One clutzy advice columnist. One champion cowboy. And an entire small town rooting for love.
Advice columnist Maggie Hope never dreamed she’d be shaking hands with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan over a high-stakes bet, especially one that involves horses. And saddles. And everything else a city girl like Maggie feels uncomfortable around. But after filling in for a coworker and interviewing the handsome cowboy, she finds herself doing just that. Anything to save her advice column.
Despite Maggie’s two left feet, Tru is bound and determined to bring out her inner cowgirl by teaching her to ride a cutting horse, trained to separate cattle from the rest of the herd. While her riding improves, their attraction intensifies, but Tru knows he can never let her into his heart—for her own good.
In Wishing Springs, a community full of meddling but well-meaning townsfolk, Maggie discovers the home she’s always longed for. But she’s holding something back—a secret that could destroy her reputation and any future she’s ever hoped for with the cowboy she might just love.
About the Author
Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist who was first published in 2005 and has more than 22 novels to her credit. Along with her writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra is the author of the acclaimed Mule Hollow Matchmaker Series, the place readers tell her they wish was real. Her goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words. Visit her online at www.debraclopton.com, Facebook: debra.clopton, Twitter: @debraclopton.
Read an Excerpt
Betting on Hope
A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance
By Debra Clopton
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Debra Clopton
All rights reserved.
"What have you gotten me into, Amanda Jones?"
Staring at the rough-looking building, Maggie Hope clutched her cell phone to her ear and fought down a hot flood of panic. "The sign says the Bull Barn. What is this place?" she gritted through tense jaws.
Rustic was an understatement for the faded wooden building sitting on the outskirts of Wishing Springs, Texas. It had dark windows and a long plank porch supported by columns made of knobby tree trunks. The steeply pitched red roof sagged in the middle. It was a dive, a shack.
"Calm down, Mags," Amanda croaked, the flu causing her to sound like an eighty-year-old smoker, instead of the intimidatingly elegant, thirty-five-year-old bombshell who was the key ingredient of the most popular morning show on Houston's local channel. She coughed. "It may look a little rough, but it's the cowboy and local folks' hangout."
"But—it's deserted. Lonesome. If it's a hangout, where is everyone?" It didn't look like a place anyone would want to hang out in. Especially Maggie. Dives brought back memories she worked hard to forget.
The TV station's van was the only other vehicle in the white rock parking lot—and that only added to her distress, which in truth was more about the TV camera than the clapboard building that looked like a leftover of the Wild West days.
She swallowed the lump in her throat. She wanted to go back home and write her daily advice column, "Gotta Have Hope," in obscurity. But ... not happening. Amanda was delirious to have offered Maggie as her stand-in for this important interview with champion Quarter Horse rider, trainer, and ladies' man, Tru Monahan.
Maggie was a writer, not a reporter. She wasn't comfortable being in front of people—it brought back memories of the worst times of her life ... not only a time of shame and embarrassment but also a time when her life fell apart. But none of that mattered to anyone but her, and since the same conglomerate owned both the newspaper and the television station, Maggie hadn't been asked to do this. She'd been told.
Amanda sneezed. "The show asked for the interview to be done when there was no one else around. Small-town interviews tend to be harder when locals are involved. It's better for you this way." Amanda's hoarsely whispered words ended in another croaking cough.
"Amanda, you sound terrible." Sympathy won out over Maggie's nervous breakdown.
"I feel awful," Amanda wheezed. "I'm going to sleep now. You let those red heels do the walking and get in there, girlfriend. You can do this."
"But—," Maggie blurted, but the line had gone dead.
Maggie's hand tightened on the now useless lifeline to her friend.
She glared into the rearview mirror and cringed at her overdone blue eyeshadow. Her cheeks were too pink, too, and her lips sticky with gloss. Amanda had assured Maggie that for the camera she needed a little more color than was normal.
Clammy fingers of panic tightened around her windpipe. Maggie squeezed her eyes shut and counted to ten ... calm did not come. It was a wonder she hadn't broken out in hives or something on the two-hour-long drive over here.
"Gotta Have Hope" was a dream come true for Maggie and it was because of Amanda's recommendation that she even had the job. No one truly knew what a blessing the advice column had been for Maggie. A lifesaver, really. As Amanda had been to her when they'd first met several years earlier.
She owed Amanda ...
Even so, Maggie figured this gig was going to be the full sum of her debt owed. Yup, paid in full was getting stamped on that bill. Amanda was always looking out for her, but she didn't know about the fool Maggie had made of herself in her freshman year during the school play. Freezing up, then knocking down the entire set in her panic ...
