The Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage by Jessie Gussman

The Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage by Jessie Gussman
Sweet Water Ranch Western Cowboy Romance Book 5
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

It was supposed to be simple.

Marry the tall Texan. Her children get a father. They save the ranch.

A business transaction, nothing more. She definitely wasn’t going to fall in love. After her husband ran off with her little sister, she was no longer susceptible to cowboy charm.

Except, the North Dakota girl had never met a Texas cowboy.

He married her for the ranch.

A former champion bull rider needs a spread to call home, even if it is in North Dakota.

Even if it comes with four little kids.

And a big, black, slobbering dog.

Especially if it comes with a woman with enough sweetness and enough toughness to rope his heart and heal it.

The cowboy’s not afraid of anything…except losing his heart again.

Reading this romance was like breathing in a sweet, refreshing gust of air that cleared my mind of current worries and concerns. I needed an uplifting, positive romance read and I found it in The Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage. I’d never read a story by Ms. Gussman before and I am pleased that my first book by this author ended up being a great experience.

The premise is simple. Rich guy leaves a lot of money to various people after he dies, but puts restrictions and provisos that seem ridiculous and unattainable at first glance. I don’t know how other books fared in the series, but in this book, even though it uses a well-known trope, the business arrangement of a marriage, or a marriage of convenience, was perfectly executed and delightfully told.

Rem is a banged up cowboy who has ridden his last champion bull. Elaine is a woman who’s burdened by choosing love and motherhood over the sometimes easier but often-chosen path of shared parenting in her divorce. Her burden isn’t because she chose single-parenthood – it’s because her family legacy and love of the land she called home is causing a hardship that was forcing her to face a choice she didn’t want to make – sell the farm. She’s hanging on by the skin of her teeth when Rem steps up to the plate.

I found it interesting that the author used other people, who must have been characters from a previous romance story, to vet and verify the quality and veracity of Rem and Elaine’s characters so the story could jump right into the good stuff. Two strangers agree to marry to secure their own ends and meet their most pressing concerns but end up doing the very last thing they thought they’d do – fall in love and heal the needs, hopes and lost dreams of their hearts. It’s their journey that the book is about and it’s filled with family, love, sacrifice and gentle humor.

There are too many details to cover that justify my high rating of this novel. I don’t want to accidentally spill spoilers either, so I’ll be vague. Rem’s growing relationship with Elaine’s four children is heartwarming to watch. The dog is sparsely applied but effective comic relief. Rem’s estranged relationship with his father and brother is briefly explored but provided interesting insight. Rem’s mom kind of rubbed me the wrong way – passive aggressive manipulation isn’t a favorite ploy of mine, but I still get the feeling that Rem loves his mom anyway, and she did love her son. The description of inside the home he grew up in kind of makes me understand why his mom might be the way she is. And, I’m really glad Rem ends up in North Dakota. I respect a man who makes his own decisions and makes his way in the world by not backing down from challenges. Elaine’s situation is a huge challenge to be sure, and the hero is more than up to the task of dealing with what looks to be insurmountable financial odds. I say insurmountable because the rich guy’s bequest might not be the boon everyone expected. How Rem deals with that is what makes him an awesome hero.

I would classify this romance as sensual. There are passionate thoughts, kisses and temptations but I appreciated that when the time finally came to be husband and wife in more than name only, the bedroom door closed. I am left knowing that they were satisfied with that part of their relationship and it was blissful, but I didn’t need explicit scenes to believe that their love and compatibility in that arena was genuine and beautiful.

The Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage ends with an emotionally satisfying happy ever after with feelings of joy, contentment and the knowledge that they are now truly one big happy family where love and faith guide and nurture their hearts. The epilogue also includes a very effective hook for the next installment of the series. I’ll have to check it out because it sounds interesting and if it’s anything like this story, I’ll be in for another great read.

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