Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves

Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves
Series: Rainbow Valley, Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance Cowboy Take Me Away Cover
ISBN: 9781455515196
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Rainbow Valley, Texas, has always been a refuge for animals, and Shannon North, director of the local shelter, intends to keep it that way. But with donations drying up and more pets in need of a loving home than ever before, Shannon's beginning to fear she's not the savior the shelter needs. When a tall, dark, and handsome cowboy from her past comes to the rescue, she knows that accepting his help may come with a high price: her heart.

Bad boy Luke Dawson shook the dust from this little town off his boots years ago. He walked away from everything . . . except the memory of the one night of passion he shared with Shannon. Now, a few wins away from becoming the world bull-riding champion, Luke's headed for fame and fortune. But then a crisis calls him back to Rainbow Valley, and Luke is reunited with the good girl who stole-and broke-his heart. As their rekindled relationship deepens into desire, old secrets resurface, and Luke must choose between the future he's always dreamed of and the only woman he's ever loved.

Cowboy Take Me Away is one of those books that’ll twist your emotions up like you wouldn’t believe. Both people and animals are desperately in need love in Jane Graves’s first Rainbow Valley novel. I’m pretty sure I cried more than once while reading this book, but Ms. Graves makes all the heartbreak worth it in the end.

Luke Dawson is a bull-riding champ with a two-ton chip on his shoulder. His horrible childhood left its mark on him and returning home to Rainbow Valley isn’t exactly beneficial to helping him move on. Most of the townspeople look on him with suspicion because of his behavior as a teenager, but I loved Luke. He’s got a big heart and is so wonderfully caring that I wanted to see him find peace and happiness. Shannon’s one of the very few people Luke ever let in his heart and she broke it back when they were teenagers. A busted knee that leaves Luke stuck in Rainbow Valley brings them back together, but it’s definitely not easy for these two hard-headed people to get together. Shannon is running herself into the ground trying to save all the animals that come to her shelter while also trying to live up to her mother’s expectations. The burdens she carries threaten to drown her and at times make her a bit abrasive. I admit, it was hard for me to like Shannon because her attitude could be so off-putting. That being said, she grew on me over the course of the book and once she allowed herself to relax she and Luke were great together. Their romance was slow to build but I liked watching them develop as individuals as they fell in love.

The scene-stealers in Cowboy Take Me Away are undoubtedly the animals. Ms. Graves’s love of animals shines through in this story and, as I previously mentioned, I cried more than once while reading this story. The animals Shannon and Luke rescue have been through so much that it was imperative they too get their happy ending. My absolute favorite thing about Cowboy Take Me Away was the way the town of Rainbow Valley embraced animals and celebrated their love of them.

While animals are easily given second chances by the residents of Rainbow Valley, people aren’t given the same courtesy. This is where I had a bit of trouble with Cowboy Take Me Away. When reading a small town romance, I enjoy falling in love with the town and the supporting cast of characters. The folks of Rainbow Valley often came across as small-minded and judgmental – not exactly endearing. I grew annoyed with a number of supporting characters over the course of the story and at times couldn’t imagine how Ms. Graves could give Luke a satisfying happily ever after in this town. That being said, there were some stand out (in a good way) characters who give me hope that Rainbow Valley can grow on me in future books.

Cowboy Take Me Away will tug on your heartstrings, but Luke and Shannon’s journey is one worth reading. I’ve got my fingers crossed in the hopes that Ms. Graves will write more books for Luke and Shannon’s friends.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.