Everyone laughing ...
And then the aftermath—a chill filled Maggie. What if she made a fool of herself in front of thousands of TV viewers?
"Stop," Maggie huffed, glaring at herself in the mirror. She was not that insecure kid anymore. Not the kid whose home life was so messed up that she could barely hide it from everyone her seventh grade year. The kid who'd tried to lose herself through acting as an escape from reality only to fall apart that night on stage. The clumsy kid who left the stage in tears only to arrive home to find police hauling her father away.
The night of that play, Maggie's life changed from bad to worse.
No, Maggie didn't do limelight well. It brought back far too many bad memories that she was still trying hard to wipe away. Maggie closed her eyes and inhaled slowly. She'd found out the hard way that she wasn't meant to be in the spotlight where there were things she couldn't control.
But none of that mattered because her bosses believed this would be good for her floundering advice column. They wanted her readers to see the person behind the column. Ha—they might discover that was a really bad idea when they saw her in front of that camera. She'd probably freeze up, throw up, or all of the above.
Stop. Just stop.
"Positive thinking here, Mags. You will do this and you will do this well."
Pulling from the well of determination that had gotten her out of that life and into the life she had now, Maggie opened the door of her baby blue Volkswagen Bug. Fear never got her anywhere.
June heat slammed into her along with the scent of something tasty roasting inside the awful building. Okay, so at least that was a positive sign. She reached across the seat and grabbed the red high heels—bought specifically for this interview. Amanda swore they'd give her courage and confidence. Carefully, she set them on the chunky, white rocks of the parking lot and then slipped her feet into them.
She might be a lot of things, but chicken wasn't one of them. Sure, she'd once been afraid but she'd learned to push through her fear. And that was exactly what she was going to do now.
She reached for her red leather folder—something else Amanda said worked for courage—slung her large purse over her shoulder and stood in a decisive movement of decision to give this her all. Her hand trembled as she smoothed her flowing skirt, but she ignored it, then slammed her car door and took a step toward the Bull Barn.
The rumble of a large engine had her glancing over her shoulder. A shiny, black four-wheel-drive truck whipped into the parking lot the same instant a whirlwind swept across the dusty ground. Maggie's skirt had been swishing gently about her knees, now it caught air and attempted to do the Marilyn-Monroe-thing and fly up over her head. Maggie let go of her folder and desperately grabbed for the dancing skirt.
She managed to clamp it down just in time but dropped her folder.
"No," she gasped as it hit the ground and the papers with Amanda's prewritten interview questions instantly swirled up into the whirlwind like birds freed from a cage. Fumbling to gather her skirt hem in one hand, she grasped at flying pages with the other. The white gravel Texans were partial to did not get along well with her heels. She knew she was making a ridiculous spectacle of herself wobbling and tottering as she watched her interview fly into oblivion.
She couldn't do the interview without Amanda's questions.
Her long blonde hair swept across her eyes just as a man's wide, tanned hand reached over her shoulder and plucked a page fluttering in front of her from the air.
"Got it," said a deep voice as its owner stepped past her and continued to snatch pages from the air one at a time with quick, coordinated movements.
Relief surged through Maggie as she watched the long-legged cowboy swoop the last one off the ground and turn toward her. The championship-size buckle at his hips gleamed in the sunlight in competition with the white smile slashing across his face.
Maggie's stomach nosedived straight to her toes.
Photos had failed to do Tru Monahan justice.
Beneath his black Stetson, the chocolate dark hair brushing his collar was richer looking, his jaw stronger, and his high cheekbones more prominent than they'd seemed on television or in the tabloids. And his eyes ... Maggie's breath caught when her eyes collided with his. Warm, deep, rich amber reminding her of maple syrup held up to the light. They were simply incredible—he was incredible.
Her ankles melted and she wobbled again when his lips shifted from the dazzling smile into the signature half grin that caused the skin around his eyes to crinkle enticingly. That expression enhanced a bunch of commercials and even appeared on a variety of equine products he endorsed.
That grin had won Tru Monahan a horde of female admirers across the country.
And Maggie was not immune. Her pulse went ballistic in response to all that dazzlement and the ground shifted—okay, so maybe that was her imagination, but she felt it nonetheless.
"I'll carry these for you," he said, tucking the folder beneath his arm, his expression relaxing as he focused his full attention on her. Which was a little overwhelming.
The wind fought her skirt, and her hair tickled her nose as Maggie swallowed the lump firmly situated in her windpipe. "Thank you," she croaked—she actually croaked—Oh, just shoot me now and be done with it. "I'm in a bit of a bind at the moment." Sometimes the truth was the only way to go.
