He's always been her weakness...
Injured and discharged, Marine Levi Haywood has returned to his family's ranch to heal and start a new life. After all, once a cowboy, always a cowboy. The only problem? Life at the ranch has moved on since he joined the service, and suddenly his role in the family business is much less clear. And things get a lot more confusing when the woman he left behind returns home.
Carrie Lynn Waite has never known a time when she didn't love Levi. They were childhood sweethearts, but because of her health, she was forced to move to the city, away from the ranching life. Now Carrie's come home only to learn her family's ranch is in trouble and Levi is back, along with an undeniable attraction she can't resist. But some things never change, forcing Carrie to choose the future laid out before her...or the cowboy she could never resist.
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Can't Resist a Cowboy
A Paint River Ranch Novel
By Elizabeth Otto, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Elizabeth Otto
All rights reserved.
A man dancing on the roof of the Tit for Tap bar with a squawking chicken under each arm should have been a little odd, but it was exactly the type of thing Carrie Lynn Waite expected around here. Surrounded by people, she crossed her arms and tipped her chin up to better see the show. The man started a little jig, somehow managing not to fall when the chickens went into freak-out mode. The crowd gave a raucous cheer and one corner of Carrie's mouth tugged up.
"What's this?" She slid her father, Darren, an amused look, indicating the roof.
He shrugged. "Supposed to be good luck."
She snorted. "For who?"
"Not the chickens." Darren winked and it did Carrie's heart good. Concern had overridden her happiness at being back in Montana when she'd arrived at her childhood home and found worsening disrepair. Agate Falls ranch had always needed a touch-up here or there, but this was different. Much, much worse. Once the centerpiece of the house, the wraparound porch was missing sections of railing. Steps were broken, the bottom one gone completely. And the crack in the living room window? She didn't have time to contemplate how that might have happened before her father led her to his truck and ushered her to the bar.
He'd tried to hide the creases in his forehead by pulling his cowboy hat low. It didn't fool her. She'd been his pillar for years. She'd become adept at sensing when shit was hitting the fan and he was trying to keep it to himself.
The man yelled something from above and stumbled. Carrie caught her breath. One chicken went flying, making an arc through the fading daylight, wings flapping to beat hell as it plummeted into the waiting hands of the crowd.
The roof dancer raised his free arm over his head and bellowed, "May Fire!" and the crowd cheered, holding plastic beer cups high. Slow warmth filled her chest at the pronouncement. May Fire, the start of cattle branding season in Greenbrook, Montana, was something she'd missed since moving away five years ago. It was a celebration of community and a time for the local ranchers to get together for food, drinks, and the bonfire that gave the event its name.
Carrie tilted her head to adjust for the dimming sunlight, momentarily closing her eyes against the glare. A shout from up top startled her into looking. The second bird made a descent, falling straight at her. Carrie stepped forward, her arms going out instinctively to make a cradle for the poor thing as it landed with an ear-piercing squawk.
Shocked, Carrie breathed a sigh of relief, the chicken's heart racing as it settled into her embrace and promptly tucked its head into the crook of her arm. Darren shook his head and tipped his hat back.
"You always did have the touch, Carrie-girl. You could put the meanest dog to sleep with a little scratch." It was true. She had the gift of touch—at least that's what he'd always said. Her job in Wyoming as a massage therapist played to her skills, and she was good at it. There was nothing quite like the satisfaction of taking someone's stress and pain away.
Mindlessly stroking the chicken, Carrie looked around for a place to deposit the bird as she followed her dad inside the Tit for Tap. They hadn't gotten far when he stopped and turned to her.
"Welcome home, honey. I didn't get a chance to tell you earlier."
"Thanks, Dad." His request for her to visit couldn't have come at a better time. She'd been planning to take a long vacation at Agate Falls anyway. Five months had passed since she'd last been home, and she needed a quiet place to do some heavy thinking. She couldn't shake the impression she'd have more to think about soon, given the state of the ranch.
He studied her a moment. "We need to sit down and have a good talk." Their weekly phone conversations hadn't tipped her off to any bad news brewing, but her dad had always been good at keeping things to himself until he just couldn't hold it in any longer.
