How the Cowboy Was Won
by Lori Wilde
Cupid, Texas #6
March 27, 2018
Return to New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde’s beloved town of Cupid, Texas, where wedding fever is in the air…and two best friends discover that sometimes the perfect match is standing right in front of you.
Ember Alzate is a fantastic matchmaker with one big problem: she can’t find the perfect mate for herself! Alzate family legend says that when she kisses “the One” she’ll hear a mysterious humming in her head. Well, Ember’s kissed a lot of guys and she’s never heard a thing. Now, instead of searching for herself, she vows to find her best friend, Ranger Lockhart, a bride. It’s clear this smart, sexy man just needs to meet the right gal.
Ranger’s returned home to Cupid with marriage on his mind but he’s not interested in the parade of women Ember pushes under his nose. His thoughts keep returning to his best friend—with her combustable combination of curves and sass. No one compares to Ember, but what’s it going to take to convince her she’s the woman for him?
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
The first Lori Wilde novel I read was almost exactly a year ago. In the interim, I intended to read more of her books. I may have to take up sleep-reading in order to accomplish that as things are now. Or maybe I’ll just make time. (Novel concept…a pun, a pun!)
The reason why is that Lori Wilde rocks. How the Cowboy Was Won much like last year’s Million Dollar Cowboy works on every level that I need a romance to work on. It’s funny, sexy, smart. The story makes sense without frustrating characters who have me either banging my head against something or rolling my eyes until they get stuck. (Ouch.) She also understands that romance needs a build up between the main characters so that when they come together, the reader is right there with them because they’ve made the journey too.
How the Cowboy Was Won is a friends to lovers trope, and, even though it’s a trope, it feels fresh in Wilde’s hands because of the characters of Ember and Ranger. Ember is as impetuous as Ranger is cautious. She’s the one who takes him out of his safe place, and he the one who makes her think before she leaps into a situation. They like and respect each other and value each other. I think that those are probably the best ingredients for any relationship.
Ember’s had a bit of a hit to her self-esteem thanks to her ex-husband, Trey, who was more worried about appearances than having a healthy relationship. So sometimes Ember takes things she normally wouldn’t to heart, but then reminds herself that she hates self-pity, especially her own, and just gets on with it. And that was one thing I loved so much about this novel. Ember seems like a real person without dwelling in angst, although there’s a tiny bit near the end for anyone needing that. Ember exudes life.
Lately I’ve found myself disliking a lot of the female characters in romance novels. I’ve felt like a broken record saying that I liked the male character but wished he’d found someone else by the end of the novel. I didn’t here. YES!
How the Cowboy Was Won is the sixth novel in the Cupid, Texas series. If you have the time, read them all, which is exactly what I am going to do, real soon.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies
HOW THE COWBOY WAS WON by Lori Wilde
A minute later, Ranger found Ember near the barn entrance scooping two longneck beers from a galvanized tub filled with ice. She was laughing with a younger, dark-haired man that he vaguely recognized. Her head was thrown back, exposing her creamy white throat, and a flirtatious grin lit up her face.
The other man was leaning into her, practically drooling, his eyes fixed on her cleavage.
Quick and sharp, a poke of jealousy stabbed Ranger’s gut, and he had an inexplicable urge to punch the leering guy in the nose. Which wasn’t him. He was the normally the mediator, not the guy starting fights.
But right now? He’d roll up his sleeves for a full-on brawl if it stopped the guy from staring at Ember.
What was this? He knew Ember could take care of herself. She had no need for a chivalrous knight to protect her honor, but damn if he wasn’t mentally searching for jousting armor and a white horse.
Confused, he blinked and shook his head, tried to figure out why he was suddenly feeling so possessive. She was Ember. No one could contain or control her. Nor had he ever wanted to, but right now? Watching this guy touch her shoulder? He felt positively Neanderthal.
Ranger knotted his fists at his sides, bit down on the inside of his cheek.
She caught sight of him and her eyes danced like a kid on Christmas getting the toy she’d long prayed for, and his jealousy vanished. “There you are!”
Her words were a caress, a joyous gift.
Cradling the longneck bottles, dripping with cold water, between her fingers, she reached out to take Ranger’s palm with her other hand, and called, “Bye Warren,” over her shoulder to the other guy.
