THE COWBOY’S HEART
JAMIE K SCHMIDT
Rating: 4 cups
Janice Sullivan, along with her sisters, Kelly and Emily, has returned to the family ranch “Three Sisters Ranch” to try to save it from bankruptcy. They all have their own ideas/plans for ways to diversify and make money. Janice is opening a retreat center in hopes of attracting clients who need to build confidence and want to learn about ranching with on the job activities. She is also looking forward to reconnecting with Nate Pierson, the ranch foreman, her father’s right-hand man, and her long-time crush. Her father calls her retreat the “boohoo club” and is scheming to marry her off to the rich, local large animal veterinarian Doc Pete. He has not only warned Nate off, but tried to enlist him in plans to get Janice with Pete “to save the ranch”.
Nate Pierson lost in a bet in a poker game by his no-good father and feels like the ranch is the only home he has ever really had, and Frank Sullivan a real father figure to look up to. He tries to stay away from Janice and worries if Frank finds out they are together he will fire him, even though he took on all the work when Frank recently had some health issues and kept the ranch functioning to the point of exhaustion. He can see Frank’s point about Doc Pete being better for Janice because he has never felt like he was good enough or deserved her, so he tries to help push them together all the while wishing he was enough.
Doc Pete recommends the retreat to a counselor at the hospital and Janice gets her first paying customers. Frank and Nate are not in favor of the “boohoo club”, but Janice moves forward with her plans. She makes some progress with Nate, but then his horse gets bit by a snake and he is thrown off, dislocating his shoulder, so she stays at the ranch to meet Doc Pete to take care of the horse. Then Nate’s dog gets sick after eating tinsel off the Christmas tree she put up over his objections. She is juggling all the activities of the retreat, with her father’s matchmaking, and Nate’s mood swings while trying to keep her Christmas spirit.
I really enjoyed this book. I cared about all of the characters and have intentions of going back and reading the other two sisters’ stories now as well. I connected with Janice, especially because when she is piping mad, she cries, which most everyone treats as a weakness or thinks she does it for pity. I too have this problem and it usually makes me even angrier when the tears start and I have to fight not to shut down. Nate is a true treasure because he knows what is really going on and tries to help her deflect or distracts others for her to be able to get it together.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More