"By the way ..." His expression grew serious. "Just 'cause you're home at branding time doesn't mean you're working. You just sit back and watch."
A diabetic since childhood, she'd struggled with hard-to-regulate blood sugar levels starting around puberty. The physical labors of ranching life seemed to make it worse. A few hours of horseback riding or working the fields and her sugars would plummet and she'd faint, sometimes suffering injuries as a result. After she'd passed out in the barn and broken her arm, her doctors suggested a radical lifestyle change to try to help.
No ranch work. No horseback riding. No extreme physical labor. Agate Falls was an hour from the closest hospital, and it had been stressful on her father to constantly worry about her. By the time she was thirteen, she'd been homeschooled with a tutor and placed on an activity restriction. She'd spent the bulk of her younger years on the sidelines, watching while ranching went on around her, resenting every moment she couldn't participate.
Eventually, her body adjusted and she had less trouble regulating her sugar. When she'd turned eighteen, her dad had urged her to move to the city to live with her aunts where medical care was easily available. She'd left, gone to college, and gotten a job as a chiropractic assistant and massage therapist. But she'd missed Agate Falls every day since.
A stream of people had formed behind her, urging them forward. Carrie was nearly pushed into her dad's back as they shuffled inside. "So, where is branding tomorrow?"
The glance he cast over his shoulder spoke for him. She groaned. There were five ranches in Greenbrook; why did it have to be that one?
"Paint River Ranch." Just saying the words gave her a shot of longing and the shadowy memory of turquoise eyes looking down into hers. Her scalp tingled as she struggled with the sudden need to turn around and search the sea of faces. Damn it, she already had—the moment she'd stepped out of the truck in the bar's parking lot. There'd been no sign of the Haywood boys, Cole, Tucker, and Levi, anywhere. Good. She'd run into him eventually, she supposed. Eventually could hold out a little longer.
Tightening her grip on the chicken, Carrie stepped over the threshold of the bar and handed the bird to the bouncer. He leaned back on his stool with both palms in the air. "No way. Deep fryer's in the back."
She mirrored his playful grin. "Seriously?" Tempted to launch the bird and make a run for it, Carrie followed her dad inside. The dim interior light made her squint.
Darren spoke into her ear like he had a secret. "Levi's going to be here tonight. Been a good few years since you seen him, huh?"
Well, eventually just got a whole lot shorter. A good few years since she'd seen him? That had been on purpose. The bastard had ditched her six years ago and never looked back, and no matter how much she'd missed him all this time, her pride kept the longing in check.
"He's all healed up," her dad continued as if this were an ordinary topic and not one that hurt. Time had passed; he probably figured she was over it. Mostly, she was, though there were still moments when she lost herself in what she'd had with Levi, and what could have been—if he hadn't dumped her.
Carrie's arm tensed around the bird, one hand stroking him to keep her nerves under control. The Haywoods were their neighbors. Growing up, their families had helped each other with ranch work, and spent a fair amount of free time together. Levi had been her friend before he'd been her first love—and the first to crush her soul into a gazillion pieces.
Thanks to his brother Tucker keeping her in the loop over the years, she knew Levi had almost lost his life in Afghanistan and was subsequently healed. Her connection to the Haywoods ran deep. Though it had pained her heart each time Tucker texted or called with a tidbit, it agonized her more to consider asking him to stop updating her. She and Levi had too much history, she supposed, to ever be completely erased from each other's lives.
"Geez, girl. You're going to pet the feathers clean off him."
"What?" She looked down, realizing she was petting the bird too hard. She wished her diabetes didn't keep her from drinking, because something strong sounded perfect right about now.
Carrie feigned indifference. She'd let go of Levi a long time ago, and it was going to stay that way. When she saw him again, she'd hold in six long years of emotion and be polite and composed. She'd say hello and get it over fast, like ripping off a Band-Aid, before her brain and heart had the chance to get stupid over him.
Luckily, her dad didn't pry anymore. "I'm going to mingle a bit on the way to the bar. Get us a table?" Darren left to flag down a waitress. A band geared up to play from the stage, the crowd getting louder and rowdier by the second. Aware that she was still in the path of people coming in the door, Carrie moved to the side and looked for a place to sit as the shadows continued to mess with her depth perception.
