cover image Always a Cowboy

Always a Cowboy

Linda Lael Miller. Harlequin, $7.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-78969-6

Readers are drawn back to Mustang Creek, Wyo., land of cowboy boots and wild stallions, in Miller’s second, less satisfying novel about the Carson family ranch (after Once a Rancher). Luce is a Californian who follows her heart out to the ranch, which is owned by one of her mother’s oldest friends. She plans to study the effects of wildlife on ranching and vice versa. Little does she suspect that Drake, the ranch’s caretaker, will scare off the herd of wild horses she’s trying to study. Drake has little time for anything other than his ranch, his family, and his dogs. So when Luce intrudes on his slice of heaven, he’s none too happy about it—until he realizes that, under her sass and outsider ways, they’re a good bit alike. The book’s climax is decidedly underwhelming. The details of life on a working ranch lend an air of authenticity, but those details overwhelm the plot to the point where there’s nothing left but boy-meets-girl and a stunning view of the ins and outs of a highly prosperous western homestead. Agent: Irene Goodman, Irene Goodman Literary. (Sept.)