Brokedown Cowboy (Copper Ridge #2)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Several years ago, Connor Garrett lost his wife and ever since then, he’s done his very best to shut out the rest of the world. He concentrates on the family ranch working long and hard days and drinking enough to get to sleep. He’s plagued by nightmares and guilt, his thoughts never too far from the tragedy he has suffered.
Felicty Foster has been Connor’s friend for a very long time and she’s stuck by him even as he’s attempted to retreat from everyone. She regularly pops by for game night or under some other flimsy pretext, keeping an eye on him and helping out where she can. But then it’s Felicity who needs help – she needs a place to stay and so Connor invites her to move in to the main house on the ranch, just temporarily. Just until she sorts out her situation and can find somewhere else.
The only trouble is, having Felicity in such close proximity starts to stir feelings in Connor, things he hasn’t felt in years. Since his wife died he hasn’t had any sort of sexual interaction with a woman, hasn’t wanted it. But with Fliss around all the time, catching glimpses of her underwear, he suddenly finds it hard to get those images out of his mind. He suddenly begins to wonder what it might be like, with Felicity.
Fliss has managed to keep her raging crush on Connor a secret since she first met him in high school. She was friends with his wife and never once did she ever think about coming between them. But his wife has been gone a few years now and Connor has punished himself long enough. She wants to help him rebuild his life and she wants to be a bigger part of it than ever before. Friendship is no longer enough.
Brokedown Cowboy is the second full length novel in Maisey Yates’ Copper Ridge series. It focuses on another Garrett sibling, Connor who was introduced in the first book, Part-Time Cowboy. Connor has been barely living for the past few years, ever since he lost his wife in a car accident. Although the three Garrett siblings are close from their upbringing, even Eli and Kate’s patience with Connor has been stretched at times as he spends nights drinking and avoiding people. I knew given Connor’s past and his loss that this book would be darker than the first one but I didn’t expect quite how dark and kind of depressing it’d be. I thought Felicity might be able to coax him out of his struggle gently, one step at a time but it seems that Connor remains pretty stubbornly wallowing for a long time. I don’t mind a bit of angst and the tortured hero is often right up my alley so I found that part of Connor interesting, especially when he begins to realise that he’s having….sexual thoughts about Fliss when he hasn’t thought of anyone that way in years. Jack in particular has been telling him that he needs to get back on the horse (so to speak) but he’s never been able to, until Felicity moves in.
I liked them together – I thought Felicity had endless patience because Connor is quite trying at times and at others he’s quite thick. They had a good friendship and even though Felicity had had unrequited feelings for him for years she’d managed to keep them very well hidden and had never attempted to do anything about them. She’d dated herself and had boyfriends but none of them worked out. I think it’s quite difficult to tackle a romance where one of the main characters has had a previous spouse die. A lot of romance relies on the ‘true love’ thing where the hero and heroine experience something new and better with each other. It’s a challenge to do that without cheapening the relationship that Connor had had with his wife. It’s painted as definitely not perfect – in fact that is part of what haunts Connor, the ways in which he believes he failed his wife when she was alive.
My only real criticism of this book is that the ending felt so rushed. Connor is so stubborn throughout the whole story, not moving an inch towards admitting actual feelings for Felicity and so she leaves and then he has his change of heart but it all felt so fast and like a lot more really could’ve been done with that realisation and Connor making his amends to her. This isn’t a really short book at all, there would’ve been plenty of room to explore that a bit more and have not all wrapped up in a few pages. But apart from that, I enjoyed their story and I look forward to the third one which is about Eli and Connor’s younger sister Kate.
Book #66 of 2015