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The Cowboy's Claim

The Cowboy's Claim, June 2020
Tillbridge Stables #1
by Nina Crespo

Harlequin Special Edition
Featuring: Tristan Tillbridge; Chloe Daniels
288 pages
ISBN: 1335894632
EAN: 9781335894632
Kindle: B081FC96XP
Paperback / e-Book
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"An actress needs to ride - but she's afraid of horses"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Cowboy's Claim
Nina Crespo

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted January 4, 2021

Romance Contemporary

Chloe Daniels is an actress determined to gain a breakthrough part. She needs to have experience working around horses, so she books herself a month on a holiday ranch in hot Maryland. Secretly, she’s afraid of riding. In THE COWBOY’S CLAIM, get ready to admire this lady a great deal as she toughs it out beyond any other guest.

Tristan Tillbridge is a family member in this ‘Tillbridge Stables’ series, and he’s establishing his right to be part-owner of the business. He was estranged from his late father as his stepmother came between them. Therefore he doesn’t trust another city-type elegant woman who says she’s keen to learn about horses. One gold-digger in the family was enough.

I laughed as Chloe – rebuffed from her horse quest – pitches straight in with the restaurant work and from there moves on to any other work needed. She makes herself so darn useful around the place that everyone likes her and is ready to give the stable manager a hard time. Just as much, I started to admire the rest of the kind staff, with all the organising and sheer hard work that goes into the care and feeding of many guests. Not to mention the horses.  

If you want to read an enjoyable outdoor romance about a contrasting couple, Nina Crespo has penned a great start to her series. The cast are interesting and have well-considered backgrounds, and I can see that plenty of potential arises for new characters to arrive as guests, staff or specialists. I learnt a little about acting, and the pressures on an upcoming actress who has to try hard to be likeable to the director and not appear a prima donna to the crew. Meanwhile, the Maryland folks enjoy their cook-outs and dancing, and who can blame them with good food and excellent appetites.

THE COWBOY’S CLAIM is a fun contemporary Western romance, which I recommend to horse lovers and romance fans everywhere. I’ll be watching for more ‘Tillbridge Stables’ books. Grab your boots and Stetson, those horses won’t groom themselves.  

Learn more about The Cowboy's Claim

SUMMARY

He’s discovered his leading lady

The role of her dreams: in his arms.

Chloe Daniels is determined to land the role of a lifetime. Even if she’s terrified to get on a horse! And the last thing her reluctant teacher, Tristan Tillbridge, wants is to entertain a pampered actress. But the enigmatic cowboy soon discovers that Chloe is as genuine as she is gorgeous, and he’s determined to make her his. Will this unlikely pair discover that the sparks between them are anything but an act?

Excerpt

Excerpt from The Cowboy’s Claim by Nina Crespo

 

“All right, people,” the DJ called out over the mic. “I’ve gotten a few requests to change it up.”

 

A country song pumped through the speakers, and Adam, Bethany and other couples paired up.

 

Well, the fun was over. Chloe reluctantly started to head back to her seat and almost ran into Tristan. A small shudder of awareness zipped through her.

 

She stared up at him, suddenly unable to speak, searching his face for a sign or an inkling that she wasn’t the only one who’d felt it. Chloe didn’t realize her hand was raised in his or that his other hand rested on her back until a dancing couple bumped her closer to him.

 

Chloe held on to his arm for balance. He wanted to dance with her. “But I don’t know this one.”

 

Tristan leaned in near her ear. “I’ll teach you. Trust me. It’s not complicated.”

 

Not complicated? Every cell of her being was awakened by his proximity and his  familiar scent warming on his skin. She’d probably make a fool of herself. “Okay. I’ll try.”

 

He moved back a little. “It’s just a simple two-step. When I step forward with my left foot, you step back with your right. Then it’s quick-quick, slow-slow. Quick-quick, slow-slow. I’ll guide you through it.”

 

Right away, she jumbled the steps.

 

Tristan chuckled. “Wait. Let’s do that again. Start with your other right.”

 

Meaning not her left foot. Instead of cringing with embarrassment the humor in his expression made her laugh, and she tried again. A few steps later, she followed his lead finally easing into the smooth easy movements without stepping on the toes of his boots.

 

He caught her off guard as he released her and twirled her around. When he took her back into his arms, her leg slid between his, aligning their hips and melding her to his chest...just like during their kiss in the pasture.

 

Nearby, Adam and Bethany danced just as close. When Adam spun her around, in one deft move, Bethany snagged his brown cowboy hat from his head and put it on hers. Bethany wound her arms around Adam’s neck, and he rested his forehead to hers as his hands slid to her waist.

 

A hint of envy filled Chloe as she longed for that kind of intimacy with Tristan, but unlike Bethany and Adam, that kind of closeness would put all eyes on them, making people wonder about them, and raise questions that she didn’t even have the answer to about her relationship status with Tristan.

Needing to change focus, Chloe looked to his cowboy hat. His other hat was in the front seat of her rental, parked just off the road near the pasture gate along with the cars of other Spring Fling attendees. She’d planned to hand it over to him after the party.

 

“Your Stetson reminds me, I need to give you your ball cap back.”

 

“Or you could trade up.”

 

“What exactly does ‘trade up’ mean?” The huskiness in his voice made her look directly into his eyes.

 

Tristan’s slow lean in near her cheek brought her closer to him, and she drew in an unsteady breath as his lightly whiskered cheek grazed hers. “You tell me.”

 

 


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