"Clever, fun, and sexy cowboys all in one great story..."
Reviewed by Mandy Burns
Posted March 26, 2011
Romance Contemporary | Western
Jody Bryce is finally returning to her hometown after
finishing college. She left as the reigning Ms. Rodeo
Queen with the future far and wide in front of her to chase
her dreams. Jody is keeping the promise she made all those
years ago to return home, she only hopes the town will
accept her as the plain ole Jody instead of the big hair,
rhinestone wearing Jody that she gave up to become more of
who she really is. Jody plans on running a therapy clinic
for special needs kids using horses on the family ranch and
testing out the long lost feelings for Teague Treadwell, the
town bad boy. Jody's first run-in with Teague leaves Jody
completely confused; gone is the worn jeans, dusty hat and
sexy smile, though the sexy smile is still there the
clothes are all wrong. Teague's fancy suit and bolo tie has
Jody thinking Teague is a complete stranger and wondering
what has happened over the years to change the man that once
held her heart.
Teague Treadwell was once the town bad boy and best-friend
of Ms. Rodeo Queen herself, Jody Bryce. Letting Jody go all
those years ago to chase her dreams has been the
driving force that led to who Teague has become today, even
if the town refuses to see the new him. Teague made a
promise to himself to be ready for the day Jody came back to
town, to prove he could be the man he thinks she needs. Yet
nothing prepared him for actually seeing her in the flesh
again. Teague is sure that his successful ranch and fancy
clothes have prepared him for the big haired, Rodeo Queen
but the moment he sees Jody looking normal, like she did
when they were kids, Teague's heart stops. The feelings
Teague buried long ago come roaring back along with the
chemistry sparking freely between them. Is it enough to
continue where they left off or will Teague's current drama
ruin their future together?
Joanne Kennedy has an uncanny way to bring characters to
life with clever dialog, fun situations, and sexy cowboys
all wrapped in one great story. Absolutely perfect!
A modeling contract with Wrangler got this Miss Rodeo
Wyoming a first-class ticket out of town, but somewhere
along the way Jodi Brand lost her soul. When she gets back
to her hometown, her childhood friend Teague Treadwellâ€™s
rugged cowboy charm hits her like a ton of bricks.
Teague is convinced Jodiâ€™s success lifted her out of his
reach. Now heâ€™s got to shed his bad boy image to be worthy
of the girl next door. But nobody in their small town world
seems to think a beauty queen should settle for a down and
Keeping one hand on the wheel and both eyes on the
highway, Jodi Brand rummaged in her purse and pulled out
her trusty can of Aquanet. Sheâ€™d sworn off blue eye shadow
and tossed her rodeo queen tiara without so much as a
twinge of regret, but she needed a twelve-step program to
kick her hairspray habit.
Aqua Net is to rodeo queens what duct tape is to
handymenâ€”a cure-all for everything from shellacking their
hair into place to shining their boots. It repairs runs in
pantyhose, fixes slipping zippers, kills bugs, and pastes
your cowboy hat to your forehead so itâ€™ll stick at a
Popping the lid, she glanced down at the label, then
back at the road. She could risk a collision by squeezing
her eyes shut while she sprayed, or court blindness by
spritzing her â€˜do with her eyes open. Simply letting her
hair tousle in the breeze from the open window was out of
the question, since sheâ€™d just passed the "Welcome to
Wyoming" sign. The minute she crossed the border into her
home state, her Queen persona took over like a perky little
demon returning to possess her, telling her to make sure
her hair was perfect and ordering her to smile, smile,
What she really needed was Rodeo Queen Rehabâ€”a quiet
residential facility where counselors would help her emerge
from under the shadow of her rakishly tilted cowboy hat.
But rehab was for sissiesâ€”sissies and Easterners.
Westerners like Jodi believed in personal responsibilityâ€”
and while she might not want to dress up like a Wild West
Dolly Parton anymore, she was proud to be Wyoming born and
So why wasnâ€™t she glad to see that "Welcome" sign?
She loved Wyoming. She really did. But coming home meant
facing the high expectations of a hometown that had sent
her East like an emissary to an alien planet. Theyâ€™d expect
her to bring civilization back to Purvis, or at least some
new fashion and makeup ideas. The fact that sheâ€™d gone back
to being plain old Jodi Brand was bound to be a
She turned off the highway and headed for the center of
town, a three-block stretch of old-fashioned storefronts
and cracked sidewalks presided over by a single traffic
light. Pulling into a space in front of the Rexall, she
squared her shoulders, gave her hair a quick spritz, and
stepped out of the truck. Her cowboy boots gave her
courage, making her walk feel like a bona fide swagger as
she strode through the drugstoreâ€™s swinging door and
stepped up to the counter.
"Jodi Brand." Darla Black widened her eyes and brought
one hand to her ample chest in a theatrical gesture of
horror. "My God, honey, whatâ€™s wrong? You look terrible."
When Darla wasnâ€™t stationed behind the pharmacy
counter, she starred in nearly every production at the
Purvis Little Theater, and her combination of dramatic
delivery and medical scuttlebutt made her the queen of the
coffee klatches. It was like having Gypsy Rose Lee, Hello
Dolly, and Auntie Mame all rolled into one convenient
"Why, Iâ€™m fine, Mrs. Black," Jodi said. "Just dandy."
She cocked her head and widened her smileâ€”or was she baring
her teeth? She wasnâ€™t sure. "But thank you so much for
Darla reached over the counter and placed a soothing
hand on Jodiâ€™s arm. "You can tell me, honey. Is it one of
those, you know, transmitted things?" She leaned over the
counter and lowered her voice to a whisper. "Itâ€™s not
cancer, is it?"
"Cancer?" Joss peered over the pharmacistâ€™s shoulder,
scrutinizing herself in the mirror behind the counter.
Behind her, six or eight customers peered over the shelves
to watch the show, like prairie dogs poking up from their
holes to scan the plains for ferrets. Their expressions
ranged from shock to dismay to pity.
Dang. She didnâ€™t look that bad. In normal surroundings,
she passed easily for prettyâ€”but in her hometown,
expectations ran high.
"So pale," Darla said. "And your hairâ€”honey, you look
just wrung out and hung to dry. What happened?"
"Nothing," Jodi said. "Itâ€™s just that Iâ€™m not a rodeo
queen anymore." She straightened her shoulders. "Iâ€™m a
certified equestrian therapist with a degree in special
"Well, it looks like all that hard work and studying has
just worn you right out."
"Iâ€™m not worn out." Jodi swallowed her aggravation. This
was even harder than sheâ€™d expected. "Iâ€™m just not wearing
makeup. I used to have to pretty up all the time. Eye
shadow. Blush. Sparkle powder." Tossing her head, she felt
her hair flare out and fall neatly back into place.
God bless Aquanet.
"But now Iâ€™ve got more important things to do," she
said. "Iâ€™m keeping my promise to make Purvis a better
place. You remember my speech?"
"Who could forget?" a deep voice behind her said.
Jodi knew that voice. She stood motionless, enjoying the
momentâ€”the delicious anticipation of finally seeing Teague
Treadwell again. She pictured the hard jaw softened by a
five-oâ€™clock shadow, the dark eyes glinting under a
battered Stetson, the long, lanky line of him leaning
casually against the counter like a dark-haired version of
James Dean in a cowboy hatâ€”cool and tough and drop-dead
sexy. God, sheâ€™d missed cowboysâ€”real cowboysâ€”and Teague
Treadwell was as real as they came.
She turned with a bright smile, then took a quick step
back. The man behind her was Teague Treadwellâ€”but he looked
about as real as a model in a Western wear catalog. He
stood like a cowboy, relaxed and lounging, resting one
elbow on the high counter like he might rest it on the worn
leather saddle of his trusty quarter horse, but his clothes
were straight out of Lou Taubertâ€™s dress-up section. Clean,
creased Wranglers broke tidily over what appeared to be
Tony Lama boots, and his white shirt was pinned at the
collar with a string tie that sported an expensive chunk of
polished turquoise mounted in silver. He held his hat in
his hand, a gray felt Stetson with a brand-new sheen
unmarred by sun or rain, and his clean-shaven jaw was more
GQ than Western Horseman.
And then there was the jacket. On any other man, sheâ€™d
have appreciated the way it classed up the outfit and
spanned his broad shoulders, but the cut of it hid at least
half of a butt sheâ€™d been looking forward to seeing in
"You took that scholarship and that modeling contract
and hightailed it for the city so fast it made our heads
spin. Frankly, we didnâ€™t think youâ€™d be back," he said.
"I promised," Jodi said, setting her jaw.
"I know." He stepped closerâ€”a little too close. "But you
donâ€™t always keep your promises."
To be continuedâ€¦
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