Other C. J. Carmichael reviews can be found in the Archives.

Colton: Rodeo Cowboy
by C.J. Carmichael
(Harl. Am. Rom.#1413, $5.25, G) ISBN 978-0373-75417-5
There is nothing more American West than rodeo and C. J. Carmichael has given us the type of hero that fits the bill. Colton Hart is a rodeo star, riding bulls bareback and helping his family to raise horses for the bronc-riding. And Colt has also been a love 'em and leave 'em kind of cowboy. He isn't necessarily proud of that fact, but he fights hard against the stereotype people think about when they hear about his rodeo success.

Colt is ready to spend more time at home and hopes that he can convince his mother and older brother to take one of their primary investments - a horse named Midnight - into the ring again to help him sow some of his wild oats before being relegated to the stud service he was bought for.

Colt has another surprise when he gets home. His best friend from high school has returned home after a rough divorce with two children in tow. Leah Stockton has fond memories of Colt, but can't get involved with another cowboy who likes to stray. She had that with the father of her children and doesn't want the heartache of that again. But she values Colt's friendship. If she has to ignore those sensual feelings that keep popping up, then that is what she will have to do.

This story has some depth to it. Colt has a secret that is fairly easily guessed but isn't revealed until more than half way thru the story. This is a secret that he has to deal with before he can convince Leah that he is a changed man and can be the man she is looking for as a husband and as a father to her two little ones. There is family history and readers of the Harts of the Rodeo series will be more entrenched in the family dynamics, but it isn't a prerequisite to enjoy Leah and Colt's tale. Leah is a good heroine, although she has some issues to work through before she can be open to hearing Colt's change of heart and be ready for their HEA.

I did enjoy their bantering and the heat between them was palpable.There were times the story dragged, as there wasn't much activity; then it would pick up for a few chapters. This made the reading a bit uneven, although the storyline was generally interesting. Carmichael has written a tale that will entertain the reader and, after all, that is what one looks for in a category romance.

--Shirley Lyons

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