My Cowboy Promises (The Cowboys #4)

Title: My Cowboy Promises (The Cowboys Series #4)
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Penquin Books (Intermix)
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Western
Page Count: 282
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A real man needs a real love…

To become the man he’s meant to be, one cowboy will have to be the man he never wanted anyone to know he was…

Ryder Dent is a true-blue cowboy. A devoted son, husband and father, but one who is living a costly lie. When they were both young, Ryder and his closest female friend Andy thought they’d found the perfect solution to both their problems—she was single and pregnant, and he was secretly gay—so they got married and raised Jonas together.

When Ryder gets hurt at a party, his son’s new pediatrician comes to the rescue. The connection between Ryder and Dr. Declan Winters is sudden, powerful, and undeniable. Ryder loves Andy and the family they’ve created together—but they both need more. Can they pursue their hearts’ desire without destroying the life they’ve built and losing the son they love?

“My Cowboy Promises” is the fourth book in Z.A. Maxfield’s The Cowboys series and perhaps the easiest book in the series to read as a stand-alone. While Tripp and Lucho from “My Cowboy Homecoming” make a brief appearance here, the setting has moved from the Bar-J Ranch in New Mexico to the Rocking C in Texas and introduces new characters.

When they were just teenagers, pregnant Andi and gay closeted Ryder marry and raise Jonah, a wonderful kid whom Ryder considers his son, although he’s not the bio-dad. They each fiercely love Jonah but along the way they’ve sacrificed their true selves to live in a claustrophobic small town where they are “the loneliness people they know.” Andi’s dream is to sing with a band (I envision her a Patsy Cline style singer with a big gorgeous voice) which her conservative control freak of a father (owner of the Rocking-C ranch) is vehemently opposed to, as in demanding of Ryder: “Why can’t you control your wife?” Ryder’s life isn’t much better – he gave up a football scholarship and now works at Dent’s, his father’s store.

The new doctor in town, Declan Winters, explodes into Ryder’s life and makes him realize there is more to life than living a lie. However, I would consider this more of a “coming out” story rather than a romance. The first three books in the Cowboy series focus on the two MCs almost exclusively, while this story encompasses a lot more ground. There’s a large cast of characters – Ryder, Declan, Andi, Jonah, Sterling, Ryder’s father and stepmother, Dent employees, etc. and at times the pace of the story felt a bit slow.

I liked how Maxfield touchs on Ryder’s relationship with his father and stepmother, and we really get a good sense of Andi and her hopes and dreams. The story is told in Ryder’s POV, but I would have liked to get Declan’s POV because he’s pretty much a mystery throughout the book. Also, the ending felt as if there were a lot of questions that still needed answers. It appears that Declan, Andi and Ryder are forging an interesting relationship, but we never get to see what that entails.

“My Cowboy Promises” is a solid 3.75 stars and I look forward to getting to know Ryder and Dent, as well as follow along with Andi’s dreams.

My Cowboy Series

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Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader