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4.5 22
by Lily Burana

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TRY: a rodeo rider's mettle in the face of being thrown off time after time…

In Denver, Colorado, Daryl Heatherly is a promising young artist, hoping to find the place she fits in. Back home in the country just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming—the real west—she's returning to the last place her family all lived together, to a life


TRY: a rodeo rider's mettle in the face of being thrown off time after time…

In Denver, Colorado, Daryl Heatherly is a promising young artist, hoping to find the place she fits in. Back home in the country just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming—the real west—she's returning to the last place her family all lived together, to a life bordered only by sage and sky. And it's there she rubs up against J.W. Jarrett, a World Champion rodeo cowboy and old-school Southern gentleman. Against her better judgment—not to mention that of her best friend, Shawna, and over-protective brother, Jace—Daryl forges ahead despite her own recent heartbreak, not only dating J.W., but joining him on the circuit to watch him ride. Even though the chemistry between them is immediate and undeniable, Daryl is determined not to fall for a cowboy, with all the dust and drama that implies—especially when she finds out that J.W. is a man with secrets. But Daryl hasn't counted on the grit of a man who has outlasted every other rider in the ring—her cowboy isn't going to give up that easily…

A love story set in the New West world of honky-tonks, buckle bunnies and pointy-toed boots, TRY is a fast, fresh, sensually charged novel about holding on to what you love despite all the bumps and bruises.

Editorial Reviews

Sandra Dallas
[Burana's]debut novel, Try , is a story of love and lust amid the dirt and cow pucky of the ring. She earns her spurs by capturing the roar of the crowd, the smell of the horses and, most important, the heartbreak of the rodeo circuit for both cowboys and cowgirls.
— The Washington Post
Library Journal
Daryl Heatherly is a 23-year-old landscape and portrait artist. After breaking up with her Denver boyfriend, she returns home to the family's Wyoming ranch, which she plans to help her brother put up for sale. When Daryl meets J.W. Jarrett, a bronco-riding rodeo champion 18 years her senior, sparks fly. Though she initially resists the romance, they soon become involved. Daryl travels with J.W. on the rodeo circuit, neglecting an important portrait commission and trying to understand his commitment to a sport that often leaves him black, blue, and broken. Readers will either love or hate Daryl's analytical first-person point of view. Journalist Burana graphically describes the lovemaking as well as Daryl's experiences of getting tattooed and pierced. Burana's first book was the nonfiction memoir Strip City, and both titles display her lively sexual curiosity. Some may be reminded of Pam Houston, but Burana cuts her own path through the modern western landscape. [A library marketing campaign is planned for this book.-Ed.]-Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A calculatingly sweet, hard-not-to-like debut set amid the dusty, manly rodeo circuit of Cheyenne, Wyo., by the author of Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America (2001). Burana tosses in all the elements here for a compelling, one-handed summer sizzler: big-sky country, horny rodeo riders and their roadies-the sexy, easygoing ubiquitous "buckle bunnies" who turn up in skimpy tops and don't mind when their cowboy is married-and lots of beer-swilling in raunchy roadside watering holes that hold Bikini Bull Ride competitions for the regulars. Daryl Heatherly, at 23, a graduate of Colorado State and an aspiring painter with a belly ring and hair to her waist, heads out from Denver, after a nasty breakup from her novelist boyfriend who didn't appreciate her, and takes off for Cheyenne, where her older brother, Jace, has to ready the family homestead for sale. Their parents divorced years before, leaving Jace, a recovering drug addict and secret homosexual, to keep the horse-farm running. But times are hard, and the rapacious real-estate agent is scratching at the door. Daryl finds a job cleaning rooms at the local Twin Pines motel, and settles back easily into her clutch of good-time girlfriends, like the irrepressible Kimber, divorced with a kid she sends back to her ex for the summer so she can find herself a cowboy. Soon, Daryl finds her own rodeo rider to love: J.W. Jarrett, a compact 41-year-old ex-champion with plenty of buckles and scars to prove it. Divorced, with a young son named Troy, J.W. is struggling honorably to make a living in the relentless Western rodeo circuit, but still lives in the shadow of his more glamorous, successful older brother, Duff Linsey, acowboy-turned-movie-actor. A love affair grows between the grizzled old cowboy and his sweet girl: He calls her "precious" and she calls him "Daddy." Burana once again has done her research. A touching winter-spring romance amid full Western regalia.
From the Publisher
"My God, it's refreshing to read a novel as good and rank and honest as TRY." ——Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

