Reckless in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell
Series: Texas Rodeo #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
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Violet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that's what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she's got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family's struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus. She never expected Joe Cassidy. Rough and tumble, cocky and charming, Joe's everything a superstar should be-and it doesn't take a genius to figure out he's way out of Violet's league.
Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he's pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.
The moment I read that the heroine of this was a bullfighter, I knew I had to have it. I had to have it like breathing. And even though she turned out to be a pickup rider instead of a bullfighter, who cares, hells to the yes for this set up. I loved so much about the setting for this book: the rodeo minutia, the details about the livestock business, Violet’s job, everyone’s jobs, Violet’s relationship with her family, love for small rodeos while still dreaming of ‘the big time.’ All of it.
But what really killed me was Joe and his High Lonesome. One of the big draws for me and western romance (or western anything) is how characters can feel so connected to and so in love with a piece of land. The idea that a place can be part of your history and your heart and your soul and your family. When that gets written right? It’s god damn beautiful. And Joe has that feeling down to a tee, with a dash of aching bittersweetness thrown in. Is it possible to fall in love with someone else’s love for something? It should be, because I did.
This book just hit all of my cowboy high notes so perfectly, but what about the romance part? I’m sorry, I can’t, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE RODEO SOME MORE. Heh, not really, but that really did overshadow the romance aspect for me because I’m just so into it. And this book really set the scene perfectly for every one that they went to. Besides, the romance was nothing to write home about. Not bad, but…typical? Felt a bit paint by numbers, with the leads being kept apart for, let’s face it, mostly arbitrary reasons. I was much more interested in Violet’s relationships with her family members and her son and her platonic baby-daddy than I was in her relationship with Joe. It doesn’t help that Joe’s personality (outside of the above paragraph) never seemed very settled. He kicked off with some misogynistic comments that seemed thrown in just for the sake of genre convention; they weren’t organic to the rest of his character. And he kept twisting around to make room for this ‘womanizing’ side that I just didn’t believe. He would have been more cohesive without that particular trope, I think.
Rating: 4 out of 5