cover image Hey, Cowgirl, Need a Ride?

Hey, Cowgirl, Need a Ride?

Baxter Black, . . Crown, $23.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-609-61091-6

Ten years after the publication of Hey, Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky? Black revisits the wild and woolly world of Lick and Cody, the two rodeo cowboys who got lucky. This time around, Lick is down on his luck in southern Idaho, licking his wounds after a series of rodeo setbacks. His romantic life takes a turn for the better, though, with the calamitous arrival of the beautiful Teddie Arizona Grant ("T.A."), who survives a plane crash after fleeing Las Vegas—and her husband, after stealing some of his cash. Subsequent chapters fill in the blanks: T.A.'s marriage to casino owner F. Rank is strictly one of convenience, while her theft is connected to an effort to stop a lucrative exotic animal hunt organized by Rank and a high-level animal trainer (stage name: Ponce de Crayon). T.A. is hunted down by Rank and his evil henchman; she escapes, and Lick (with an assist from Cody, who arrives mid-book, now 29 and married) attempts rescue. The plot is numbing, but more or less beside the point. What will bring readers back to Lick is Black's loving, sophisticated sendup of western romances, as if Larry McMurtry were writing Blazing Saddles II . 8-city author tour . (On sale Sept. 13)