His gaze drifted to her ironclad grip on her runaway skirt, which was still fighting for freedom.
"It would be my pleasure," he drawled, his grin twitching. "Can I help you?"
Maggie just stared at him like she'd never seen a goodlooking man before.
Her hair slapped her in the face—a much-needed wake-up call.
"N-no. I'm fine. Just fine," she gathered her skirt closer and smiled stiffly while sweeping her hair out of her face with her free hand. Forcing her shoulders back, she took a couple of steps toward the restaurant, teetering dangerously on her heels once more.
Tru walked slowly beside her, his black boots crunching the rocks that were in cahoots with her shoes to do her in. After a few treacherous steps, he touched her arm. "I don't want to get in your business, but I'm thinking maybe you should hold on to my arm before you go flying across this rock and skin'n up those pretty knees of yours."
Maggie halted, staring at him. His Texas drawl did funny things to her insides. Okay, so maybe she shouldn't have told Amanda that she thought Tru was the best-looking male on the planet, when her friend had first mentioned interviewing the cowboy. She'd made that statement back when Amanda was supposed to be doing the interview.
Maybe if she'd kept her mouth shut, Amanda might not have suggested Maggie substitute for her.
Tru crooked his arm in invitation and the warmth of his gaze radiated through her.
"I'd say no," she said, her voice annoyingly breathless. "But then I'd probably fall flat on my face, so thank you." She slipped her arm through his and wrapped her fingers around the corded muscle of his forearm.
She felt really ridiculous clinging to her interviewee as they headed toward the porch. The man smelled like leather and sunshine and something spicy that drew her like a hummingbird to sugar water. She had to fight the urge to lean in and inhale.
When they made it to the steps, she was thrilled. "Thank you for rescuing me. I was courting disaster out there." And now too.
"Always glad to help a lady in distress."
"If you're around me too long, you'll risk getting overworked."
His eyes twinkled. "I definitely might have more than I can handle where you're concerned."
She stumbled on the step—the cowboy was flirting with her.
Worse—Maggie choked on a gasp—he thought she was flirting with him.
"P-probably not," she assured him, stepping quickly away from him, happy to have the smooth wood porch beneath her feet and space between them. "I'm fairly boring on most days, quartz gravel and heels aside."
He grinned at her words and monster-size butterflies did loops behind her rib cage.
"I have a feeling that's not true." He held out the folder with the pages he'd stuck back inside. "These are yours, I believe."
"Thank you, again." Maggie's fingers grazed his as she took the folder and sparks tingled up her arm. Her cheeks burned. No doubt about it, she was the most unprofessional interviewer the Houston Tribune could ever have chosen for this assignment.
He pushed open the heavy door by the glass panes in the upper half. Fighting conflicting emotions, she brushed past him—being sure not to touch him. The delicious coffee-scented, cool air from the inside swept over her, soothing her heated skin.
Coffee—that's what she needed. A strong cup of courage.
Safely inside, she finally dared to let go of her skirt and it swayed gently just above her knees as she glanced around. She was relieved, for a moment at least, to have something other than Tru to focus on. The film crew was set up off to the side of the diner, busy checking equipment while waiting for Amanda to come in and take charge. Only Amanda wasn't here, and Maggie had absolutely no idea what to do. Hopefully someone else would be able to show her the way.
Tru moved to stand beside her. "Looks kind of vacant. Are you here for lunch? I think they're holding off opening 'til after that." He jerked his head slightly in the direction of the cameras, but said nothing about them interviewing him.
"Um, no," Maggie said, startled by his question, only then realizing he had no idea who she was. "I'm here for the interview."
"Oh. You're getting interviewed too? I am, but to be honest, I'd rather be home riding my horse."
A laugh bubbled from her. Of course he didn't know who she was. He was expecting Amanda, and everyone knew what she looked like. "As odd as it is to believe, I'm here to interview you, Mr. Monahan." She held out her hand and tried to look more professional than she felt. Tried to ignore the way her gaze kept wanting to stick to him like a stamp to an envelope. "Maggie Hope, filling in for Amanda Jones—she's ill, I'm sorry to say."
She lifted her chin, hoping to convey confidence. Of course there was an upside to the entire fiasco in the parking lot. She'd caught her skirt just in the nick of time. Otherwise, she'd have climbed back into her car and hit the road to Houston out of mortification.
At least at this point she could still look the cowboy in the eye.
* * *
Tru was losing his touch. He found himself staring into the spearmint-green eyes of the gorgeous blonde with the dimples—and a very nice set of legs. Normally he could pick a reporter out of a crowd at fifty feet—there was a certain aggression in their eyes.