“Come with me,” she said, guiding him out of the barn and across the dirt road to the cowboy wedding chapel. She opened the door into the empty building. At the back of the room, to the left of the altar, a wooden staircase led to an up-stairs loft.
The place was quiet and dark. Music and laughter from the reception barn sounded muffled and faraway, and the only light came from the full moon shining in through the curtainless windows. The chapel smelled of hymnals and wedding flowers and Ember’s cinnamon-and-anise scent.
It felt mysterious and secret, and Ranger found the place strangely erotic.
What was going on with him tonight?
Ember dropped his hand and hiked up the skirt of her formal gown, a sapphire blue that perfectly matched her eyes, bunching the material in her small fist. She kicked off her high-heeled shoes and climbed barefoot up the wooden ladder, somehow still managing to hang on to those beers.
Part tomboy, part girly-girl, she straddled both identities with ease. Poised and self-confident, Ember was one of those accomplished people who just naturally navigated any environment without having to think about it.
Agog, he stood in the darkness watching her as if seeing her for the first time, amazed at her agility and grace. He noted her delicate feet and toenails painted a pearly peach. Or at least they looked peachy in the moonlight. He admired how soft tendrils of red hair floated from her upsweep to trail against the nape of her long, swan-like neck. God, she was beautiful.
It was as if a year away had spritzed his eyes with window cleaner and rubbed them clear. How could he not have noticed before the ripe lushness of her breasts, the sexy curve of her hips, the pouty fullness of her bottom lip?
She’s your best friend, Lockhart. Stop this.
“Earth to Professor, head out of the clouds,” she called to him from the loft. “You gonna stand there all night?”
Sheepishly, Ranger scooted up the ladder behind her.
Once he joined Ember upstairs, she pushed open the wide barn door and walked out onto a ledge with roof access. Without missing a beat, and still holding the beers, she hiked up her skirt again, revealing those long shapely legs, and glided up a second, spindlier ladder that led to the roof.
Behind her, Ranger felt like a lumbering ape, the heels of his cowboy boots clinging sluggishly to each rung.
“Ahh,” she said, sinking onto the shingles, her knees drawn up, her dress tucked around her legs. Ranger’s heart thumped oddly, and he lowered himself beside her. “Cowboy boots and roof shingles don’t mix well.”
“At least it’s not tin like the barn.” She shrugged, twisted off the top, and passed the beer to him before opening her own.
“True.” He took a long swallow, tasted the familiar yeasty flavor of Lone Star.
With her knees still raised, she lay back on her spine and exhaled forcefully. “Ahh,” she murmured again. “Ahh.”
He doffed his Stetson, lay on his back beside her, resting his cowboy hat on his belly. Their shoulders barely touching, they stared up at the stars, resting in comfortable silence.
How many times had they climbed up on a roof to get away from the hubbub of their large families. A hundred? Two hundred? More?
“Look!” She pointed at the sky. “A falling star.
Make a wish.”
“You know stars don’t have the ability to grant wishes. It’s just—”
“Bits of dust and rocks falling into Earth’s atmosphere and burning up. I know, I know, you’ve told me a million times, but I’ll never give up trying to make a romantic of you.”
“You’re doomed to fail,” he predicted. “I can’t help being born with a scientific mind.”
“Spoilsport,” she teased, and dragged a toe along the roof. “You could pretend once. For me.” “Sorry,” he said. “I can’t eschew a lifetime of education.”
“And that—” she tapped his right knee with her left “—is why you’re not married.”
He didn’t say anything. What was there to say? He’d never much been interested in marriage. His career, and helping his family out with the ranch, took up most of his time, and what was left he spent with Ember.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of HOW THE COWBOY WAS WON, we’re giving away a paperback copy of MILLION DOLLAR COWBOY by Lori Wilde!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Million Dollar Cowboy. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 4/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Lori Wilde
A fifth generation Texan, Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 82 works of fiction. She’s a three-time nominee of the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award and has won numerous other awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University, and a certificate in forensics.
She is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor, and runs a yoga/creativity retreat for artists at Epiphany Orchards in Weatherford, Texas, the Cutting Horse Capital of the World.