Love You Forever is the first in the 'Cowboy Club' series. Our
fictitious Cowboy Club was a gathering place for movie stars when they
came to Red Rock, Colorado, to make Western movies. The club is left and is
still open, but the movie set has become a ghost town of sorts, with only
the movie facades left.
On her way to Red Rock, Colorado, to do a feasibility study to determine if
the old movie town can be turned into a successful theme park, Erica Ross
spots a cowboy standing on the side of the road, holding a gas can. Showing
city smarts, she won't give him a ride, but offers to tell the people where
he works that he's stranded. "I'm trying to be humane without being
stupid." Wow, somebody with common sense. However, common sense departs
when she does give the gorgeous hunk with the killer smile a ride. Good
thing this was a romance instead of a mystery or I might have been worried.
All this build-up of her using her smarts, and Wham! – she lets a sexy
stranger in her car.
The sexy stranded cowboy, Clay McCormick, turns out to be the owner of the
ranch where Erica is going. Clay's grandmother, a former Hollywood star,
wants to turn a nearby ghost town where movies were made into a theme park.
While Clay doesn't support the idea, he's not vehement in his opposition.
He just likes the West the way it is, uncrowded and without tourists
overrunning the area. If Granny has her way, all that may change.
In earlier reviews I've alluded to my concern for putting two characters
together who in real life would probably be incompatible: the animal
trainer and the person who's allergic to pets or the artist and the woman
who's color blind or . . . well, we've all read these improbabilities
before. Here we've got the same kind of situation with a slight twist.
Erica has Hepatitis C, a disease for which there is no known cure. She's
decided that she'll live her life alone, with no kids and no stress. Boy,
don't those two go hand in hand!
What makes this somewhat familiar is that Clay's first love died of
leukemia. Now he's reluctant to put his heart on the line again, knowing
that Erica does have a fatal illness. Erica is the biggest deterrent in
their blossoming relationship. Dumped by her fiancé when he found out about
her illness, she doesn't want that kind of ultimate rejection again, nor
does she want to put Clay through another trauma. I was relieved when she
did disclose her illness before it was allowed to be the Big
Misunderstanding. One of the reasons this book didn't jell for me was the
seeming ease when she walked away from Clay. She has a much harder edge.
Erica's harder edge is noticeable when she's around Clay. He's down to
earth, witty, and an all-around guy. He has a habit of quoting parts of the
Cowboy code, pithy sayings that I think are made up for the various
Rule six. 'If you've got to choose between ridin' a bull and arguing
with a stubborn woman, chose the bull.'
Rule nine of the Cowboy code goes like this–' Climbing in the saddle's
easy. The hard part's staying in it until you get where you're going.'
Rule one of the Cowboy code is revealed at exactly the right time–'When you
find the woman of your dreams, never, ever let her go.'
These are always uttered with that "Aw, shucks, ma'am" grin.
While I liked Clay very much, Erica's characterization was too dull, too
flat for me to really enjoy this story. Had she been more interesting, less
morose and drawn with more detail, then this story easily would have been a