Not vulnerability like he'd thought he'd seen in Maggie Hope's eyes. He'd never seen this one coming.
This woman had none of that, and in her own words, two left feet. She'd been a mess out there. A cute mess, but a mess nonetheless.
It was hard to believe a popular show would send a reporter who looked as unprepared as this woman did to tape an interview that would be viewed by thousands. Was it an act to get him off his guard? He didn't consider himself a big deal, but he had won the National Quarter Horse Finals again, and when you added in his unfortunate tabloid debacle, he knew he was news right now. As bad as he hated it.
And the station could send out whomever they wanted to do the interview.
"Hey, Tru." Big Shorty, the owner of the Bull Barn, approached from the back of the diner, sauntering over with a grin on his weathered face. An old cowboy himself, there was no mistaking the teasing light in his eyes. "Any later and you'd have missed your own interview."
Tru shook his hand. "I got held up for a moment." He glanced at Maggie. "Besides, there's no need getting here early for the setup. Wouldn't want them to think I had nothing better to do."
"We all know that ain't the case. Just like they asked, I got folks run off till eleven o'clock, but then they're gonna be bustin' in here to find out about the interview." He leaned in close. "Of course I got a couple who won't take no for an answer, and they're stuffed back there in the kitchen pretending they ain't here." He winked.
Excerpted from Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton. Copyright © 2015 Debra Clopton. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There is something about a cowboy that can make any girl go weak at the knees. Tru is just one of those characters that did that for me right off the bat. Maggie Hope was also swooned by him from the first time that she met him when she was asked to replace her friend Amanda to do an interview with him. Tru is one of those types that is mysterious in just all the right ways and is a hard working man that gets things done for himself to ensure that his future remains intact after his father’s gambling problems. The ranch was at stake, and it kind of still is, which is why Tru is pretty much forced into doing a lot of PR work to keep the monetary part of his life together. He can’t lose the ranch and Maggie can not lose her advice column that she writes and loves so much. So what are they to do when they are brought together by what seems like fate after the interview? Get on the horse and ride, that’s what. Maggie is a sweetheart and will make you love her with her spark more and more as the book progresses. Even though she is put right in the middle of challenges, she manages. That’s more than a lot of people could have done if they were faced with the ultimatum that she was about losing her column if she did not do a series on learning how to ride from Tru. She is a strong woman in all the right ways and at the right times. I would not have liked her so much if she was the really bossy type with a take no prisoners attitude. She is likeable but strong willed at the same time, which is perfect. I really liked that the romance that developed between Maggie and Tru was not one that was sporadic. It did not happen quickly and does not make the reader feel like it is an uncomfortable closeness that happens too soon. There is, of course, the tensions of the lessons between the two of them, but I did not feel that the author overdid these feelings. The characters traits were revealed to the reader slowly and it made the storyline all that much more intimate and was easy to relate. This book was a nice change of pace in the romance category for me. I felt like I had been reading a lot of intense romance novels lately and this one was just a sweet cowboy romance that twittered my heartbeat. This is just the first book in the series and I look forward to what the rest of the series has to bring. Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.
This has a great story line. The characters were well defined and definitely have their own personalities. I would recommend this read to young adult and older.
Enjoyed reading this book. Just a side note: I would love the author to use the phrase ‘placing the baby’ as opposed to ‘giving up the baby’ when talking about adoption. Really awesome perspective of the mom placing her baby!
Look for this story and two others in one book and for less money! The author was able to make this reader feel as the characters were actually personally here in my town. The story kept interest from the first to the last page.
Betting on Hope is the first book in Debra Clopton’s Four of Hearts Ranch Romance series, and is the first novel I’ve ever read by her. I have to confess, I was a little worried going in, as I always am when I read a book by a new-to-me author, but I realized my fears were unfounded before I had even finished the first chapter. Debra did an amazing job of weaving together a wonderful story that captivated me until the last page, and I know that I will be reading many more of her novels in the future. There are so many facets to Maggie Hope. She is strong, she is determined, she is fierce, and she is fearful. Though that may sound like a bit of an odd combination, it perfectly describes all that is Maggie. She holds so much fear inside her--maybe of failing, maybe because of her past—but she remains strong and determined just the same. Even though she has every right to be bitter and mad at God, she gives Him the glory constantly and continues to remain faithful to Him. Something that makes her inspiring story all the more interesting is the fact that you are only fed bits and pieces at a time. You have to read almost the entire novel to truly find out all that makes up Maggie’s past. It makes the story all that much more captivating, not that it needed help in that department. And a huge part of what made this book so amazing is summed up in two simple words: Tru Monahan. There is no way to describe the power of a handsome cowboy, and Tru is the perfect example of that. Even though he is a bit stubborn and hardheaded at times, he truly proves himself to be a kind and caring protector, and that says a lot about his character. Although he faces so much adversary throughout the course of his life, he is able to remain determined and strong, and allows those struggles to shape him for the better rather than dwelling on them, for the most part. Betting on Hope has made me a forever fan of Debra’s, and has even earned itself a permanent spot on my all-time favorites list. I absolutely loved this sweet, touching story, and cannot wait to read more in this series. I happily give this novel all five bookshelves, and would recommend it to absolutely anyone, but especially people who know the importance of a story set on a good, Southern ranch. (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
I always enjoy a good cowboy! A little predictable, but very enjoyable clean story. I love seeing characters rise above their pasts and Tru's optimism and outlook shine bright.
