Shoulda Been A Cowboy (Copper Ridge 0.5)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Cassie Ventimiglia doesn’t have much. She’s been through a divorce and come out with nothing but she’s managed to build a small business and she’s proud of it. Cassie rents shop space for her cafe and an apartment above but when her landlord dies, that brings his estranged son, Jake Caldwell back to town.
Jake was the resident high school bad boy – tattoos and a reputation. Cassie tutored him in maths and although she had a huge crush she never did anything about it. Jake left not long after and Cassie hasn’t seen him in about fifteen years. But now Jake is back to settle his father’s estate – and that includes selling the building Cassie rents.
Jake has stayed away from the tiny town he grew up in for a long time. It held nothing but bad memories of a sad childhood and a past he couldn’t wait to forget. Forced back by his father’s death Jake is surprised to run into one of the only people who really seemed to see him in high school, Cassie Ventimiglia. All those years ago Jake did the right thing and kept his hands off Cassie, who had good girl written all over her. But second time around it’s proving to be difficult, especially when Cassie makes it pretty clear she wants his hands on her.
But Jake’s back in town only briefly and his visit could take away everything Cassie has built for herself. What’s meant to be a quick arrangement suddenly looks much more attractive for the long term…if Jake can ever lay the ghosts of his childhood to rest.
This novella is a prequel to Maisey Yates’ new series Copper Ridge, the first of which, Part Time Cowboy is due out later this month. This one is a short but quite sweet story that introduces readers to the town and a couple of its residents. We meet Cassie who is thirty-two and divorced, rebuilding her life. She has her own business, a cafe although for her mother, the most important thing is finding a man and getting married. For Cassie though, she’s missed out on many things because she’s lived her life to please other people. Getting out on her own and starting the business is just the first way in which she does things for herself. The second could be Jake Caldwell.
Cassie seems a bit stuck in her life, she’s looking to break out in a way and she figures that the perfect way might be a dalliance with Jake, the former bad boy of her high school years. Jake is an interesting character, he’s done a few things that he’s not proud of but he got out and made something of himself. Jake has a plan, something that will prove that he’s successful, to other people but more importantly, to himself I think. He is very focused on this plan and to achieve it he needs capital, which means selling the building that Cassie lives and works in. This fires Cassie up pretty good as she knows that she probably wouldn’t be able to afford to lease another premises. The two of them have some really good chemistry that’s not just sexual. Both of them seem to have something the other needs – Jake encourages Cassie to break out of the mold she’s kind of been forced into for most of her life and Cassie provides Jake with a kind of supportive influence. Someone who believes that he’s more than the badboy who did things wrong when he was younger. It’s easy to see that both of them complement each other.
I really enjoyed this story although it’s super short and because of that it does seem a bit rushed to the whole falling in love thing. I’d have liked a little bit more time to see Jake and Cassie becoming reacquainted. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series though – have to admit I have a soft spot for those romance series’ set in a small town and I love the idea of Oregon as the setting for this one.
Book #46 of 2015