A guest review by Buda
Summary Review: A simple, sweet story of a straight cowboy falling for his business partner’s little brother is marred by melodrama, unrealistic scenes and a too-short timeline.
Book one in the Cowboy Lovin’ Series
When Tyler runs to his injured brother’s side, he doesn’t know it’s his brother’s partner that will take all his attention.
Tyler has three problems. His brother, Baron, was injured, his job sucks and Baron’s straight partner, Cody, is the hottest piece of ass he’s seen in a long time.
When jealousy lifts its ugly head, Tyler learns that all problems have a solution if you can only corral yourself a hot cowboy.
Tyler Remington, a chef in New York City, gets a call from his brother Baron’s business partner, Cody Stark, telling him that Baron is in the hospital and the situation is serious. Quitting the job he hates, Tyler rushes home to care for his brother and mend his newly broken heart. It seems his boyfriend, The One, isn’t gay now, he’s getting married–to a woman.
Cody isn’t gay, but he is instantly attracted to Tyler. Since the ranch cook is away tending to family matters of her own, Cody employs Tyler as the ranch chef. The ranch hands love Tyler and his cooking and swiftly decide the surest way to keep getting top quality food is to find Tyler a boyfriend, the very idea of which sets Cody’s teeth to grinding because he can’t stand the thought of anyone but him touching Tyler.
What could have been a very sweet story was ruined for me by several things. First, in this very short book, the word chef is mentioned 50 times, most of them used to describe Tyler in Cody’s mind, many of those with the word his before chef. Second, in some places the sentence structure was so tortured as to say, well, absolutely nothing. For example: “Using techniques he’d learned in culinary school and hadn’t used since, he was pleased with the results.” (Uhm, really? Now, you can make sense of this statement in context, but as a standalone sentence, it fails.) Third, Cody is unlike any cowboy I’ve ever known. He’s not rough and tumble, as he would like to believe; in reality, he’s a walking tear duct, just waiting to burst. There is a scene in which the possibility arises he might have to fight for Tyler’s affection. But no. Instead, he runs off to the stable and bawls like a baby. Some readers will find that endearing. I found it irritating in the extreme. And that’s not the end of Cody’s melodrama either.
The timeline from the moment Tyler steps into Baron’s hospital room until the last scene is approximately one week, two if I missed something in the two times I read the book. During this very short, very rushed period, Cody goes from completely straight (except for those few times in high school he lusted after a guy or two) to head-over-heels in love with Tyler, who reciprocates the declaration, even though he’d just had his heart trampled on by his New York City boyfriend.
Here is Cody’s description of Tyler to one of the ranch hands before Tyler arrives: “Baron told me his brother’s gay, so I expect y’all to treat him with respect, not to hurt his feelings. Baron said he’s real delicate like.” Cody continues to believe that about Tyler, even given evidence to the contrary. He treats Tyler the way the dingbat heroines in M/F romance were being treated two decades ago when I quit reading that stuff. Here’s the description of Tyler when Cody first sets eyes on him:
Where Baron’s eyes were pale blue like an arctic wolf, Tyler’s eyes were the colour of a perfect summer sky. Tyler’s mouth was full and pouty where Baron’s was hard and firm. It was almost as if Tyler was the purer, more innocent form of his friend.
Overall, these issues combined to steal my enjoyment of the book, which is a damn shame because have you seen that cover? Holy Hell Hawt! And Tyler seems like a good guy who needs more than he’ll get from troglodyte Cody. That is not to say that some readers won’t absolutely love this story of chef and cowboy. But for me, it just didn’t work, as much as I wanted it to. Unfortunately, I found Cody to have as much substance as the wet bottom of a paper cup. The character I found most interesting in this book was Baron, whose part is rather minor.
Amber Kell is a new-to-me author, as this is the first book of hers I’ve read. Those readers who are looking for a light, fun, melodramatic romantic comedy sort of book will probably enjoy this a lot.