Series: Dustin Lovers #1
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: June 15, 2015
Challenges: COYER Summer Scavenger Hunt
Buying Links: Amazon*
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Blurb from goodreads:
Caleb Johnson, 'King of the Rodeo,' is on his way to becoming Wyoming's National Champion. Until an ornery bull sidelines him with a potentially career-ending injury. Returning home to recuperate puts him in the path of Rosemary Carmichael, the girl he deserted to become a rodeo star.
Now he's got to figure out what he really wants: returning to the rodeo circuit and going for that big, National prize, or convincing the woman he loves that he wants a life with her . . . and the son he never knew he had.
"Rodeo King" is a second chance romance, and a secret baby romance as well, so it has all the feels. Caleb returned home after years of being away and being out of touch. He hopes to run into the girl, Rosemary, he abandoned years ago and reunite. She's held a torch for him all these years despite the fact he abandoned her, ran away without a word, and they didn't even know yet that she was pregnant. Despite her attraction, Rosie doesn't trust him and is reluctant at first to have anything to do with him or let him near their son, Carson.
There's a lot of heat between Caleb and Rosemary and some cute scenes with Carson. The supporting characters are fairly well developed; I really like Rosie's grumpy BFF Susan; I hope she gets a love story. The setting is well developed and there's humor, which is always a must for me.
But (you knew there was a but coming, right?), there's not a lot of emotional development for either Caleb or Rosemary and there is a serious lack of communication. They kiss a lot, have sex a lot, but they don't really discuss why he left six years ago, what his plans are now that he's back (other than he wants to be a part of Carson's life, though I noticed he never offered any financial assistance), what Rosemary expects from him, etc. Then, we get The Big Misunderstanding. I really wanted to slap Rosemary; she refuses to answer his phone calls then when it appears he's left town, she whines and complains that he left without saying goodbye even though she left town without a word. AAAAARGHH! Caleb was trying to do the right thing, was actually showing some maturity and responsibility, even though he again failed to talk to her about his plans, and she just has a temper tantrum and runs away.
And then the ending. WTF? One semi-grand gesture on her part and everything is okay? They don't talk about their problems, neither one apologizes, just BOOM! out of the blue, a happy ending. It was a decent story up until then but that ending wrecked it. And of course it was followed up by a gushy, sweet epilogue that also set up the next story. Blergh.
"Rodeo King" has some sweet moments, a good amount of heat, but neither Caleb nor Rosemary were very mature and the communication issues were ridiculous.