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Wendy the Super Librarian‘s review of Should’ve Been a Cowboy (Sons of Chance, Book 4) by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Contemporary Romance published by Harlequin Blaze 24 May 11

It happens.  Eventually every reader hits their “breaking point” when it comes to a series.  Like most things in life, there is no hard and fast rule.  Every reader is different.  In some cases I can make it 20+ books in before I “break up” with a series.  Others, I’m still going strong with.  In the case of Vicki Lewis Thompson’s Sons of Chance series for Blaze?  I think this one, book four, might have been the undoing.

Tyler Connelli is up for a big promotion with the luxury vacation cruise line she works for.  However, before setting off to her next exotic locale, she’s swinging by Jackson Hole, Wyoming to visit her very pregnant sister, Morgan.  Little does she know that Alex Keller is also in residence at Last Chance Ranch.  It was at her sister’s wedding that Tyler had an explosive roll in the hay (literally – they did it in a hayloft!) with Alex, who was still licking his wounds over his divorce.  Having relocated from Chicago, Alex now works for the Chance family.  The same family her sister married into.  And suddenly that quick, memorable roll in the hay is casting a very long shadow.

Here’s the problem with this story – it’s got a very been there, done that feel to it.  The conflict, which has the heft and consistency of wet tissue paper, consists of Tyler and Alex thinking that they can just bounce off each other while she’s in town, get the attraction out of their systems, and go along their merry way.  Tyler’s upcoming promotion fits in there too, but given that it lacks any real urgency, it’s hard to consider it actual “conflict.”  We’re talking a Blaze here, a line I read for “fun and sexy” more so than “angst and meaty conflict” – but this is still epically thin for “fun and sexy” standards.  It also doesn’t help matters (at all) that this Let’s Just Be Bang-Buddies “conflict” is prevalent in each of the three previous books in the series.  Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Well Wendy – you are once again being a disagreeable piss-pot.  Plus, I haven’t read any of the three previous books, so I’m not worried about the conflict sounding monotonous.”  Which would be the point in this review where I warn readers unfamiliar with the series, that Series-Itis has now come calling, unpacked its bags, and is settling into Last Chance Ranch like it’s the family homestead.  The first several chapters feature many previous characters, all of whom don’t bring anything to the fact that Tyler has learned Alex is still in town.  They just stand around blathering on about nothing, to the point where even I (who know who all these people are) am like, “Blah, blah, blah – don’t care!  Let’s get to the main couple of this story thankyouverymuch.”

So yeah, this book sort of left me in a bad mood.  Thompson can write fun and sexy better than just about anybody in the romance business, but here it falls very flat.  I’ve heard all of this before – in the previous three books in the series.  Which I might have been able to roll with if Tyler and Alex had elevated themselves above “characters” and felt like “real people” to me.  Which they don’t.  Bother.

Wendy TSLGrade: D


Party organizer Tyler O’Connell is on the fast track to her dream career. She’s so close she can almost taste it. But when she returns to her family and sees her one-night stand, Alex Keller, all done up in his cowboy gear, her self-control is stretched to the breaking point….

They’re worlds apart. She’s a busy career girl, and Alex is a cowboy. But while getting together might not bode well for anything long-term, it more than makes up for it in sheer hot chemistry! Problem is, this is one wrangler she might want to get tied down—and tied up—to…indefinitely!

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series: