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3 Stars / Contemporary / Review

A Cowboy and a Promise by Pam Crooks

Her determination fuels his desire

When her dying friend pleads for help to finish a renovation project, Ava Howell can’t refuse, even though her promise means leaving her new career and familiar life in New York to travel to a remote ranch in Texas. She’s good at what she does, and the ghost town vacation resort would look great on her resume, but it means tangling with the ex-military cowboy who is determined to stop her as soon as she arrives.

Beau Paxton needs to sell the land and ghost town to save his family’s struggling ranch. He’s a formidable enemy to Ava’s determination, but the harder she works, the more his attraction for her grows. He doesn’t want to set aside his plans so she can succeed at hers, yet he finds himself doing just that…

Will a promise bring a city girl and a sexy cowboy together? Or will a broken one drive them apart?

Title:A Cowboy and a Promise
Author:Pam Crooks
Series:Blackstone Ranch (Book 1)
Pages:240
Category / Genre(s):Contemporary
Trope(s):Cowboy Romance
Fish Out of Water
Opposites Attract
Point of View:
Location:Texas, US
HEA:✔️
Release Date:24th January, 2019
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A short and sweet read

I always enjoy a cowboy romance – especially an opposites attract. Here we have city-girl Ava coming down to Texas and sparring with rough and tumble cowboy, Beau. What gave it a little extra in this department was that Ava, while liking her city comforts, was very much an independent, well-rounded kinda girl who didn’t let country life phase her. It’s nice to see a familiar trope without the usual cliches.

Speaking of the characters – I very much enjoyed Ava. As I said, she was smart, sharp and sassy. Making it in the male-dominated world of architectural construction (or something like that!) but still coming across as vulnerable and very real – I could see myself being friends with her. When she was annoyed at Beau and giving him the silent treatment – but couldn’t stop being polite to him even if she growled it through clenched teeth; these little things made me root for her while also laugh at how likely it all was.

Beau was your typical cowboy – but that’s hardly a complaint from me. He wanted what he wanted – liked what he liked – and those traits made me like him. However, I felt that I only really got glimpses of his personality and his soul. I would have liked more of him.

“It’s nice to see a familiar trope without the usual cliches.”

Another reviewer put it perfectly when she said that the love declaration was a little abrupt. It surprised me so much that I actually scrolled back to see if I’d missed a few chapters. Up until that moment Ava and Beau seemed to only have spent minimal time together and had barely a few kisses. While I enjoy sex in my romance novels, it’s by no means something that I require in order to enjoy a story. Unfortunately, for this book, I felt that it was an element that was definitely missing. It needed something else – be it romance or sex – just to lift this to the next level for me. To make me truly believe.

Ava’s trip to Texas all comes about due to her friend’s death bed request. A death bed request that we hear about right at the start of the novel. That was a rough way to start a book and I debated giving up right there and then. It just hit too close to the bone to immediately read the death of a 20-something from cancer.

And I also didn’t see the need for the Donnie storyline in the book. It takes up only a little time in but I would have preferred to read about Ava and Beau rather than a random kid. Presumably his own journey will continue in other books but I would have been happy enough if those elements weren’t included.

The ending was cute as a button and overall I easily sped through this fairly short book (I would guess at about 225 pages as I can’t seem to find an official page count while writing this review). It didn’t hit all the marks for me but was a pleasant way to pass a few hours. 3 stars for a cute cowboy and city girl gone country.

Dear Reader,

While expecting my first child (more years back than I care to count), I read my very first romance novel, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. I grew up in the ranch country of western Nebraska, and it was inevitable I’d eventually write lots of books about cowboys. I still live in Nebraska with my husband (who is not a cowboy), four married daughters and a whole slew of perfect grandchildren.

I’m a long-time member of RWA and RAH, my local chapter. I’m also one of the founders of Petticoats & Pistols, a popular blogsite for western romance. I love to cook, hang out at my lake cabin, and decorate birthday cakes for anyone who will let me.

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Blackstone Ranch Series:

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