This book has all the makings of a great western romance, with a handsome cowboy, city girl thrust into the country with only said cowboy to save her from being eaten alive by horses, multiple secondary characters who bring interest and depth to the story, and backstories of hardship and resilience, as well as all the crazy fun that comes with a small-town country setting. Maggie Hope's advice column's future is on the line, so when she is asked to fill in and interview celebrity heartthrob cowboy, Tru Monahan, she has no choice but to acquiesce. What she doesn't expect is her instant connection to the handsome cowboy, nor being forced to take up the bet thrown out during the interview: that Tru would be able to teach even a city girl like Maggie to ride a cutting horse. The attraction between Tru and Maggie is instant, with fireworks exploding when they touch and their nearness affecting the other. Despite this, and luckily for the book's believability, Tru is wary of Maggie's motivations as a journalist (he has been burnt once before by those in the spotlight and has no plans to fall for that line again) and Maggie is wary of men in general. So, both do their best to stave off any growing affection. But with the two months Maggie must spend on Tru's ranch learning to ride, not falling for each other is easier said than done. And despite the fireworks at the start, the romance between Tru and Maggie does develop gradually throughout the book, making it both believable and enjoyable to read (and really, who doesn't enjoy reading about romantic fireworks?). There are a whole lot of stories intermingled with Maggie and Tru's. There are Bo and Jarrod, Tru's brothers who bring jokes and banter to the story, and Pops, Tru's beloved and ageing grandfather. There are the town's people, everyone from the nosy Clara Lyn and Reba to the identical twin Mayor and real estate agents Doobie and Doonie, who bring humour to the story. And there is Jenna, a young mother-to-be with whom Maggie instantly connects. I liked that the characters had troubled pasts and had to deal with troubling situations. It made the story that much more heartfelt and relatable. This is more a clean romance than Christian romance. While there are a few mentions of God and prayer, how faith impacts the characters' lives or is active in everyday life is not a detailed part of the story. It also seemed that Maggie jumped from referring to God as that someone/anyone up there to already knowing God. It just seemed a little inconsistent. There were also a few instances where themes of forgiveness or trusting God to lead could have been discussed. But the book still works as a romance with the gentle underpinnings of faith. Ultimately, this is a fun book and I couldn't help but become wrapped up in the characters' adventures, which are just a little bit crazy and a whole lot of fun. At its heart, Betting on Hope is a romance, with a lot of the action scenes, such as Maggie learning how to ride a cutting horse, brushed over to focus on the tension between her and Tru, as well as them dealing with their pasts. Betting on Hope is an intense and pounding romance, with humour and a surprising depth. It is the first in the Four of Hearts Ranch series, but it can be read as a standalone. I am looking forward to reading book two in this series.
Love how Maggie and Tru's relationship developed. Hope there relationship continues in the next book as well.
