My Cowboy Promises, Z. A. Maxfield
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Romance, LGBTQIA
I’ve loved all the novels in this series so far, and it was great to see Tripp and Lucho from the last one in here. I’m glad the story has moved on from the J Bar, as there were only so many people could work on that ranch….
Z.A.Maxfield writes characters I can feel, can hear, and these seem very real to me. I can hear Ryder’s soft drawling accent, (even though I’ve never met a cowboy – not much call for them in the UK!) and feel I know from his actions just what sort of man he is. A real gentleman in every sense, not a poseur, image orientated person, but one who’s always out to look after his family and friends, who’s moral and always does what’s right whatever the cost to him. That’s how he ended up married to Andi, and father to Josh. Its a marriage in name only though, ( even though as others have said they share a bed, its not sexual, just comfort and making normality for Josh). Josh had plans to leave the small town til his best friend got pregnant. He knows what its like having a dogmatic, controlling father, and wants to help her as best he can. He’s a terrific father to Josh, loves him and acts as though he was biologically his. No-one except him and Andi know the truth. They’re still both very young at 23, with Josh now being 5. He’s a great kid and such a cute boy, and it shows just how well for a couple of youngsters, facing disapproval from both parents and everyone in town, they’ve done a spot on job of bringing him up.
Andi seemed a bit flaky to me at first, idolised by her father, spoiled after her mum left and used to being the prettiest, the favourite – until she slid off the track her father had planned out for her. He’s a tough man, cold, bossy and controlling and he really wasn’t happy about Andi’s pregnancy and marriage to Ryder. Andi loves to sing, but her dad has never approved, and she rarely gets the chance now. She lets off steam at town events and that’s when we first meet her, at one of her dads big publicity fourth of July parties. She’s had a bit too much to drink and has taken over the mic from the band, and of course her dad is furious, embarrassed and demands she stop. Then Ryder gets hurt at the event and in comes Declan the new doc. Sparks fly when they first see each other, and its clear that though Ryder thought he could be happy with Andi, that now he’s met Declan things will change. Somehow Ryder and Declan keep on bumping into each other and its a totally new experience for Ryder. He’s known he’s gay since childhood but never done so much as even kissed another man…..and certainly no one else but Andi knew this til Declan spots it.
Its a story that’s more than just a romance, its about growing up, about attitudes and bigotry, about how to deal with the problems that result from their actions. There’s little sex in here, especially when compared to others in the series, and the character don’t even kiss til maybe 3/4 of the way in. That didn’t matter to me as the story was perfect but it’s something that others may feel differently about. I felt the ending was a bit rushed though and left in a kind of ambiguous way. I liked that it looks as if things work out, that after all Ryder’s sacrifice Andi finally steps up and protects him. The song at the end Andi and Ryder sing together, that was perfect but I really wanted a bit more concrete idea of how the future was working out for them, not just a plan that should go through – as we all know things don’t always go to plan. I need a solid HEA, not just a plan for one. That’s why this isn’t five star for me but a four.
Stars: Four, great read but I felt it was a rushed ending.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers