REVIEW: Her Cowboy Boss by Jeannie Watt
Can he work his way into her heart?
Former golden girl McKenna Benjamin is now a single mom with a toddler struggling to eek out a living on her small Montana ranch, which was recently damaged by wildfire. She may be down, but no way is she out. And she’s definitely not going to turn to her wealthy I-told-you-so family for aid. McKenna considers herself a lucky survivor, and is committed to making it on her own even if her neighbor’s sexy horse trainer is the one offering to help.
Horse trainer Brodie Collins needs a part-time assistant, but when his boss suggests hiring McKenna, Brodie is skeptical. The McKenna he once knew would never stoop to hard work, but Brodie soon realizes that ten years has utterly altered McKenna. Gone is the entitled beauty – replaced by a confident, determined woman, and Brodie finds himself falling hard.
Can this cowboy break down the protective barriers and win McKenna’s trust and her heart?
Dear Ms. Watt,
This book might be a category length but it’s got a lot going for it with lots of tropes to choose from: friends to lovers, cowboys, women’s empowerment, and single mother among others. I especially like the care that is taken with the romance due to the heroine’s trust issues.
Brodie Collins is already the horse trainer at the Marvell Ranch in Montana, scene of the first book in the series I read earlier, “The Cowboy’s Last Rodeo.” McKenna Benjamin wants a job there but first she has to convince ranch owner Zach Marvell and Brodie that she’s capable of doing the work. Given her reputation from ten years ago as the privileged daughter of wealthy parents, she knows she needs to be proactive at the job interview.
Both Brodie and Zach have their doubts about McKenna but her calm determination and honesty sways them. A lot has changed her since she was the girl they remember – motherhood and a cheating, manipulative bastard of an ex will do that to a woman. She’s not going to give in, as her parents would like, to the family money and the subtle control that comes with it. The fire that almost took her little ranch has made it imperative that she get a job and a paycheck. Providing for herself and her son puts steel in her spine and her voice.
Brodie might not have thought it a smart idea to hire McKenna but quickly admits she’s got grit and doesn’t back down from any job. He finds himself admiring her work ethic and then admiring her. McKenna discovers that she never knew Brodie back in high school and finds a calm, capable man who does and says what he means, unlike the last man in her life. Can Brodie get her to give them a chance or is McKenna still too bruised emotionally to risk a “them.”
I liked this one straight off the bat. McKenna displays her strength early on when she quietly faces down someone trying to rush her and then takes the bull by the horns with Zach and Brodie by going on the offensive about her ability to do the job and her promise not to let them down. She has indeed come far from the image people had of her as someone who wouldn’t want to break a nail. Now she can help irrigate crops, build and maintain fences, muck out corrals, and fix a cranky lawn mower.
Yet she’s got some insecurities courtesy of her emotionally manipulative ex. She sought counseling and realizes what she’s up against but she acknowledges she’s still a work in progress. I like that she’s allowed to have her moments and anxieties and that these even continue for just a bit after she finds twue lurve – no insta cure here!
Brodie gets my approval early on when he clears the air with McKenna about his initial doubts and freely admits he was working with outdated impressions. Instead of hanging onto old stereotypes about her, he willingly changes his views based on the woman she is now. Once he knows the full story, which he waits to get until McKenna is willing to tell it, he gives her room and doesn’t crowd her. He horse training skills also provide a valuable example of how to deal with pushy people who will take advantage of any weakness.
McKenna is truly the one who grows and gains more agency in this book. If anything, Brodie might be a little too wonderful but then, sometimes it’s nice to have a hero who is never an asshole. I hope that we get to see what happens to McKenna’s cousin Izzy and that the two of them maybe get thrown out of more Marietta bars before this series is done. B