Well, Howdy Ma'am! Maggie Hope is doing a television interview--her first, and she is scared spitless. The subject matter is Tru Monahan, a famous rodeo winner who hates reporters. So begins the story of a handsome cowboy who meets a beautiful, but klutzy, writer. And all of this takes place in the charming, small town of Wishing Springs, Texas. I betcha you can't...I betcha I can! Tru and Maggie are thrown together for two months because of a silly bet made during their on air interview. Because of that bet, Tru has to teach Maggie to ride a horse like a pro--and Maggie is petrified of horses. If they don't try to do this, Tru will lose a lucrative sponsorship, and Maggie is told she would no longer have her advice column that is her real, much loved, job. Not your ordinary romance. So far, this might sound like just another romance story. But that would be a wrong assumption. There is romance in this book, but there is also a whole lot more. The characters have real depth, and serious issues in the storyline include child neglect, teenage runaways, unwed mothers, male sterility, and Alzheimer's disease--along with its affect on families. How about a good laugh? The author does a great job of breaking up the serious subjects with fun, humor and zany characters and circumstances that pepper the pages of this delightful tale. This is book one in A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance Series, and I look forward to the rest of them. Will Tru and Maggie decide it is too hard to work with each other, and give up, despite what they will each lose? Can Maggie find out who the blackmailer is? And will the wacky townspeople be able to help kindle a romance between Tru and Maggie, or drive them further apart? What will become of the runaway, and the baby she is soon to give birth to? Find out all this and more in the pages of Betting on Hope. This five-star book will leave a smile on your face, and a warm spot in your heart. It will do all that without offensive language or adult situations, and is written from a Christian point of view. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story. The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of Betting on Hope through The Thomas Nelson Publishing BookLook Bloggers Program for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
I like Debra's Clopton's books because she writes a good story that usually includes a touch of humor. Betting on Hope is another good story, a quick, easy, safe book that provides good escape.
If one likes Christian novels, this is a good one. One can relate to be clumsy around someone they like and Maggie Hope doesn't disappoint in this area. There is more than just learning to ride a horse and competing in a competition in this book. A reader gets a look into an unwed mother and the best decisions to be make for their baby and how good friends and people can help these young mothers.
The story starts off with a challenge made between the main characters Maggie and Tru. In life sometimes we have personal challenges with others. There is a subplot which involves a young lady that is facing a challenge due to life circumstances. A key sentence "She'd even landed a job that enabled her to help other people look past bad situations and find the hope in them." Read the book and watch the challenges unfold and what kind of resolutions happen.
After watching the news last night I decided to start reading BETTING ON HOPE intending to read just a little while. I was still reading when the sun came up. The words were blurry and I couldn't keep my eyes open which really upset me because I had gotten 91% of the book read. Hate it when that happens!Finished reading it this morning.Tru Monahan is not only a true cowboy he is truly a gentleman. He had so much patience with Maggie and her insecurities. She had every right to not trust men. But Tru Monohan was a different breed than the men she had known in her past.She made a bet with Tru and he was determined to win that bet.Tru has a loving close knit family, where as Maggie's family is sadly the opposite.If you are wondering, yes, it is an amazing read! I highly recommend this book And I am ready for book two in this series.I rated this book a 5 out of 5.Disclosure:I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley/Thomas Nelson for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
BettingOn Hope By Debra Clopton Published by Thomas Nelson A story about intertwined people and what they a missing out on be a use of personal matters. A man who lives in a busy body town where not one citizen is nosey but all of them and a woman who is looking for a special place to call home while on a business trip. ¿¿¿ I always love a good story about country men and God tied up all together but I wasn’t able to get into this one. I was gung-ho ready to read it when I got it and wasn’t able to dip by head into it. Finally though I was able to and it wasn’tain’t something I, myself, was able to stick too. But I am willing to give this book a second chance. So that’sthat’s what this new week is all about. Giving this book a second chance. I am going to bury my head deeply into this book I just might get lost in it. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I was caught right away by the storyline and could not wait to read the next chapter! I laughed and cried and loved the characters. Will definitely read more by this author!
