Title: His Convenient Husband
Author: J.L. Langley
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary Cowboy Romance
Length: 53 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
At the tender age of seven, newly orphaned Micah Jiminez lost everything—and got lucky. The Delaney family opened their hearts and their home, treated him like one of their own. One Delaney in particular, though, became more than a brother to Micah. The handsome and protective Tucker is the man to whom he wants to give his love.
But after a single passionate night together, Tucker rebuffs him and hightails it to Dallas to pursue his dreams. Leaving Micah to pick up the pieces of his broken heart—and feeling like a fool.
The impending death of the Delaney patriarch brings an unsavory relative out of the woodwork, threatening Micah’s beloved adopted family. They’re going to need all hands in the fight to keep The Bar D from being pulled out from under them all—including Tucker. Micah steels himself to convince the man he can’t forget to come home.
To his everlasting surprise, it’s Tucker who comes up with the perfect solution: a marriage of convenience—to Micah. His gut tells him Tucker’s motivation involves nothing more than saving the ranch. Now he just has to convince his fragile heart.
His Convenient Husband is an extended version of the story which appears in the Studs and Spurs anthology (reviewed by Kassa HERE). I normally don’t look at reviews of books before I read them, especially if I know I’m going to review them myself. I did read a number of reviews for this book though, many of which were not too complimentary so I didn’t really have very high expectations when I starting reading this book. Imagine my surprise and delight when I really rather enjoyed His Convenient Husband. It may not be as good as some of the other JL Langley books I’ve read, but it’s certainly well worth reading.
One of the reasons I may have liked this book so much is because it took me back to my teenage years when I read a lot of Mills and Boon romance. JL Langley admits that the old US Harlequin books were the model for this story and it shows in that the plot is a little far-fetched at times. The book follows the fortunes of a Texan family. The patriarch, Ferguson, is dying of cancer, leaving behind two sons and two grandsons. The eldest son, Donald, ran off years ago with his brother’s wife, leaving his brother, Jeff, and his two sons, Tucker and AJ to run the ranch. Tucker, however, chose the path of greed and money and took off to Denver to become a wealthy businessman. Added to the family is Juan, the ranch supervisor and his nephew, Micah, whose own family dumped him on Juan after his parents died. Micah has been raised as one of the sons of the ranch and is now in charge of the finances. The ranch is spiralling into debt so Micah visits Ticker in the city to ask for his help. They had a bit of a fling a few years ago and things are awkward between them. When a strange clause in Ferguson’s will comes to light, it seems the best way to prevent Donald from taking over is for Tucker and Micah to marry.
In order for you to enjoy this book then a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is in order, just like with many of the old Harlequin books. I know that a clause in a will which states that the first person to marry gets the ranch is never going to stand up in court (which is also pointed out several times in the book) and I know that the fact that Tucker and Micah get married is a bit silly and contrived (particularly as the book is set in Texas) but I went with it and found myself enjoying the book as a result. The characters are likable, especially Micah who is hard working to the point of giving himself an ulcer and independent but with a internal humour which made me warm to him. Tucker is a rather selfish man at the beginning but grew and developed through the story enough that I felt he and Micah complemented each other. Even Donald, who is shown to be the ‘bad guy’ throughout most of the book is given some redeeming qualities by the end.
I liked the tension between Tucker and Micah, and I found the scenes where they are talking or arguing were the ones which worked best in the book. JL Langley always writes great sexual tension and that came across strongly in this book too. Even when the men are trying desperately to cling onto old hurts, their bodies give away their obvious attraction which led to a number of ‘will they won’t they’ scenes. Actually this was one area where I got a bit frustrated with the book. On several occasions the two men kiss and it starts to lead to more when either they are interrupted or one of the men ‘comes to his senses’. I didn’t mind it the first couple of times but it did get a bit tedious after a while and I wished they’d just get over themselves and get on with it! I also liked the clash of personalities, where the wiser Micah tries to get Tucker to realise that he’s not the immature 18 year old that Tucker left behind four years ago. Having said that, Micah is still quite young and sometimes behaves in ways with shows his age by losing his temper, storming about the house and refusing to see reason at times. This contrasted with the older Tucker, who is trying to help Micah as well as protect his from further stress.
Overall, this is a light, undemanding read. I raced quickly through the novella and found it to be both funny and tragic in places. It’s well paced with a good mix of dialogue and reflection, plus the characters are fairly well drawn and all get a nice bit of page time. It’s true to say that this doesn’t compare well to, say, Tin Star by this author. However, I would still recommend it to those who are looking for a quick, easy read about love and cowboys.