Welcome to Gold Valley, Oregon, a place of ranches, wide open spaces and picturesque towns, and the awesome backdrop to an uplifting and positively heart-fluttering novel from bestselling American author Maisey Yates who has a well-earned reputation for delivering unforgettable love stories.
In Smooth Talking Cowboy, she uses her trademark emotional insight and wicked wit to explore what happens when opposites attract, even if they couple in question aren’t quite sure that it was what they had expected.
Yates is a perceptive writer whose sassy, sexy, sparkling novels run much deeper than the average romantic confections and this contemporary cowboy cracker plays an old, tried-and-tested romantic formula to joyful perfection.
Olivia Logan has always tried to be the ‘good girl’ for her parents ever since her wayward twin sister Vanessa went off the rails as a teenager.
But ‘if there was a reward for being well-behaved, she hadn’t yet found it.’
It certainly doesn’t seem to have helped with her (now ex) boyfriend Bennett Dodge, joint owner with his brothers of one of the Gold Valley’s biggest ranches.
A month ago, Olivia broke up with Bennett to make him realise that he had to ‘commit’ or he would lose her. Problem is that he seems all right with losing her.
Olivia’s plan is to win him back by making him see what he’s missing but first she needs to find a man who is willing to play along with her game.
With his laid-back cowboy charm and knack for getting under her skin, Luke Hollister seems an unlikely hero even if he has always had the disconcerting knack of making her stomach flip.
In turn, Luke, who works on the Dodge farm, wants Olivia’s help in convincing her father to sell him some land so that he can fulfil his lifelong dream to own his own ranch and run it in the good, old-fashioned way.
Luke likes his life – and his women – to be uncomplicated and Bennett is like a brother to him. So why does prim and proper Olivia heat his blood like no one else? She has always been off-limits for Luke, but the more time they spend as Gold Valley’s hottest new ‘couple,’ the more real it starts to feel.
Luke was supposed to help Olivia win back another man… not keep her in his arms. But now that he has her there, he’s not sure he will ever want to let go.
Yates’ story offers a fascinating study of the culture, traditions and mindset of a small, gold rush Oregon town as well as an emotionally rich story with a cast of cleverly created and eminently credible characters as the fake courtship between Luke and Olivia slowly and deliciously evolves into an unexpected and passionate affair.
Both have personal problems in their past which continue to cast a long shadow but love really does conquer all for this entertaining couple as a little introspection and a lot of understanding lead them on the road to happiness.
Smooth Talking Cowboy is the ideal sunshine antidote to the dark nights and as an added bonus, Yates has tagged on Seduce Me, Cowboy, another sizzler set in nearby Copper Ridge.
(Mills & Boon, paperback, £7.99)