Review: 'Always a Cowboy' by Linda Lael Miller (2016)
He's the middle of the three Carson brothers and is as stubborn as they come—and he won't thank a beautiful stranger for getting in his way!
Drake Carson is the quintessential cowboy. In charge of the family ranch, he knows the realities of this life, its pleasures and heartbreaks. Lately, managing the wild stallions on his property is wearing him down. When an interfering so-called expert arrives and starts offering her opinion, Drake is wary, but he can't deny the longing—and the challenge—she stirs in him.
Luce Hale is researching how wild horses interact with ranch animals—and with ranchers. The Carson matriarch invites her to stay with the family, which guarantees frequent encounters with Drake, her ruggedly handsome and decidedly unwelcoming son. Luce and Drake are at odds from the very beginning, especially when it comes to the rogue stallion who's stealing the ranch mares. But when Drake believes Luce is in danger, that changes everything—for both of them.
I have to admit I never really understood the attraction of a rugged and brooding cowboy. Maybe this has to do with the fact I never really watched any westerns in my life, but I just didn’t understand the appeal. Until I stumbled upon Laura Lael Miller’s romance novels, that is. I’ve had the pleasure of reading several of her books over the last year or so and she is rightfully named the Queen of Western Romance, because it is a genre she does incredibly well. So when I was contacted about possibly reviewing 'Always a Cowboy' (the second part of the Carsons of Mustang Creek series that was released in September this year by HQN Books), I straight away said yes and looked forward to once again travelling to Wyoming, USA; this time to meet some new characters in the form of Drake and Luce!
Thirty-two-year-old Drake Carson loves his relatively quiet and predictable life at the Carson family ranch. However, when the farm is experiencing some problems with a group of wild horses, Drake also doesn't immediately know how to solve the situation. His mother invites researcher Luce to the ranch, who is working on her thesis on wild horses to eventually get her degree in ecology. From the start, Drake and Luce do not get along; Drake doesn't want Luce getting in the way of his work, and Luce feels restricted in her research possibilities now she's actually close to a real group of wild horses. Yet, both Drake and Luce can't ignore the chemistry between the two of them, and the problems at the ranch only force them to spend even more time together...
'Always a Cowboy' is the second part of Linda Lael Miller's 'The Carsons of Mustang Creek' series, which focuses on the three Carson brothers. In this book we get to know middle brother Drake, who is the typical handsome and brooding cowboy, working at the family ranch. When Luce comes to the ranch to do some research for her thesis on wild horses, Drake is reluctant to help at first but his feelings soon start to change. Linda Lael Miller is known for her western romances and rightfully so; with her writing she easily manages to take readers into the world of cowboys and ranches, which I really enjoyed even though I'm not necessarily a big fan of this particular genre. The author's writing is great and just makes some really enjoyable reading.
I really liked the fact that we got to see some familiar faces in the town of Mustang Creek from some other Linda Lael Miller novels, even though this book can also certainly be read as a stand-alone and without any further knowledge of the author's other books/series. I have to admit I did feel the book could have been even better with another aspect to its storyline, something else to keep the reader's attention, for example something about Luce's family. However, 'Always a Cowboy' is exactly what it promises to be; a feel-good western romance novel, perfect for romance fans who want a happy ending and nothing too complicated from their next read!