Release Date: Oct 30, 2018
Series: Once Upon a Time in Texas
Heat Level: Hot/Scorching
Publisher: Grand Central
Big Bad Cowboy by Carly Bloom is the first book in the Once Upon a Time in Texas series, and a great introduction to Carly Bloom for me – I will definitely be reading the other books in this series in the future.
Travis Blake left his home town of Big Verde, Texas to join the military. He never liked living there as his family name has a bit of a past – his father is a gambler and an alcoholic and his brother is in prison. Travis always felt like an outsider in the community who never really belonged. He recently was released from the military and planned to work at his friend’s business when a phone call brought him back to Big Verde. The one thing Travis’ dad had kept ahold of in his gambling was the large family ranch, which he left to Travis and his brother. Travis always thought that he would not be back at Big Verde, and so let his brother’s wife and his nephew, Henry, live there. Things were working out fine with this arrangement until his brother’s wife died and left Henry a virtual orphan with his one remaining parent behind bars. Travis agrees to step in and take care of Henry until more permanent arrangements can be secured for the kid. So Travis finds himself back in Big Verde and in dire need of funds to help support the ranch and his nephew. He puts in a bid to landscape a rich old flame’s house in order to generate some income.
Mary Margaret Mackey (Maggie) also didn’t fit the mold of a sweet southern belle in Big Verde, she was always unwillingly labeled as a tomboy and looked over as potential girlfriend material. Maggie went off to college after high school and is all about landscaping – with the degrees to prove it. As far as she’s concerned her landscaping business in Big Verde is the only legitimate one in town. Her grandmother recently passed away and left the family orchard to Maggie, leaving Maggie to try to stop the neighbouring cows from the Blake ranch from eating all her apples. Needless to say the Blake cow situation + the fact that Travis is trying to outbid her for the landscaping gig + the resurgence of an old crush on Travis = a very unhappy Maggie who does not like that Travis Blake is back.
A Halloween part brings Maggie and Travis together unknowingly and the two share a wild and unforgettable night. Travis soon realizes that his new unwilling work partner is also the woman he can’t stop thinking about. Maggie hasn’t realized exactly who Travis is, as she never saw his face that night. This leads to a ton of angst and sexy chemistry via text message exchanges. I liked that the mystery wasn’t given away too soon in the book, the characters (and the readers) got a chance to really get to know each other and slowly develop a real connection to add onto their existing chemistry.
I really loved this book, there was great character development with real human vulnerability and problems that were articulated and worked out logically. It was not just a fluff romance that paints the hero and heroine in a great light at all times. I feel in love with the supporting characters and the town of Big Verde as well! Every character added a humour and depth to the story and I can’t wait to read more about all of them in the future books in this series.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a steamy romance with an engaging story line!