A Cowboy for April (Three Sisters Ranch) – ARC review

A Cowboy for April
by Jamie K. Schmidt
Release Date:  May 27, 2021
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #4 in the Three Sisters Ranch series
Number of pages:  178
Source:  ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance M/F
Rating: R
Read 5/22/21 to 5/23/21

April Grayson is the responsible one in her family of wild, barrel racing rodeo stars. After years of keeping her sisters out of trouble, she’s finally earned some time to let loose. She indulges in a one-night stand with the cowboy she crushed on in high school. It’s as hot as it is memorable, but the next day she finds out Cole works for her new accounting client. He’s dead set against having one of the “Wild Grayson Sisters” working on Three Sisters Ranch.

Last Stand rodeo youth director Cole Lockwood loves horses, kids, and cowgirls—not necessarily in that order. Even though his night with April leaves him wanting more, his parents’ medical bills have him working 24/7. He’s tempted to go back to his professional gambling ways and enter a high stakes poker game, but April warns that’s a loser’s bet.

Cole and April strike a deal: she’ll teach him about managing his family’s finances if he helps her overcome her fear of horses and learn how to be a little more reckless. Can this cowboy make a cowgirl out of her?

It’s no secret that I have a problem with taking things out of order. When this book was offered up to me as an ARC from the publisher, I almost passed it by. It is book 4 in a series I haven’t read yet. But, for the most part, I have really enjoyed this author’s writing in the past with one small bump in the road with a book from last year. I decided to hope for the best since I haven’t read anything from the author in almost a year. I shouldn’t have been afraid of the 4th in series thing, it didn’t mess with the story at all. Sure, I could tell that other stories had been told before this one, but it was easy to catch onto the dynamics of the town and the people surrounding the main characters. Nope, that wasn’t my problem with this book at all. But this story also wasn’t all that I was hoping or expecting.

Overall, April and Cole are both amazing people. They both care deeply for those around them, try to help out their loved ones, and tend to give their all even when they’re not getting it back. And while I understand that we’re all human and everyone has character flaws (wouldn’t the world be boring if everyone was perfect?), some of their issues just rubbed me the wrong way.

April’s solution to Cole’s money issues was a bit annoying. Yes, she’s a CPA and had great ideas. She wasn’t taking anyone’s feelings into account though. And instead of understanding that when it was even explained to her, she still pushed the issue too many times for my liking. Which, to me, didn’t really fit with her character in other ways. April has always been the one to be responsible and take care of business in her family, but she’s not unfeeling. In fact, she has a huge heart. So it didn’t make sense.

It often felt that the author was trying so hard to explain Cole’s gambling as a job that it was a case of “the lady doth protest too much”. His justifications and explanations made total sense, until he didn’t follow his own rules and ended up making terrible choices and hurting himself and all of his loved ones with his actions. Again, it didn’t quite feel authentic to his character as he was written in the beginning.

There was still a lot that worked with this story. April and Cole have great chemistry and had me rooting for them. Their second-chance romance was very sweet since they never really had a romance in the first place so neither realized it was a second chance for the other as well as for themselves. And I always love a story where one of the characters has a list of things to do and the love interest helps them…especially when there’s skinny dipping involved!

The very first story I read by this author was Necessary Evil, the first book in the Sentinels of Babylon series. The second book in that series, Sentinel’s Kiss, came out in 2017. I’ve been waiting since that time for another book because I loved the first two. Well, I just saw that book 3 finally was released earlier this week! Now, do I try to find time in my packed schedule to re-read those first two, or just dive right in to Warden’s Woman? I think this author’s spicier (for lack of a better word) stories are much more engaging. She seems to get deeper into her characters in those stories. Those are the stories I want to read from her.

3 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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