Title: The Trouble With Cowboys
Author: Melissa Cutler
Publisher: Kensington (October 2, 2012)
Catcher Creek, New Mexico is home to Amy Sorentino, although she has not lived here from several years she is now committed to creating a life here with her sisters and nephew as she has given up her career and sold her condo to put money in the ranch project.
Unfortunately she has to live down her most humiliating experience, her mental collapse on the reality TV cooking challenge called The Ultimate Chef Showdown. She came close to winning the show but was sabotaged by a chef who dressed like a cowboy (Brock McKenna) and probably never spent any time near a horse. Amy liked Brock and flirted with him throughout the show never knowing that he was trying to ruin her chance at winning. When her meal was ruined and she was voted off the show, she had a meltdown that was filmed and viewed my millions. Rule number one became her top priority - stay away from cowboys.
Amy likes to chop vegetables when she is stressed and coming back home to the stares and whispers of the town has her chopping celery to an extreme, much to the delight of the hogs on the farm. While on a desperate search for celery one day, Kellen Reid comes to her rescue before she makes a scene at the mini-mart in town. Kellen is the owner of Slipping Rock Ranch one of the best ranches around that has quality beef and she needs to talk to him about plans for the ranch.
Her sisters (Rachel and Jenna) along with Amy are transforming their farm into a vacation spot for families, including a restaurant. Her restaurant called The Local Dish will feature locally grown ingredients and she is visiting the local business owners to buy their products. As she talks with Kellen about the future restaurant, she totally forgets rule number one and spends an amazing night with Kellen only to regret it almost immediately no matter how attracted she is to him.
While growing up, responsibilities of the farm were left to Rachel and Amy while their father was always thinking of his next money making scheme. Jenna did not work on the farm much preferring to run a little wild until she found herself pregnant and turned her life around for her son. Although all three sisters have had their priorities changed since Tommy was born, Rachel is still angry the other two left her the responsibility for the farm, and they are constantly bickering about anything and everything. Their father was a dreamer and their mother self medicated her depression to where they could not count on them. Their mother (Bethany) is currently in a facility because she no longer can take care of herself. Amy has always felt she would turn into her mother so was deeply affected when she had the meltdown on TV.
Years ago Amy's father signed an agreement with Bruce Morton and his company Amarex; he is the uncle of Kellen to be able to purchase the farm in case of foreclosure. He has been trying to get the sister’s land even though it is thought that there is no oil on it. Kellen is at a loss as to why his uncle wants it so badly. Kellen knows that his uncle is an unscrupulous person so never wants to help him when asked. So when Morton contacts him about the Sorentino farm he is determined to finally ruin him and send him to jail. Kellen has been taping conversations for several years to ruin Morton for just this reason.
Kellen also comes from dysfunction; Kellen and his brother raised themselves until their parents went to jail sending them into foster care. His brother Jake rarely speaks to him because he feels betrayed when Kellen turned eighteen. Kellen feels bad about that but at the time he was too messed up. Here in Catcher Creek, he has made a family with his good friends.
While Kellen and Amy sort out their feelings family, business and emotion come into play to make life a bumpy road to happiness.
I loved this book as it is an emotional roller coaster ride from the beginning to the end. The characters are a wonderful collection of quirky and interesting people. I loved the interactions between Kellen and his friends that he has embraced as family. The story was touching, you could tell both Amy and Kellen have issues they must resolve before they can totally commit to each other however the attraction between them keeps them coming back together. The storyline of Kellen's family is so moving that I needed tissues. What started out as a combustible attraction between them moved to friendship then love – wonderful.