Tuesday, August 7, 2012

From Rodeo Star to America's Bachelor: "Bet On A Cowboy" by Julie Benson

Love Is The Wild Card . . . Commitment phobic Colorado cowboy Griffin McAlister has it all figured out. Do the reality dating show, get the money his family desperately needs and go on with his life. Actually falling in love was never part of the deal...least of all falling in love with the show's spunky director.

 Maggie Sullivan knows she's found a star the minute she meets Griffin. But as she gets to know the man behind the dimples, she realizes she might have found something more. It doesn't matter, though; she has a job to do. Besides, how could he ever notice her while he's busy wooing ten gorgeous women? Now Griffin has a choice to make: stick with the plan and lose Maggie forever, or risk everything for a chance to win her heart!

He's a former rodeo star, in line for a Professional Bull Rider's championship, literally leaving his closest competitors "in the dust."  But severe injuries in a terrible auto accident ended that dream and effectively ended Griffin's sense of self-worth, his dreams of being a contributing member of his family, his sense of being someone who could hold his head high.  Yes, his family loved him, but he had passed over a college education and was now working the family ranching operation, just another ranch hand.   His brother had brought in a nice chunk of change due to a modeling contract, so Maggie Sullivan's offer to  make him the bachelor every man in America envied--rejected outright at first--began to look pretty good when he found out how much money he could make to help pay for his mother's costly cancer treatments.  The problem?  He really didn't want a wife--the ultimate goal of the TV show.

Maggie was a dedicated woman--dedicated to her job and dedicated to saving sufficient money so that she could have a child through the miracle of modern artificial insemination.  She had finally given up on the possibilities of having a child the "normal" way and had no illusions that anyone like Griff could ever see her past the 10 beautiful women who would fill his life for 10 weeks.  So she just did her job, working hard to keep her focus on the demands of the "higher ups," while working very hard to protect her heart from the pull of the most beautiful man she had ever encountered.

This is truly a fun read, filled with ups and downs emotionally, fun and joy, sadness and pain, hopes and hopelessness.  It is a story set against the close ties of family, the deep love of two men for their ailing mother, and the deep feelings that come from dreams realized and dreams lost.  It is easy to read in the sense that it is well written and the story flows from scene to scene.  The characters have the sheen of realism, especially as the reader sees the development of the story mostly through Maggie and Griff's eyes.  There were tears from time to time followed close on with chuckles.  The women of the TV show were unbelievable at times, yet most of us recognize people with that sort of unrealistic expectation, especially those of us who live in Southern California.  It's just a very good story and a fun read.  I think lovers of fun romance stories will enjoy this novel.  I give it a rating of 3.75 out of 5.

This novel was released by Harlequin in June, 2012.

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