Book Review (and a Giveaway): A Cowboy to Keep by Karen Rock

Posted January 17, 2017 by meezcarrie in contemporary, giveaway, Karen Rock, mystery/suspense, romance / 36 Comments

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about the book

Can’t stop running from the past

Dani Crawford has a secret…and if bounty hunter Jackson Cade finds out, he could ruin everything.

The scarred yet handsome cowboy has tracked a dangerous criminal to the dude ranch Dani manages, and to get rid of Jack she’ll have to help him catch his man.

But the closer they get to cornering their quarry the more Dani wants Jack to stay. Spending time with him is making her long for things she can never have thanks to a past mistake.

And if the truth comes out she may be spending her future behind bars rather than safe in her cowboy’s arms…

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SERIES: Rocky Mountain Cowboys, prequel
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, Clean Fiction
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Heartwarming
RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2017
PAGES: 384

“It took strength and conviction to stand by those who’d let you down.”

Two things:

  1. kisses
  2. more kisses

A Cowboy to Keep by Karen Rock is full of fantastic romantic chemistry between the two main characters and some fan-inducing kisses between them as well! (Stay tuned for an excerpt) Dani and Jack are characters with complicated pasts and this only adds to the romantic tension between them, heightening the emotions and sizzle.

Also adding to the tension? The suspense!! I am loving this recent trend in the Heartwarming books toward romantic suspense. Kate James, Carol Ross, now Karen Rock. These are such well-written edge-of-your-seat, high-stakes action, fast-paced suspense novels as well as being excellent clean-romance reads.

Jack, our hero, is all kinds of swoony. A little brooding, a little grouchy, yes. But whew! Once he has his sights set on Dani, keep those fans handy. His backstory is emotional and layered, but he hasn’t lost his soft side or his sense of humor. And Dani makes a perfect match for his gruff tenderness. She’s feisty and tenderhearted with a strong spirit that’s hiding a pretty emotional backstory of her own. Watching them give each other the strength to deal with their respective pasts adds even more dimension to their romance. Jack’s work with the horse is a beautiful parallel to the redemption that Dani helps work in Jack’s own life, and vice versa.

Bottom Line: A Cowboy to Keep by Karen Rock is most definitely a book to keep! From the gorgeous Rocky Mountain setting to the action-packed suspense to the sweet-but-still-smokin romance, this is a story that entertains in every way.  Vivid characters help the story come alive against a breathtaking mountain backdrop, and the theme of unconditional love rings sweet and true. You won’t want to stop reading once you start! I am very much looking forward to more in this series!

Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there are a very few instances of mild cursing in this book.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 5 stars / Excellent!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep those fans and fainting couches close at hand!

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(keep those fans handy!)

thanks to Karen Rock for the use of this excerpt from A Cowboy to Keep!

Without warning, Jack laid his thumb on Dani’s lips, as if seeing whether she would pull away. She didn’t. He leaned closer. She wanted to drop her gaze from his but couldn’t. Before, Jack had just been a threat to her secret. Her security. The safe life she’d constructed in this hiding spot. Now all Dani could see were his big dark eyes, the palms of his strong hands, the way his torso shifted under his T-shirt.

Her mind swerved in unexpected directions. She wondered, briefly, what it would feel like if he were to kiss her. She made a small, involuntary sound at the thought.

His lids lowered and he leaned his head into hers. When their lips were almost touching, he cupped the side of her face, the caress achingly tender, and slid his fingers into her hair.

He angled her face upward and brushed his mouth against hers, softly at first, then he lifted her chin and deepened his kiss so that her body trembled. She kissed him back—

tentatively and then with a fierce passion, her hand stealing up his neck, her eyes closing. She could feel his heart drum through his shirt, the rush of his breath mingling with hers, the strength of his body as he drew her closer still until she clung to him, her head spinning.

His lips traveled along her jaw and she dug her fingers into his shoulders, needing his strength because her muscles were suddenly limp. Never in her life had a kiss—or a man—affected her this way.

