The Bull Rider’s Family by Leigh Duncan

BULL
The Bull Rider’s Family by Leigh Duncan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (219 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

RECIPE FOR DISASTER?

Four generations of Judds have made the Circle P one of the most successful ranches in southern Florida. And even though he’s only taking the reins as ranch manager temporarily, Colt Judd isn’t about to let the new chef challenge their traditions! Emma Shane may be running the kitchen, but the petite widow and her irresistible four-year-old daughter answer to him.

Runaway bulls, a ruined family treasure and one less-than-welcoming cowboy weren’t what Emma envisioned when she relocated her tiny family to the Everglades. Colt isn’t going to bully her, even if he is easy on the eyes. The attraction’s mutual…and her little girl is also getting attached. But how can Emma trust their future to a lifelong wanderer?

Emma Shane, single mom, needs a job and a home somewhere she can happily raise her daughter. She thinks she’s found it when she’s asked to cook on a ranch … until she arrives and discovers that the person who actually hired her has passed away. And his son is none too happy to have her there.

Colt Judd doesn’t want to run the ranch. He wants to go back working for the PBR, but he doesn’t have a choice. And he likes things just the way they are – they don’t need some fancy chef running their kitchen.

From the moment they meet, sparks fly between Emma and Colt. At first they can’t stand being in the same room together, but that slowly starts to change when they’re forced together to try to reconstruct the family recipe book. When they actually talk and discover each is human, those sparks light a fire.

I liked Emma. She was a strong, smart and determined woman, not to mention a good mom. I liked that she did whatever it took to get what she needed, even when she was worried or afraid.

For all his gruff exterior, Colt was a good man. You had to dig a little if you weren’t part of his circle of family and friends, and there were times he frustrated me at how quickly he jumped to conclusions or made decisions without having the full story, but he wasn’t trying to be mean or cruel. And I could certainly see why Emma was attracted.

I really enjoyed the story. The plot was interesting and frequently fun, and the secondary characters often stole the show. Considering the size of Colt’s family, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing these folks again. The only things that made me drop the rating of this review is what caused the “dark moment” near the end, when it appears the couple will go their separate ways – I really had a hard time believing Colt would behave as he did. And then after he did, I struggled to believe Emma could be so forgiving so quickly. Even so, The Bull Riders Family was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I hope this is part of a series so I can revisit the Circle P Ranch again soon.

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