Cowboy Up by Vicki Lewis Thompson

cowboy upTitle: Cowboy Up

Author: Vicki Lewis Thompson

Mills & Boon imprint: Blaze

Year of publication: 2011

The heroine: Receptionist/Surfer Emily Sterling

The hero: Rancher Clay Whitaker

The blurb: After Emily Sterling’s parents divorce, she promised to never fall for a cowboy. Now Emily has returned to her father’s ranch… only to find herself face-to-face with unbelievably hot rancher Clay Whitaker!

Clay is the resident stud expert at the ranch and isn’t too keen on city slickers… until Emily arrives. Now he’s showing Emily just what a ranch – and a cowboy – has to offer. And it’s an offer Emily can’t refuse!

Standalone or series: This is book five of the Sons of Chance series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Let’s talk about that cover first, shall we? If the cowboys in Wyoming are this hot, I’m moving there!

I think the blurb above is a bit misleading. Emily was two when her parents divorced; they married because the sex was hot, but her mother wants a California lifestyle and her father is a cowboy and being on a ranch is in his blood, so they divorced and Emily went with her mother. She was raised a California girl and loves to surf. But now she’s in her late twenties and still doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. Her father, Emmett, is the ranch foreman and it’s his sixtieth birthday, so she’s in Wyoming to celebrate with him.

When she was last on the ranch ten years ago, Clay had a huge crush on her, but Emily’s mother had drilled into her that ranching life wasn’t for her, and she should stay away from cowboys, so she dismissed him. However, Emily has changed a lot in ten years, and she realises how much she’s missed her father and how much at home she feels at the ranch.

Everybody on the ranch dislikes her because they’ve worked out that Emmett is sending her monthly cheques out of his pay. What they don’t know, however, is that Emmett has been lying to Emily – he told her that it was an inheritance from her grandparents. They also don’t know that Emily hasn’t spent a penny of it; she’s invested the money until she works out what she wants to do with her life.

It turns out what she wants to do at the ranch is Clay. Their attraction is instant and swift, and it’s not long before they’re sneaking around having sex. She’s not planning to stay long, so they both know it won’t lead anywhere, but they can’t stay away from each other. Emmett works out what’s going on and tries to warn his daughter because of what happened with him and Emily’s mother, not because he doesn’t like Clay – he loves Clay like a son. But he knows Clay will never leave the ranch because it’s the only home he’s ever known (Clay was orphaned at three and lived in foster homes until he was eighteen and ended up at the ranch, where the Chance family looked after him).

In the end, Emily decides she doesn’t want to leave the ranch or her father… or Clay.

I enjoyed this book, but one thing that seems to crop up a lot also happened in this book. Let’s talk about sex, baby – more specifically, names for genitalia. I’m generally fine with whatever name is being used, but let’s just stick to one, shall we? In this book, Clay had no less than three different names being used – penis, cock, and johnson, which always makes me laugh and brings me right out of the scene. As for Emily, she referred to hers as a hoo-ha. Again, another juvenile term that just brings me right out of the scene, which is a shame because the sex scenes were hot.

Clay’s in charge of the stud program, which involves collecting horse semen and selling it to various buyers. By the end of the book, you’ll know more about the process than you ever wanted to, trust me.

The editor in me also wants to point out that Emily is referred to as Emily Whitaker in one scene, rather than Sterling 😉

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