Jack’s hands dropped to her waist and tightened there. In the still air, their breathing was the only sound. Blood throbbed in her veins, pulsed at the base of her throat. She buried her face in his neck and inhaled the clean male scent of his skin. It reminded her of a forest after a storm, strong and pure and good.

Yet he’d denied Dakota’s claim that he was a good man. And the sadness she glimpsed in the corners of his eyes suggested there was more to Jack than an ex-rancher turned tough guy bounty hunter. One she might never get to know.

“You take care of yourself,” he said softly into her hair. Then he pulled back.

Her heart beat erratically as she watched him stride away. She touched her lips, remembering the firm pressure of his. When she’d looked into his sorrowful eyes, a door in her heart had blown open. And when they’d kissed, she’d seen that on the other side of that door was the sky.

The more time she spent with him, the harder it became to hold in her secrets. He made her want to be open and vulnerable. To earn his appreciation honestly, as the person she was, not who he imagined her to be: someone with a spotless past.

Was there a chance he would understand, accept her, care for her, just the way she was?

If he found her picture in his composite sketchbook database, or her warrant, the choice to reveal all would be taken from her.

And so might the man who’d captured her heart.

about the author

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete.

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Other Books by Karen Rock

Karen is offering one of my readers your choice of a paperback (US only) or ebook (International) of A Cowboy to Keep! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies.

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What about you? Have you ever visited – or would you want to visit – a dude ranch?

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36 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway): A Cowboy to Keep by Karen Rock

  1. Denise

    remember when they went to the dude ranch on Happy Days, that’s when I first wanted to go…not sure I still want to 30+ years later. 😉

  2. Linda May

    I’ve never been to a Dude Ranch, but I think it would be alot of fun & I love Cowboys. Thanks for this generous chance.

    • Carrie

      I love reading about cowboys. But I don’t really like riding horses so I don’t think it would work out long term 😉

  3. JJ

    I grew up and still live on a family owned ranch. I am of the fifth generation in my family to be in the ranching business. I remember when I was in the 6th grade, our class took a trip to a “dude ranch”. All the kids were excited about riding horses and swimming in the stock tank. Not me. Dude ranch horses are notoriously tame and plod along the beaten path munching on grass at every opportunity. As the trip was at the end of school, I knew I would spend my summer cleaning out the stock tank just so we (my siblings, cousins, and I) could swim in a relatively clean “pool”. Honestly, to me it all looked like work because it was work that I did every day, and at the tender age of 11, I enjoyed the trip to the planetarium much more than the one to the “dude ranch”. Decades have passed and I’m still not thrilled with “dude ranches”. I love ranching, but we are not a “dude ranch” and for that I’m grateful. But to all who haven’t been to one, more power to ya. Enjoy the ride!

  4. Winnie Thomas

    I’ve never been to a dude ranch, but I’ve been to other ranches and farms. My husband grew up on a farm. His father raised cattle, and they had several horses. He was riding horses when he 2 or 3. I’m less than thrilled with riding horses, but I enjoy looking at them. 😀

    Great review, as usual, Carrie. I’ve read several of Karen Rock’s books and loved them. I’ll have to add this one to my wish list.

  5. Kim

    I have never been to a dude ranch. I am not a big outdoor person.

    Carrie, your reviews are so great that you make me want to read everything you rate highly!

  6. Marilyn

    I have never visited a dude ranch. I am not sure if I would ever want to visit one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. Jeanna Massman

    I have never been to a dude ranch but I grew up on a farm and so I’ve had my share of living close to nature.

  8. I would love to visit a dude ranch. The idea has always intrigued me. By the way, the way that you describe this book makes me think you might enjoy the romantic suspense stories of Amy Leigh Simpson.

    • Carrie

      i wouldn’t mind it if I could sit in a nicely furnished air conditioned room and eat good food while watching the horses run around outside LOL

  9. Connie Saunders

    No, I haven’t visited a dude ranch but I think i would enjoy a vacation there!

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