford is a woman who is used to people only seeing her for one thing and only wanting her for what she can give to them. She had grown tired of the labels people forced upon her and decided a long time ago that she was going to be her own woman and not be defined only by her family’s fortune. She had a love for horses that was nurtured by her mother and she had made a career for herself as a successful show jump rider. When she was not competing, she had her own house and stables where she kept her horses on her family’s property. It was here that she brought Tex, the horse that was a troublemaker but the one horse that she couldn’t bear to part with.
Tex was a grumpy horse and resistant to the point of being dangerous about behaving. It was because of Tex that horse whispering Sam Mendes was contacted. Sam had made quite a name for himself these last few years and he was getting a little tired of constantly being on the road. He was away far too much from his real passion, helping horses who were a challenge. When he received a message about a difficult horse from the Ford’s stables, he was intrigued. He wasn’t sold on the idea but he was curious to see this horse and maybe a little excited too. He thought maybe this is what he needed, a little time with a challenge, to re-energize the spark he felt was waning.
What Sam never expected was that he would be working for a pampered princess of the first order, well that was what he thought of her when he learned that the horse he was going to see belonged to Mia Ford. Quickly though, his original thoughts on Mia were blown away as he realized that she was nothing like what he imagined she would be. They were like oil and vinegar at the start but as they began to work together and set aside the differences they grew to respect each other. Both Sam and Mia had their reasons for being prickly and some of them were valid and others were just because they were stubborn individuals. Although, the better they got to know each other the more they realized that there was something deeper between them and it scared them both.
I adored the fact that this story, Cowboy Stole My Heart, had some actual cowboys and there was a great emphasis on the horses with this story. I really felt like this was a story with horse lovers who also were lonely people with a trail of heartache in their past. Mia was a great character and kudos to her for not becoming a simpering female just because a guy caught her eye. I liked Sam but I didn’t love him, he took too long to get his head on straight for me. I also very much appreciated that what developed between them and their story was more than just a few days of magic. Cowboy Stole My Heart was a fun and entertaining read that I highly recommend!
*Thank you to Netgalley & St. Martin Publishers for this eARC of Cowboy Stole My Heart*
Excerpt from Cowboy Stole My Heart:
Mia disappeared and he talked to the horses, wandering down the line to look at all of them. He’d only seen her ride the one, her favorite mare, but he had a feeling she was full of surprises, and her horses all looked impressive. When she didn’t reappear, Sam went looking for her, wondering what the hell was taking so long.
“Hey, do you need a hand back there?” he called out. He squinted in the half-light, dark compared to the full sun glare outside when he ducked through the doorway and into the tack room.
“Oh, shit, sorry, just give me a sec.”
He stopped. Sam stood in the middle of the small room, saddles and bridles covering every inch of wall space, and Mia pressed into one corner, her tears impossible to hide. “Hey,” Sam murmured, striding over to her. Hell, he hadn’t expected her to be crying. He’d thought she might need a hand carrying some gear out, but . . . he didn’t know what to do.
“I’m fine, please,” she said, holding one hand up to her face, the other stretched out in front of her as if trying to push him away before he was even close.
“You’re not okay,” he said, knowing how gruff he sounded but unable to help it. “Come here.”
She shook her head. “Please, I’m fine,” she managed, voice cracking.
“Your mom, huh?” he asked, knowing that there was no way in hell he’d managed to say anything to upset her this much. She was still grieving, he could see that from a mile off.
She nodded, dropping one hand, the other still covering her face. “Yeah,” she whispered. “It’s just I haven’t talked about her for a long time. She’s been gone twelve years so I shouldn’t be reacting like this.”
“Come here,” Sam said, not taking no for an answer this time as he opened his arms and pulled her in.
He held her, tight, letting her cry. She sobbed once, loudly, a noise that made his heart lurch for her, feeling her pain, before she went silent and relaxed in his arms. It had been almost a year since he’d held a woman like this; comforted a woman and held her and felt something for her. He stiffened. Only that woman had played him, ripped his heart out when he’d have done anything for her. Anything.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I’d tell you it’ll get easier, but I doubt it will.”
He didn’t sugarcoat things, even this type of thing, but he did feel for her. She’d tried to talk about her mom all nonchalant to him, laughing about her beautiful stables, when in reality it had torn her in half and left her crying all on her own. She’d lost her mom and her best friend as well; no wonder she’d been prickly when he’d tried to muscle in and take over with the one thing she did have— her horses.
Mia pushed back and he wished she hadn’t. He’d liked the warmth of her against him, the tickle of her long hair catching in his stubble as he’d inhaled her shampoo or whatever it was on her that smelled so damn delicious.
“Sorry,” she murmured, her hands to his chest as she stepped back. “I don’t ever let anyone see me cry.”
He believed it. She didn’t strike him as the type to let anyone see her vulnerabilities.
Sam glanced down at her, at her hands against his chest, at the way she was looking up at him, her eyes wide. Her mouth parted, tear-stained cheeks making her look so vulnerable that it tugged at something inside of him he’d thought was long buried.
“You’ve got nothing to apologize for,” he muttered, slowly raising a hand and brushing his thumb gently across her cheeks to blur the tears away.
Mia stayed still, her palms still planted against him, head tilted. He looked at her mouth, fought the urge to rub his thumb across her soft pink lips. Instead he dropped his hand, skimming past her long blonde hair on the way past. Sam bent a little, eyes on her mouth, imagining what her lips would taste like. He wanted to kiss her so damn bad, wanted to push her up against the wall behind her and kiss the hell out of her. But he didn’t.
He’d sworn off women for a reason, and sexy or not, he wasn’t about to take advantage of his boss up against a wall. Even crying she was beautiful, but he wasn’t going there. He couldn’t go there.
Her eyes were dancing, her lips were parted, her hands were slowly dropping away from his chest. But instead of closing the distance between them, instead of hungrily tasting her lips against his, he took her hands, stepping back and squeezing them.
“You take all the time you need,” he said instead, hearing the husky note of his own voice. “I’ll be out here.”
He walked out, ducking back through the door and out into the bright sunlight again. Goddamn it! What the hell had he just done? He’d always prided himself on being able to keep his shit together, and he’d let himself get way too close to Mia.