Review: Always a Cowboy by Linda Lael Miller

Always a Cowboy by Linda Lael Miller
Series:  The Carsons of Mustang Creek (# 2)
Release Date:  August 30, 2016
Publisher:  HQN Books
Pages:  384
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review



He’s the middle of the three Carson brothers and is as stubborn as they come—and he won’t thank a beautiful stranger for getting in his way!

Drake Carson is the quintessential cowboy. In charge of the family ranch, he knows the realities of this life, its pleasures and heartbreaks. Lately, managing the wild stallions on his property is wearing him down. When an interfering so-called expert arrives and starts offering her opinion, Drake is wary, but he can’t deny the longing—and the challenge—she stirs in him.

Luce Hale is researching how wild horses interact with ranch animals—and with ranchers. The Carson matriarch invites her to stay with the family, which guarantees frequent encounters with Drake, her ruggedly handsome and decidedly unwelcoming son. Luce and Drake are at odds from the very beginning, especially when it comes to the rogue stallion who’s stealing the ranch mares. But when Drake believes Luce is in danger, that changes everything—for both of them.


Review:  I enjoyed being back in Mustang Creek and being reunited with characters we’ve met before and some new ones too.  This is Drake and Lucinda’s story or Luce as she’s called but also brings us up to date with the rest of Drake’s family and extended family. The chemistry between Drake and Luce was immediate and only progressed from there.  Having his brothers, sister-in-law, his mom and the help that is treated as family weigh in on what was happening between them was often comical but sometimes heartbreaking since Drake didn’t seem to know which end was up although he knew there was a strong pull between him and Luce.  Luce is a graduate student doing a study on the wild horses near the ranch but also has a life plan scheduled out.  Where do her plans fit in now that she and Drake have some burn up the sheet moments?

There are lots of animals, the ranch, family and friends, confidences, camaraderie, injuries, the wild stallion and his herd, sarcasm, reminisces, memories, romance, loving and love.  The story moved at a rapid pace but I felt it was missing some of the depth that I found in her other series.  The plot seemed rushed and I didn’t know I was at the end of the story until I turned the page on my ereader and found a personal essay from the author entitled Growing Up Western.  Although interesting I wanted more story!

The characters were well developed and had a lot of layers to them.  What you see isn’t always what I expected!  There was some playfulness but also a seriousness due to the topic of the wild stallion and the mountain lion and how close they were to the Carson ranch.  There was some closure and a happily ever after but loose ends too that I hope will be addressed in the last book in the trilogy, Forever a Hero.  There was an excerpt at the back of the book for it, which is Mace’s story, and only whet my appetite for more!

Lael is one of my favorite western authors.  I look forward to reading many more of her books not just the next book in this series.

Favorite Quote: …”So. tell us about the student.  The one who’s cuter than a pup in a little red wagon.  That’s Red talking as you might’ve guessed, via Jim.”