"Burana cuts her own path through the modern western landscape."

Library Journal

"Lily Burana has written a feisty, funny, sexy novel about romantic love, family love, the love of rodeo, and, above all, the marvelous oddities of the western landscape that brings these loves together. Daryl Heatherly is a captivating, endearing narrator and her leading man, J.W. Jarrett, will charm the chaps off of the most urbane reader. Try is a delight and Burana deserves a gold belt buckle for taking us along for the ride."—Meghan Daum, author of The Quality of Life

"Rodeo and romance have gone together ever since vaqueros in New Spain first tried their luck roping and riding while smitten señoritas looked on. Lily Burana's novel Try is a spicy, engaging love story that captures the sexual tension between women and modern rodeo cowboys better than any other novel I've read. Lily did her homework. Give Try a try—you'll like it."—W.K. Stratton, author of Chasing the Rodeo

"With her rich and seductive prose, Lily Burana pulls readers into a new world—and won't let them go."—Josh Peter, author of Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies & Bull Riders

"It's hard not to feel affection for a writer who starts her first novel with the sentence: 'Before I left for Cheyenne, I set my ex-boyfriend on fire.'"

New York Post

"What Daryl learns about rodeo turns out to be a metaphor for love and life…[Burana's] first hand knowledge of Wyoming and the rodeo circuit adds authenticity to the novel."—Wyoming Library Roundup

"'They'll never stay home and they're always alone.' Saddle up and find out."

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St. Martin's Press
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Chapter One

Before I left for Cheyenne, I set my ex-boyfriend on fire. I really wanted to blow his head off, but the lots are cramped in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood and there was no way I could shoot him unless I hung the photograph on the clothesline like a target in a carnival shooting gallery. The symbolism appealed but the possibility of taking out my neighbor's window did not. So I incinerated my ex with my glittery pink lighter while standing over the turtle-shaped wading pool that belonged to the kids next door. In the end, though, I couldn't bring myself to reduce Alex to ash. We were together for two years and I'd thought I loved him. As the little Bic inferno advanced along the edge of the picture, the paper curling and smoldering, I dropped the photo on the driveway and stomped.

"I'm sorry," I said to Alex's placid, smoke-smudged features. Then I ran over him with my truck.

At heart, Alex wasn't a bad guy; he was just the wrong guy. I didn't know it when we got together junior year at Colorado State, but he's sort of a reverse snob. He didn't seek me out because I'm model-thin or gorgeous or from some fancy bloodline. I'm none of those things. He told me he was drawn to my credibility, which I think meant he liked the idea of dating a poor chick from the middle of nowhere.

Alex had a goatee and the most inoffensive hands I've ever seen. He didn't care much about appearances, but tried to sympathize with my frustration over my fingernails, which are always a paint-crusted mess. For my birthday last year, he gave me a fifty-dollar gift certificate to the Yes, They're Fake nail salon. I chose to ignore the significance of this.

Alex's one-room apartment in Fort Collins doubled as a vault for his sacred vinyl collection---he'd play me original recordings of jazz legends and rare AC/DC bootlegs with geeky enthusiasm that started out charming but ended up annoying the crap out of me. We both liked country music, but he had exacting alt.country standards. Alex thought Hank Williams was God and anything Top Forty was trash. George Strait and Garth Brooks he dismissed as "hat acts." Last year, we had an argument over who was the better songwriter: Steve Earle or Alan Jackson. After a point, all we shared was a love of Johnny Cash, and a nagging sense of disappointment.

But that wasn't the deal breaker. Alex was jealous, jealous of my work in the way you might get over a person. I'd come over and make him peanut butter toast when he was sweating over revisions on his collection of short stories inspired by "Kind of Blue," but if I were ever reluctant to blow off painting to hang out with him, he'd say: "An artist's work is her passion." He relied on the hipster dodge of disguising aggression as wit, and around the sour knot of irony, he spat out the words "work" and "passion" like differing strengths of the same poison.

On May Day, I informed him---calmly, I thought---that I'd rather die a workaholic loner than put up with a guy who broke out in hives whenever he heard Toby Keith. A week later, Alex got a job as a music critic for the local alternative rag, and went public with an earnest archaeology student from Nebraska named Jen who collected obscure Alison Krauss recordings and treated him like her one great discovery.

I wasn't angry immediately after our final spat but as the days ticked by, my feelings changed shape. First came a frantic arc of shortcoming---Was it me? What did I do wrong? Then, long dull spirals of doubt: Will I ever get a relationship right? Am I going to be alone forever? Finally, I augured down to flat-bottomed rage: Alex, you high-handed sack of crap. You knew what I was when you met me.

I still felt that dull burn whenever he crossed my mind. Did I miss him, miss the idea of him, or merely mourn our failure? I couldn't tell, but when my brother---freshly rehabbed on the cusp of thirty-four---summoned me north to help sell Red Hill, the family acreage on the ragged edge of Cheyenne, I knew I'd caught a break.

Only a fool gets lost driving from Denver to Cheyenne. God made it goof-proof. The plains sit directly on your right side, the Rockies, your left. Fire one hundred miles straight up 1-25, undulant grass to starboard and staunch mountain to port, and you're golden.

I rolled down the window on my brother's hand-me-down truck, a big-boned gray Chevy I christened "Count Truckula" with a Bud Light poured over the hood. At 150,000-plus miles, the only thing holding the old hoopty together is luck, but I can't turn up my nose at a free ride. The truck cab filled with hot, hay-scented air. Behind a warty growth of identical mini-mansions in a cul-de-sac that offered residents an unobstructed view of the freeway, I could see a combine working, hay rolls dotting the draught-strafed field. I tugged down the brim on my faded khaki baseball cap and rested my left arm on the driver's side door, humming along with KYGO. Sky the color of flame from an acetylene torch, zero humidity---perfect, baggy blue jeans kind of day. I adjusted the rearview mirror, and checked the cargo out back: one grossly overweight yellow Lab named Homer, his graying muzzle high to the wind; steamer trunk; a folded-up easel; plastic-wrapped canvases; and two duct-taped supermarket boxes packed to the groaning limit with paints, brushes, pencils, and sketchpads. I'd already moved eight times in my life, so by this, my twenty-third summer, I'd learned to travel light.

Colorado melted away as I drove north. When I passed Exit 269A---Alex's exit---I tightened my grip on the wheel. Don't turn. Don't even look. In Weld County, the Front Range dropped to a stutter of low peaks, hazy purple and shades of deep blue in the dwindling afternoon light. Passing Owl Canyon glider port, I knew I was almost to the state line. Soon I'd see the roadside clutter of Wyoming: radio towers, steel sheds selling fireworks, billboards, futuristic turbine windmills with three-point propeller-like blades, and the dust-churning herd that meandered the rolling expanse of the Terry Bison Ranch. This riffraff was just a scare tactic. Within twenty miles, the blight of humanity---consumerism, eco-friendly folly, tourist crud---would cede to the overwhelming abundance of fuck-all. Wyoming is the country's ninth largest and least populated state, with fewer residents than the city of Denver, and more antelope than people.