A huge bang from the back of the dance floor made her jump. A collective gasp of surprise went through the space. Light filtered in the far end of the room as if the back door had been opened and the crowd made a dash to part down the middle. Someone shouted, "Damn it, Cody, not again!" as a huge shadow shot down the path the crowd had made.
"Horse in the bar!" was followed by a cheer that seemed amazingly out of place, because, really? A horse? Though she did have a chicken ... It took Carrie's brain a moment to register. Yep, horse, trotting through the room with its rider whooping, "May Fire!" and waving his hat in the air. She searched for an escape, but the distorted shadows left her no clear path to follow.
The horse's hooves sounded like hollow thunder on the wood floor—getting louder as it headed straight for her. A man burst off his chair next to her, inadvertently knocking it in her direction as she tried to sidestep out of the horse's path. Carrie tripped, right arm going out to help her balance, left arm squeezing the bird. She wobbled the wrong way, stumbling forward instead of back as the planks vibrated under her feet.
A cry lodged in her throat as a puff of warm horse breath washed over her face, the animal so close, she could feel its body heat.
Carrie tensed, preparing for impact.CHAPTER 2
"I'm a dude, and this is against every single man code ever made."
"You owe me, little brother. It's time to pay up."
Levi Haywood finished off the Coke in his plastic cup and moved away from the heat of the bonfire. He couldn't believe he was having this conversation with his middle brother, Tucker, out here in the open field behind the bar where anyone could overhear the ridiculousness of it. Fine, he owed his brother a hand to make up for all the years Levi had been away. Helping their mother set up a spa on the ranch? Damn insulting.
Ignoring a twinge of pain in his leg, he leaned closer to Tucker and kept his voice low. "Fine. But let it be noted that as a marine and a man, I'm not happy about it." Facials, creams, scented oils, and all that waxing was a woman's forte—though he did love the feel of a smooth, bare, freshly waxed pu ... No. No way. Levi crossed his arms. He had limits, even where the holy grail of waxed lady bits was concerned.
Tucker flicked the toothpick in his mouth with a cocky smile. "Yeah, well let it be noted that I don't give a shit how you feel about it."
Levi crumpled the cup in his palm. The past three months or so, he'd been healed up and strong enough to work hard. After nearly having his legs blown off in Afghanistan, he'd gone through months in bed and endless hours of physical therapy to get this far. He even shocked himself sometimes with how well he'd bounced back.
Good old Haywood spirit, his brothers said. Levi figured that might be part of it, but mostly, no good man could handle lying around on his ass that long. Not when each sunrise offered him the opportunity to get his feet back on Paint River soil. Problem was, the ranch's tourist and cattle operations had grown considerably while he'd been in the marines. They had a full staff now, and not a lot for Levi but odds and ends. His oldest brother, Cole, was in charge of almost everything, with the overflow falling to Tucker and their lead ranch hand, Jaxon. That left little for Levi to do—and even if there had been, there was no way in hell the mess of them could try to work at anything together. Not without a lot of cussing and spilled blood.
So he'd found something for himself to do, something that was going to keep him very busy.
"Just think," Tucker went on when Levi didn't respond, "a spa attracts women. Consider it a mission to help the single men of Paint River Ranch get laid. Which includes you. All you have to do is sit in on the business interviews with Ma and help her figure out how much space a spa is going to take up. Easy."
Yeah, easy. He looked to the horizon and made a disgruntled sound. Fading daylight punched the sky with orange and red. The mountain range took his angst away—just brushed it right out of him. Cool May air filled his lungs, and he savored it. Clean, crisp, not a hint of dust or sand to burn his throat and chest.
He hadn't found a good time to tell his family about his project. It was a big one that didn't involve playing metrosexual. The opportunity had been too personal to pass up. Considering his constant boredom, it couldn't have come at a better time.
"Yeah, all right." The tension in his shoulders faded. He'd help his family out with the spa. Didn't mean he had to like it. Seemed he'd be going from zero to sixty here real soon. Good. Bring it. He was ready.
