Cowboy Fever
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My regular readers (I do have regular readers, I hope) might remember that I’m a loud and proud Navy wife. One of the occupational hazards of military life is the constant moving around. In the almost eight years of my marriage, I’ve lived in five houses in three states, with another move looming on the horizon just a few months from now. I’ve learned to appreciate the local flavor in each place I’ve lived, whether it’s the southern gentlemen from our time in Virginia or the salt-of-the-earth “townies” here in Rhode Island. When we were first married and got stationed in Pensacola, Florida, though, I discovered the cowboy. There’s just something wholesome and rugged about the archetype of the ranch hand that I find very appealing. So I was excited to download Cowboy Fever by Joanne Kennedy to my Kindle.

Jodi Brand was the sweetheart of her small Wyoming town. One part pageant queen, one part girl next door, and all woman, she was expected to leave town after high school and never look back. But Jodi returns after college with plans to open a therapeutic horseback riding clinic. The first person Jodi runs into is Teague Treadwell, the first man she ever slept with and the one who got away. When they were young, Teague was branded “white trash,” since he lived in a trailer with his abusive parents. Nobody expected him to amount to anything, but Teague proved everyone wrong, turning his life around and becoming a successful businessman while remaining devoted to Troy, his special needs brother. But beneath the shiny new image, Teague is still battling the demons of his youth. Can Jodi and Teague reconnect, or will they fall prey to their past insecurities? Their relationship is tested as Courtney, the new girl in town, tries to sink her claws into Teague, but the two must work together to solve a heinous crime and save Troy from being unjustly accused.

Cowboy Fever is simply a lovely book. In the hands of a lesser author, the characters would have all come across as trite or cliché, but, thanks to Kennedy’s skill, they’re more comforting than anything else. Everybody knows a girl like Courtney, or a man like Teague—somebody who’s running from something but not realizing that that “something” is himself.

The dialogue is homey and country without crossing into corny, and the pace of the plot is a dependable as a good horse. I wasn’t bored at all, from the first page to the last, and I was genuinely shocked by the “big reveal” at the end.

Meanwhile, the love scenes aren’t as spicy as I prefer, but they’re satisfying nonetheless. In fact, that’s my only quasi-complaint—that I could have used a little more oomph in the love scenes.

All in all, though, I highly recommend Cowboy Fever, even to the most diehard city slicker. It’s the perfect combination of down-home good humor, colorful characters, and romance. Read it, and you’ll find yourself catching a little cowboy fever yourself.

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