Up ahead, the Devil's Tower sign marked the border. I thought the old sign was better: a blue cowboy on a bucking bronc, a background of blue mountains, and underneath, a supernatural promise. WYOMING---LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH. Orange sunlight poured over the dun-colored hills. I followed the curve of the first exit, old yellow dog listing westward in the truck bed, clattered down the county road doing seventy-five on knobby tires, and skidded into the dusty parking lot of the Bluffs Ranch rodeo just in time.

Copyright © 2006 by Lily Burana

Meet the Author

Lily Burana has written for The New York Times, GQ, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, and a variety of other publications. She is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book STRIP CITY.

Lily Burana has written for The New York Times, GQ, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, and a variety of other publications.  She is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction book Strip City.

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Try 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stumbbles in ...Jason?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She winced holding her wrists
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
&#20007 .20007 &#27777 . 27777 &#20777 . 20777
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is hands down my absolute favorite book!
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rockluvr99 More than 1 year ago
I thought I'd like this book a lot more than I did. I was let down big time! I just could not associate with Lily Burana's writing. Her style is different, almost like she's trying too hard. I felt like she was jumping around a lot and I found myself flipping back sometimes to see what I had missed. The love story between Daryl and JW was not very powerful. It left me wanting MORE! I don't think I will be reading anything else by this Author. I suggest you read a sample of her writing before buying anything.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book at the library to read for the summer. It was great! The book is about a girl dating a cowboy that rodeo's. She describes everything that went on from when she first met him to the end. In a way I think it describes my life I can really relate to this book. I would recommend this book to people who like rodeo, love, dramatic books. Lily Burana really did a great job on this one!
Azjura More than 1 year ago
I picked up Try off of the Bargin shelf @ my local B&N because the synopsid looked good and I was intrigued by the cover...WOW! I totally fell into this book and couldn't put it down till the end. The very first sentence pulled me right in and had me keep reading till the end. While some may find it strange the main characters relationship to a 41 year old man (she's 23) the author does a fantastic job of showing hoe regardless of what age your at you can go through similair situations and need somebody as a companion to see you through things. I would recommend this book to anyone (my boyfriend's best friend even loved this book and was pulled in by the first sentence as well!)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even finish this book it was so bad. Once this 23 year old 'girl' refers to this 42 y/o 'man' as her 'daddy', i had to stop. WHAT?? Gross.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so good I could not put it down. I have read it 5 times and everytime I found a detail I missed. The ups and downs with Daryl and J.W. keep you wanting to read more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Artist Daryl Heatherly leaves the Denver area to return to her family home in the Cheyenne, Wyoming vicinity. She and her brother Jace plan to sell the place. However on the drive, Daryl thinks about how poorly she chooses relationship having figuratively burned her last one with reverse snob Alex whom she met two years ago at Colorado State. --- At the Bluffs Ranch in Wyoming, Daryl meets world champion rodeo fortyish cowboy J.W. Jarrett. He behaves like a perfect gentleman though he is attracted to the enthusiastic girl half his age. She, in turn, finds his gentle romantic old west manner enticing. In spite of her sibling¿s strong objection of her dating a cowboy twice her age and her friend warning her that J.W. suffers from relationship phobia because of all his groveling groping groupies, they become an entry as they travel the circuit together. Still she has doubts as she wants independence not dependence on both their parts so J.W. knows he must continue to get off the dirt and TRY to convince his beloved that their May-December love is forever. --- The background rodeo circuit is vibrant as the dust, bruises, and injuries of those participating in the circuit and their beloved family members accompanying them provide a strong setting reminiscent of the Wide World of Sports. The lead couple is a fascinating pairing of an older man with a younger woman but both their closest friends and family believe it is wrong yet love makes it so right so each understands they must TRY. Readers will appreciate this delightful ¿old west¿ contemporary romance that showcases (The Wide World of Sports) ¿the thrill of victory¿, ¿the agony of defeat¿ and ¿the human drama of athletic competition¿ in the rodeo and in life. --- Harriet Klausner