The blurb not only gave me a broad outline of the book but it also build my expectations about it. The one who got away / second chance romance is among the tropes that I love. If nothing, it’s the implied state that the characters have met and known each other for a while, prior to the one revealed in the book. That means there’s time for them to process their feeling, it’s not an impulse or mere lust that drives them. Right? Well, that’s not exactly what happened here. Like the first book in the “Crossroads Ranch” series, “Tough Luck Cowboy” also came with a prologue that recounts how Luke and Lily first met. And let me tell you, it was totally unexpected... way WAY unexpected, and I don’t mean in a nice way.
There’s this well-known and sacred bro code in romance; the bros before hoes sentiment that applies to the most alpha heroes (the same applied to their female counterparts as well, but that’s not the angle I’m going for here). Now, I got how Luke was reluctant to go forth with his attraction to his best friend’s ex. But what I didn’t expect was how Lily came to be Tucker’s ex! Not only did Luke see AND act on his attraction to Lily FIRST ...oh, that night ages ago!!! Tucker was with him and saw everything! Yet mister oblivious made a move on her that same night??? Some kind of BEST friend he was! And don’t get me started on what Luke and Lily felt and then followed through with.
In short, that prologue basically RUINED the book for me. Luke didn’t display the hero character material I prefer. Lily struck me as gold digger (going the easy way with the guy who had the means to reach her dreams), and Tucker was a lousy lousy friend. It was through sheer stubbornness for me to actually read the whole book and finish it. Turns out the story wasn’t that bad. Considering.
Lame start aside, Luke and Lily were pretty decent characters. Both had baggage, an unpleasant past that shaped the people they were. It’s interesting the way Pine weaved the plot to bring these two together. I could go with a bit of a twist rather than the exasperating hot and cold display Luke fell into, or Lily’s tendency to blame things on Luke and started to own up part of the whole debacle with Luke herself. Honestly, the push and pull between the two wore out after a while - considering it took place almost throughout the book, it’s truly exhausting!
The upside of the story for me was the developing understanding Luke and everyone around him came to; the fact that the men actually talk, listen to one another, and took time before responding. Tucker redeemed himself in the end... still clueless unfortunately, but redeemed himself. I’m not gonna blow the whistle and spoil the fun of finding out how. It’s a learning journey our characters went through. They faced their fear head on rather than running. They really LISTENED to others reasons rather than jumping to conclusions. I just loved when the characters in the book grew up!
There is another installment to the series that most likely will be the finale of AJ. Pine’s “Crossroads Ranch.” Walker might not be my favorite cowboy, but I’m interested enough to find out how he cures himself and who will help him go through it. Here is hoping that I’m going to like Walker’s book better than this one.
The only girl he ever wanted was the one he could never have
What's the saying, bad luck comes in threes? If so, Lily Green is due for something good. First, her divorce is finalized---on her birthday, no less. Then the first job she lands for her catering company turns out to be for her ex-husband's wedding. To top it off, she's stuck working the event with Luke Everett, the sexy-as-hell best man who's never been able to stand her. When can a girl catch a break?
For years, Luke has kept his feelings for Lily safely hidden. Hitting on his best friend's ex-wife would definitely break the cowboy code of honor. But ever since an injury sidelined his rodeo riding, the two of them keep getting thrown together. It's only a matter of time until his true feelings come to light. When that happens, it will either be the biggest mistake of his life, or a sign that his luck is about to change.