Secret Nights with a Cowboy
by Caitlin Crews
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Book #1 in the Kittredge Ranch series
Number of Pages: 320
Source: ARC from Net Galley and publisher
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 11/7/20 to 11/8/20
A man holding on…
Riley Kittredge has always known exactly what he wanted. His land, his horses. His woman. He met and married Rae Trujillo far too young, and their young love combusted right after they said their vows. But their passion has never managed to burn itself out. Yet when Rae shows this time, it’s not a night of pleasure she demands, but a divorce.
A woman letting go…
Rae should have moved on a long time ago. She knows she and Riley just don’t work. They might make great lovers, but that doesn’t make a marriage. And now Rae wants a new life, complete with a baby. But when her husband offers to be a father, to give her the family she’s always secretly desired, she and Riley will both have to face demons from their past—and choose love over fear at last.
Although this is book one in this new Caitlin Crews series, this series is a spin-off/continuation of her Cold River Ranch series. You absolutely do not have to read that series to read this one. But it’s great, so why not?
When the Kittredge family was delved into a bit in the book The Last Real Cowboy, Riley often ticked me off. He also had me really curious. It was mentioned now and again through that last series that Riley and Rae were married…or are married? It was never really explored, so I was excited to see this story was the exploration of that relationship.
I don’t hide the fact that I’m not big on characters having huge secrets. The thing is, usually the reader knows the big secret and that bad feeling in the pit of my stomach from knowing the secret is part of what I don’t like. In this story, the reader is as in the dark as Riley and all of Rae’s friends and family. Nobody knows why Rae left Riley all those years ago. The two had dated since high school and were always, very obviously, desperately head over heels for each other. And since Rae never elaborated to Riley, let alone anyone else in town, as to why the marriage didn’t work out, the small town filled in the blanks on their own. And she let them. I found myself filling in the blanks myself. I had a lot of scenarios in my head. I eventually hit on the right one, but I have to admit that it was a bit annoying to me how long we have to wait to find out the truth.
Rae is not good at speaking her truth. There is a scene with her friends where we learn the reason why she’s so tight-lipped, and I can’t blame the girl. This doesn’t me she’s a wallflower. Rae is actually very strong willed and outspoken…until it comes to things of consequence. She will defend her best girlfriends to the bitter end, no matter the situation. But don’t ask her anything personal about herself.
Riley is not much better at talking things out. Again, knowing his situation growing up it’s hard to blame the guy. But there comes a time when adults need to be adults if they want any sort of real and lasting connection to other adults, especially in a romantic sense.
All through this story I could feel the connection Riley and Rae have. I was rooting for them, for the most part. But I was more rooting for them to stop hurting each other and to actually talk more than anything else. Thankfully, the eventually begins to happen. To me, it felt like it dragged on for too long, though.
Just because this particular story didn’t hit the nail squarely on the head for me doesn’t mean I’m not still in love with this author. I will definitely be continuing this series. There are so many more people I want to see get their HEAs in this town.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**