Title: My Cowboy Heart (The Cowboys Series #1)
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Penquin Books (Intermix)
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Genre(s): Contemporary Western
Page Count: 266 pages
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A cowboy’s heart has room for anything…
J-Bar ranch foreman Malloy pretty much keeps to himself—slinking around the edges of everybody else like an old coyote, doing his job and staying private. That is until Crispin Carrasco shows up.
Lean, muscular, and with a motor mouth that won’t quit, Crispin sparks something in Malloy—something the foreman didn’t know was there. But how does a lone coyote approach the warmth of a fire? And more important, what would happen if that fire burned?
Crispin Carrasco is the new hire at Crandall Jenkins’ J-Bar ranch. He may be young (25) but he’s cowboy all the way. I picture Malloy as a cross between a young Sam Elliot and Hugh Jackman in Australia – only 32 but already careworn with responsibility due to the overwhelming loyalty he feels for Crandall Jenkins, who pulled him from darkness into the light when he was a 14-year-old foster kid. Being there for the people he loves is everything to Malloy.
Both Crispin and Malloy are damaged goods, but almost from the moment they meet there is an understanding there, a sizzling chemistry and a heartfelt longing that fuels this story from start to finish:
[Crispin] I used to imagine words hung in to the air for a while, fluttering around before they fell to the ground in piles of letters like snowflakes.
[Malloy] I could actually picture it, letters like snowflakes swirling in the air around Crispin and littering the wooden porch deck …..
“You were looking for words, weren’t you? You were looking around us on the ground and wondering what words would look like if they’d fallen there.”
Sure it was weird, but there was no doubt I’d done exactly that. “Maybe.”
“We’re soul mates” he exclaimed happily. “You’re the first person I’ve ever said that to who actually looked.”
My Cowboy Heart is my absolute favorite Z.A. Maxfield book. There is a lyrical quality to the prose, an emotional depth in each and every character, and a rightness in the relationship between Malloy and Crispin – all overlaid by Crandall Jenkins and the love and admiration everyone had for this great man. I honest to gawd sob every time I read parts of this book and christ, some of the lines just about tear me up. Like Malloy thinking about Crispin: “He liked to fill a silence, that one, and I’m mostly made of silence.” and “That kiss was oxygen and I had been suffocating all my life.”
One more Malloy quote that will dry all those tears away … “If you come onto me like this, if you curl up all over me and make eyes and shit, you’d better be prepared to fuck me like the fleet’s in, or I will knock you down.”