Courting Cupid

Deputy Daddy

The Right Cowboy’s Bed
by Charlotte Maclay
(Harl. American #821, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-16821-7
“Please, God, I don’t want to die a virgin!” As opening lines go, this one is pretty good, so I was optimistic that this book would be fun to read and, for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. The Right Cowboy’s Bed is the first of a two-part miniseries titled, ‘Caught With a Cowboy’. Part two, In a Cowboy’s Embrace, is due out in May.

The oldest and plainest of two sisters, Ella Papadakis has never had much luck in the romance department. After a close brush with death, she realizes how much she’s missing in her life. She ends up having a few too many drinks in order to calm down and before you know it, she’s planning to take drastic measures and devises a plot to rid herself of her unwanted virginity. I won’t give you any details because I don’t want to spoil the fun, but suffice it to say that Bryant Swain, the man to whom she loses her virginity has a twin brother…

One thing leads to another and Ella soon realizes that the man she went to bed with was Bryant, not his twin brother, Cliff. She makes a fast getaway thinking she’ll never see Bryant again, but as fate would have it, she discovers that she is pregnant. She decides to see Bryant again and tell him that he is the father of her child. Problem is, he lives in Montana and she lives in Los Angeles and she hasn’t seen him since their one-night stand. So Ella takes a leave of absence from work, gets into her little Miata convertible and drives out to Bryant’s Montana cattle ranch. Bryant is less than welcoming, but Ella perseveres and slowly a tentative relationship begins.

Although this story uses a lot of standard romance plot devices, they’re handled deftly enough that they don’t come off as too cliched. Ella is a likeable heroine and Bryant is the quintessential rugged cowboy; gorgeous, masculine and decent to the core. And there is enough chemistry between them to keep things moving along.

So, you may now ask, why only three hearts? I do have a few quibbles with this book. For example, Ella is a self-described plain-Jane who wears glasses, has ‘dishwater’ blonde hair and doesn’t get many dates. Bryant, however, thinks she’s beautiful and sexy. Now I know the hero is always supposed to be attracted to the heroine, and I for one enjoy a heroine who isn’t an ex-fashion model, actress or international beauty queen. I like the idea of the nerdy bookkeeper winning the day and getting her hunk.

However, even in the fantasy world of romance fiction, the characters still have to be believable. I needed a bit more explanation of why Bryant thought Ella was so sexy when the rest of the world didn’t. Presumably, it’s because his first encounter with her was so intimate, but this wasn’t quite enough to convince me. It would have been nice if we’d had a few more objective assessments of Ella’s attributes. Instead, we see her go from her plain-Jane life in L..A., to becoming a local babe in Reilly’s Gulch. Suddenly she’s an alluring ‘filly’ to the guys at Sal’s bar. The contrast was just too great.

Although the book is nicely paced and the scenes build well, it’s just a little too predictable. There were some nice twists here and there, to be sure, but it was too easy at times to tell what would happen next. In addition, the supporting characters were pretty one-dimensional.

Having said all that, The Right Cowboy’s Bed is a nice, fast read and entertaining enough to enjoy in your bed next time you want a little nighttime reading.

--Tina Nigro

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