cover image Cowboy Charm School: Haywire Brides, Book 1

Cowboy Charm School: Haywire Brides, Book 1

Margaret Brownley. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5834-4

Brownley (Left at the Altar) sets up a tough lawman with a beautiful candy maker and animal rescuer in this 1885 Texas take on Cyrano de Bergerac. After Texas Ranger Brett Tucker rides into Haywire, Tex., and accidentally interrupts a wedding, he feels he has a moral obligation to help the groom, Frank Foster, bring the bride, Kate Denver, back to the altar. Soon Kate wonders whether the lawman’s intrusion was fate, as she begins to fall for him. Brett’s in town to discover who’s robbing trains and coaches in the area, but he’s visiting Kate’s candy store almost as often as he’s discussing suspects with the local sheriff. As he suggests sweet words and Shakespearean sonnets to clueless, hapless Frank, Brett realizes that he wants Kate for himself. Kate’s adeptness with everyone else’s feelings—befriending a bullied boy, coaxing smiles from grumpy customers—makes her an immensely relatable and enjoyable heroine, and Brett’s overdeveloped sense of honor is endearing. Only a few kisses are exchanged, but Brownley still conveys a sense of chemistry between the protagonists. Light and airy as cotton candy, this tale charms. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary. (Sept.)