Ex-champion bull rider-turned-cutting-horse cowboy Joe Daniels isn't quite sure how he ended up sleeping in a horse trough wearing nothing but his Stetson and cowboy boots. But now he's wide-awake, and a citified woman is glaring down at him. His goal? Get rid of her ASAP. The obstacle? Fighting the attraction he feels toward the blond-haired filly with the big, vulnerable eyes.
When out-of-work wedding planner Mariah Callahan learns that her estranged father has left her a rundown ranch in Jubilee, she has no choice but to accept it. Her goal? Redeem her career by planning local weddings. The obstacle? One emotionally wounded, hard-living cowboy who stirs her guilt, her heartstrings, and her long-burned cowgirl roots . . .
Ms. Wilde is a new-to-me author, but I was intrigued by the sweetness of this contemporary romance, so I decided to take a leap of faith. What I received was a sweet romance -- a win-win situation!
Mariah Callahan's father, Dutch, passed away. He and Mariah weren't close -- he had actually abandoned Mariah and her mother -- but his only child was never far from his thoughts. He left his entire ranch to her upon his passing, and given that Mariah's lost her job in Chicago, she believes it's a good time to take in exactly what her father loved more than her.
Joe Daniels is Dutch Callihan's best friend. He's mourning the loss of his young wife and now Dutch's unexpected death has pushed him toward depression. He has big dreams for the cutting horse he and Dutch trained together, so he believes Mariah cannot wait to sell Dutch's property and return to her big-city life.
The Cowboy Takes a Bride is a novel of mistaken impressions. Everyone from Mariah to Joe to the secondary characters involved make wrong assumptions about a specific party, yet continue with their respective beliefs until proven wrong. There are two sides to every story, Clover tells Joe when he complains about Mariah's treatment of Dutch, but Joe isn't convinced of this until Mariah confesses Dutch left she and her mother. We see all the characters grow, personally and in love with their perfect partner.
(A very special thank you to Avon and HarperCollins for an ARC of The Cowboy Takes a Bride.)