cover image Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy

Cold Heart, Warm Cowboy

Caitlin Crews. St. Martin’s, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-29525-5

This snail-paced second Cold River Ranch contemporary (after A True Cowboy Christmas) lacks the appeal of its predecessor. Former rodeo queen Hannah Monroe shows up in Cold River, Colo., to get a divorce, but her husband doesn’t even know they’re married. Bull rider Ty Everett lost more than his title during his most recent competition; he also lost his memories of the last two years of his life, which include his whirlwind romance with Hannah, their secret wedding, and his anger and distress when she became pregnant. Afraid Ty will reject their son, Hannah doesn’t reveal the boy’s existence. Ty is worried that he’ll turn out just like his abusive father, so he’s abandoned any thoughts of having children. Once he learns he’s married, he wants the marriage to work, and Hannah’s willing to give it a second try, but the foundation they try to build comes crumbling down when he discovers her big secret. Trust and forgiveness are at the center of this sordid tale, but the plot is bogged down by excessive details and flat dialogue. Luckily, Ty’s younger brother, Brady—the unmarried Everett brother, clearly due to star in the next book—is alluring and will keep readers interested in the series. Crews earned enough goodwill with book one to see readers through this lukewarm installment and on to the next. (Aug.)