Maggie Hope is a writer, writing a column of advice in a big city newspaper. To help out a friend, and hopefully to build readership for her column, she agrees to do a live interview with rodeo star, Tru Monahan. During the course of her blundering interview, Maggie somehow finds herself involved in a bet with Tru. He claims that he can teach her to ride well enough to enter a competition. Of course Maggie thinks this will all blow over. But, when her boss insists this will be good publicity for her paper, Maggie now is faced with moving, temporarily to Wishing Springs, Texas to come under Tru’s training. On the surface, this seems like another nice country boy meets city girl story, but there are several other serious subjects brought into play in this sweet story. We have an unwed soon to be mother looking for a place to take care of her and help her with the choices she must face for her baby. We also have one of the main characters facing the possibility of sterility from a childhood bout with cancer. There is the beloved grandparent who is coping with dementia. We also have adult children struggling to overcome the poor choices that their parents made. The author does a good job addressing these issues without making it a difficult book to read. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Wishing Springs. Life is friendly and people really care about each other. This is the first in a series about the Monahan brothers. The next book can’t come out too quickly for me. I received this from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hott Review: What I liked: I absolutely loved this book!! At first I thought this was going to be a typical cowboy romance, and in some ways it was, but it was also so much more. I totally fell in love with Hope. She’s such a wonderful person who hasn’t allowed her painful past to hold her back. She found God and persevered while keeping a positive and hopeful attitude. What I didn’t like: At the beginning of the book, I looked several times to see if this was a “Christian” book. It was a clean romance but there was little talk of God’s hand throughout the novel. Though betting on hope is a clean romance it definitely isn’t appropriate for an average Christian teen. While generally there was nothing inappropriate I believe that some of thoughts and feelings mentioned are better left to those ready for romance. More… Source: Thomas Nelson via Netgalley Grade: A Ages: 18+ Steam: Y/A – Adult Setting: Wishing Springs, Texas
At first look, it seems like beautiful Maggie and heartthrob Tru have everything going for them- in the career department at least. But under the surface they each have tragic backgrounds and current struggles that run deep. It was the harder themes that got to me with this book rather than the romance. The author dealt with them in a gentle manner yet didn't shy away from the reality of the situations portrayed in the story. Dysfunctional family members, family loyalty, Alzheimer's, homelessness, unwed pregnancy, adoption, infertility, gambling, fame... but even with the heavy themes it's still uplifting and inspiring. I especially appreciated the different perspectives in the adoption storyline since we adopted both of our daughters. Don't get me wrong- there are plenty of funny and sweet moments too, and there is a strong cast of secondary characters that rounds out the hometown feel of this novel. (Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing and BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
I enjoyed this novel. It is a story about a cowboy and his brothers who have to find way to save the family ranch, the name brother Tru is a cutter on the rodeo curcuit. He has become quite famous and they send a reporter out to do an interview. Well the reporter who was suppose to do the interview became sick and sent her friend who was a writing reporter. Maggie is so nervous about the whole interview that when Tru challenges her that he can teach anyone to be cutter she has to take him up on it. Maggie has a lot of her own skeltons in her closest that she has to overcome also and they come to haunt her. I very much enjoyed this novel and will recommend it to be read.
I received a free copy of this novel from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. Maggie Hope is working at her dream job in Houston, Texas. She writes an advice column for a newspaper owned by the same people who own the television station where her best friend, Amanda, hosts a live morning show. When Amanda comes down with the flu, she talks Maggie into filling in for her to interview cowboy hunk, Tru Monahan. Despite what she feels is a disaster, everyone else seems to love it and Maggie finds herself committed to a bet that Tru can teach her to ride and cut cattle in 2 months. Her boss thinks it's a great idea. In fact, if she doesn't do it, she's fired! How many more things can go wrong? Maggie has had a tough life -- a father who was a thief and a con-man and was sent to prison leaving her with a mother who was a drug addict and couldn't have cared less about her. She became a runaway, but she always had hope that the next day would be better. Now, she is painstakingly careful about what advice she gives in her column but she actually answers all her mail and in her strong faith, she tries to give people hope in their future. When she gives a pregnant runaway a lift to Over the Rainbow, a home for unwed mothers, Maggie sees herself in Jenna and decides to be her friend. Her life starts to get really complicated when she feels a genuine attraction to Tru. He has his work cut out for him since Maggie is not only a klutz but knows nothing about animals in general, or in horses in particular, except that she really doesn't trust them. Tru has his own secrets and is suspicious when it comes to reporters. He thinks he's been set up, and, despite his attraction to Maggie, he's going to keep things strictly business and get through the 2 months training as fast as he can. At least that's his intention. The plot has lots of twists and turns, and more than a few misunderstandings. There's quite a bit of humour -- the vet's pig who thinks it's a nurse, the twins, one of whom is mayor but sometimes they switch places, the town busybodies -- and the small town setting of Wishing Springs is appealing. I found it a bit repetitive as both Tru and Maggie struggle with conflicted emotions within themselves, but the tension that develops, especially as Maggie's past starts to catch up with her and threaten her career, is realistic and I found the book a quick and enjoyable read. Debra Clopton has written a number of cowboy romances, so I'm likely to give another one a try.
