Counting on a Cowboy
By Debra Clopton
Four of Hearts Ranch, #2
Thomas Nelson, 2015
After losing everything she held dear, Abby never wants to love again. But a certain cowboy may just spur her to wonder if love might be worth the risk.
Running from a past that haunts her, Abby Knightly is drawn to the cozy town of Wishing Springs, Texas. Maybe this small town could offer hope and healing and a future for Abby . . . if she’s brave enough to reach out and take it by the reins.
Bo Monahan isn’t interested in the new romantic destination his little town has become—or the women who might be looking at him like he’s their next Mr. Right. Between taking care of his Pops and his growing stirrup business, he isn’t looking for serious romantic commitments. But when the infant son he never knew about shows up at his doorstep, his world is turned upside down.
This confirmed bachelor might not think he needs a wife, but he sure needs help. Even Abby can see that, and despite her best efforts to keep her distance, she can’t help but be drawn to this new father-son duo. As Abby throws herself into helping Bo navigate fatherhood, hope sparks between them, revealing that maybe, just maybe, they can navigate their dark pasts and emerge together into a future as bright as the Texas sun itself.
I found Counting on a Cowboy to be a delightful read overall. It was great to return to the small-town setting of Wishing Springs, Texas and learn more about Bo Monahan, a secondary character in the previous book, Betting on Hope. Romance is a major theme, yet there's a depth that makes it more than just a romance - thanks to the inclusion of lifestyle issues like Alzheimer's, alcoholism, guilt, loss, and commitment.
The strength of this story - the whole series, in fact - is the closeness of the Monahan family. The ranch is in serious financial trouble and each brother is using his particular skill to help pay off that debt. But it's their relationship with Pops, their grandfather, that touches me most. Pops suffers from Alzheimer's - and not only do Bo, Tru and Jarrod care, but they go out of their way to spend time with him. Also, frustrating as things can get, they are still able to laugh with Pops.
I loved that we're given a second romance between Pebble, owner of the Sweet Dreams motel, and newspaper editor Rand, an alcoholic. Their story really captured my emotions and I hope to see more from them later in the series.
But when it comes to faith content, I'm not so sure. I read Christian fiction because of the message of hope that is usually found within the pages, the hope and assurance that comes from God in the midst of brokenness and tragedy, and I just didn't see much of that here. I believe Abby went to church once or twice, but I never got a sense of Bo and Abby's belief system. Maybe this is just the type of story where actions and emotional growth testify of faith. Yet I loved the characters in Counting on a Cowboy, totally enjoying it as a clean romance, and look forward to more in this series. Jarrod's story in Kissed by a Cowboy comes out in February 2016.
Recommended to all who enjoy clean romances.
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Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.
Find Debra online at debraclopton.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.