River Ranch #1
by Soraya Lane
Published on January 2, 2018 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Buy the Book!
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
It takes true grit to build a billion-dollar dynasty like the Ford family ranch. But when it comes to finding love, all it takes is one handsome cowboy to steal a woman’s heart…
SHE’S RIDING SOLO
As one of the heirs to the River Ranch fortune, Mia Ford is practically Texas royalty. But that doesn’t mean she’s some pampered princess. She can saddle up and ride a horse as well as any man, even a hard-working cowboy like Sam Mendes. For years, she’s harbored a crush on the strong, silent horseman. But how can she make a move when she’s his boss?
HE’S TAKING THE REINS
Sam Mendes is through with love—or so he thought. Still recovering from a breakup, he’s doing everything in his power to resist Mia Ford. It’s bad enough she’s the kind of beauty who drives men wild with desire. It’s even worse she’s got him so worked up, aching to kiss her lips, when he’s supposed to be working her ranch. Is this lovestruck cowboy willing to risk losing his job—and breaking his heart—to win the girl of his dreams?
It’s time for another romance on the ranch with Cowboy Stole My Heart! The more I read these, the more I get addicted to cowboy romances and I’m completely okay with that. This is the first of Lane’s books that I’ve read but I think I’ll be checking out her Texas Kings series now too since this book featured characters from that series (and I want more)!
Okay, so this book. Girl meets boy. Boy meets girl. Both make bad assumptions of the other (and we all know what happens when you assume things. . . ). Add in a strong attraction and willingness to take it somewhere and you get a romance. Pretty generic from that standpoint.
What worked for me was the dynamic between Mia and Sam. Both have their respective family issues which gives them common ground, and they have personalities with elements that I could relate to. In short, they felt real. Like real real. These are people I could talk to (and it has nothing to do with horses though having had horses all my life, I suppose I appreciated that a bit more).
Mia is driven and despite coming from money, worked for everything she has. She’s a bit quick to judge but also grounded in who she is and what she wants in life. I loved her honesty because she never held back even when the situation became awkward or uncomfortable. Sam has drive too and his past comes up a lot in his daily life, with his story arc pressing him to overcome those experiences so he can be happy again. His personality isn’t as “big” as Mia’s, it’s quiet, strong but subtle. It worked for me.
Also the fact that they tried to have a no strings attached affair. . . but got attached. I love those kinds of stories. Almost (but not quite) as much as enemies-to-lovers or fake-dating-turned-real.
Cowboy Stole My Heart is definitely a more character-driven story. The events that bring the couple together — a traumatized horse in need of someone with Sam’s skills — wasn’t at all what I expected based on the synopsis but I liked how the horse (Tex) became a central character in their romance. I felt for Tex which made this story all the sweeter. Working with him also allowed for Mia and Sam to learn to let other people in, both being loners for far too long.
My only real issue with this book was the ending. The book felt like a slow burn romance at first and then turned up the heat but it was still drawn out. But the ending felt rushed in comparison and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how the story wrapped up. Like most other romances, you get your happy ending, but something was missing for me. I wanted more of the emotion that came from both realizing what they felt for the other and coming to terms with that. Especially with Sam, since his whole backstory was an obstacle to his relationship with Mia for the entire book and then in the span of a couple scenes he gets over it. Which, yay and all, but I wish it’d been fleshed out more.
Overall, I’ll definitely be reading future installments in this series and need to check out Lane’s other works as well. If they’re anything like this one, they’re bound to be good reads!