Betting on Hope was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Let me get my "negatives" out of the way first . . . — My biggest hangup with this book was the way the relationship between Tru and Maggie (the main two characters) developed. During the first half of the book, I felt like everything was solely focused on looks. Beyond that, the romantic feelings didn't really make sense to me. As a friendship progressed between the two (particularly in the last fourth of the book), there were still times I didn't understand the motivations behind their actions. Perhaps more showing (instead of so much telling) would have helped move this relationship along better. — There was WAY too much going on. There were probably a dozen story lines carried on throughout the book, and at least six of them were primary stories. I felt like this hindered story development at times. — Finally, I was surprised by the number of grammatical errors throughout. I don't fault the author, but the publisher. Comma placement (or lack thereof) was my biggest frustration. Now then . . . on to the positives. I've read a couple of other books by Debra Clopton and really enjoyed them. Betting on Hope has the potential to set up Wishing Springs as the next Mule Hollow . . . and that's a good thing! — I loved the small-town charm of Wishing Springs! It's a small town in the country in Texas. Small town + middle of nowhere + western = a winner. — Beyond Maggie and Tru (who were very likeable), Wishing Springs is home to quite a few fascinating characters. Clara Lyn and Reba are compassionate busybodies (if that's possible). The twins who switch out as mayor were hilarious. And the vet with the pig who has a great bedside manner was definitely unique! My favorite, though, was Jenna. Her story was so poignant and emotional, but truly hopeful. Maggie grew a lot through knowing Jenna, which made their relationship special. — The author set up the rest of the series perfectly with Betting on Hope! I'm assuming that the next books will feature Tru's brothers, who I am quite intrigued by. And I'm desperate to know more about Rand. There just seems like there's a ton of back story there that hasn't come out. I need to know more! Although this is a bit of a mixed review, I definitely am glad I read Betting on Hope and plan to read the upcoming books in the series. [3.5 stars] I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
I don't know what it is about cowboy stories but I enjoy them and if you also do his may be up your alley. Small town characters. Down to earth guys, and a damsel in a bit of distress. I loved Betting on Hope and while I'm not a betting woman I'm pretty sure (or hopeful) that Debra has at least a couple of sequels in store for us.
Debra Clopton in her new book “Betting On Hope” Book One in the Four of Hearts Ranch Romance series published by Thomas Nelson brings us into the lives of Maggie Hope and Tru Monahan. From the back cover: One clutzy advice columnist. One champion cowboy. And an entire small town rooting for love. Advice columnist Maggie Hope never dreamed she’d be shaking hands with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan over a high-stakes bet, especially one that involves horses. And saddles. And everything else a city girl like Maggie feels uncomfortable around. But after filling in for a coworker and interviewing the handsome cowboy, she finds herself doing just that. Anything to save her advice column. Despite Maggie’s two left feet, Tru is bound and determined to bring out her inner cowgirl by teaching her to ride a cutting horse, trained to separate cattle from the rest of the herd. While her riding improves, their attraction intensifies, but Tru knows he can never let her into his heart—for her own good. In Wishing Springs, a community full of meddling but well-meaning townsfolk, Maggie discovers the home she’s always longed for. But she’s holding something back—a secret that could destroy her reputation and any future she’s ever hoped for with the cowboy she might tust love. Maggie is an advice columnist and prefers it that way until she has to stand in for a live on-air interview. Naturally things do not go really well and Tru, a cowboy, bets Maggie, a city-girl, that he can teach her to rope and ride even though she is afraid of horses. Both Tru and Maggie’s bosses want them to go through on their bet so now the two of them are forced together. The relationship blooms and grows but each one is holding a secret, that unless dealt with, is going to not only prevent more growth but tear down what they have. Tru and Maggie are a lot of fun. Each one separately is terrific when they come together it takes off higher. Secrets unless dealt with have a way of destroying relationships and Ms. Clopton does a great job of bringing that out in the story without being preachy. Tru and Maggie and even a side characters, Jenna, are wonderfully crafted characters that we draw very close to and root for them to succeed. “Betting On Hope” is a wonderful, interesting story that is a lot of fun that will keep you flipping pages. I recommend this book highly and I do look forward to the next book in this series from this highly talented author. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I have a soft spot for cowboys. They're rough, rugged, charming, strong, and normally gentleman (at least in fictional stories). Tru definitely fit the mold although he has been painted as less in his past. Maggie on the other hand is a single city gal with a rough past that she feels guilty about. They were an interesting combination and as they fell for each other, I fell for them and this small town full of fun and interesting characters with some interwoven stories of their own. I felt a little pulled from the main story of Tru and Maggie at first when we learn about Jenna and about some of the other characters from the town separately, but the author had a plan and it all comes together beautifully in the end. I really loved being out on the ranch with the main characters and getting to know Tru's brothers and Pops a little more. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the consequences of the town being in the spotlight and what romance comes to Tru's two brothers: Bo and Jarrod. If you enjoy contemporary romance with an inspirational element that felt natural and wasn't too pushy, then I'd definitely recommend Betting on Hope. I enjoyed the story thoroughly. There were some heartbreaking moments, some that definitely curled my toes and made me sigh, and some that were just sweet. I got behind these characters and cheered them on and felt a smile form on my face when I came to the end. Content: Clean Source: I would like to thank the publisher through Litfuse for my complimentary copy, which did not affect my review in any way.