A voice he recognized cut through the crowd. He looked as Darren Waite, the owner of Agate Falls ranch, and their neighbor, socialized his way around. He paused as the older man caught his gaze. They exchanged a nod, and for a second, Levi thought he might come over, but the rancher continued on. Levi had the sudden memory of warm brown eyes and lush pink lips smiling up at him. At one time, where Darren went, so did his sweet blond-haired daughter, Carrie Lynn.
Seemed like a lifetime ago that they'd grown up side by side, always together. It had been effortless, natural, the way they'd grown to love each other ... and crushing the way he had ended it. Levi winced internally. The last time he'd seen Carrie, he'd been a boy in a man's body—directionless and full of wanderlust. He'd wanted off the ranch to experience life outside Montana's borders, and he'd made the choice knowing that he'd lose her. He hoped someday he'd forgive himself for ripping them apart —that maybe one day he'd be able to explain to her why he'd done it—but neither had come to pass.
He'd held the gift of their shared time close to his heart all these years, letting the memories sustain him through two tours in Afghanistan and all the days and nights in between. Though he hadn't seen her in years, he had heard from his brothers that she lived in Wyoming with her aunts and was still single—a tidbit they liked to toss in whenever her name came up.
The memory seemed to drive his pain, giving him a sharp pinch and dull ache in one punch. Levi let out a hard breath. Residual discomfort was a byproduct of leg muscles that didn't work the same anymore. Sometimes, it escalated and ripped through him, refusing to die until he downed a couple pain pills. He never knew when it might get that bad.
"I'm ready to get out of here." Levi turned toward the bar and walked inside, the touch of his dog tags hard and cool against his chest beneath his T-shirt.
"Arm wrestle you for it," Tucker called out as he caught up. "I win, we stay. You win, we go."
Levi paused for the crowd to clear so he could get through. "Dude, your biceps are illegal in ten states. Wouldn't be fair." Teasing his brother gave him a bit of much-needed lightness inside until a shout drew him out of his thoughts. The noise turned into a roar that rolled through the bar. People around him scattered, giving Levi a clear view.
Excerpted from Can't Resist a Cowboy by Elizabeth Otto, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2015 Elizabeth Otto. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
Great love story!
There are two things I have a hard resisting when it comes to stories: cowboys and wounded warriors. This has both and I truly loved this story. There is a ranch to save and he needs her help. The great thing about this story was it was funny and sexy at the same time, starting with the first page. Great story.
Can't Resist a Cowboy was...okay. It should have been a win-win. I love second chance romances, and heck, I really can't resist a cowboy, especially one who's been in the military. While I really liked Levi (see previously mentioned reasons, plus, he's just plain awesome), I had a hard time connecting with Carrie. She was just so...passive. It seemed as if her whole life she'd been at the whims of others--her dad especially--and practically controlled by her disease--diabetes--and she never really took control of her own life for herself. Not even in the course of the book, not significantly, anyway--which was aggravating. It also frustrated me that no one--especially Carrie, but heck, why hadn't her dad figured this out either?--came up with the solution to her problem that Levi did at the end. I mean, yay that he did and it's an awesome fix, but why the heck didn't anyone learn about this possibility before? It seems to make way more sense than the one they went with for six years: packing her up to live in a big city in another state with her aunts. She loved the ranch and her father, he loved her--why did they not look for ways to make it work back then without sending her away? So...this was a definite case of I liked it, but. It was not as good as book 2 ( One Night with a Cowboy ), but I did enjoy seeing Tucker and Sophie again, and reading about Rylan and Cole has me moving their book, Tempting the Cowboy , further up the TBR list. This one was not my favorite in the series, though it did have some cute moments and the ending was particularly satisfying. Rating: 3 stars / C+ I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Otto had me in stitches from the 1st sentence. It was great. I really had fun with this novel. At the same time, it was emotionally engaging and extremely thought provoking. I really enjoyed how the minute details of this story came together to create a seamless whole. Romance and hardship, sickness & health, all play a role in this emotional tale. I love how Otto dealt with it all. Carrie’s situation was heartbreaking. The way that she made the most of it was empowering. Seeing her stumble along the way, however, really humanized her. And then we have Levi, the swoon worthy hero of this tale. If the marine/cowboy combination wasn’t enough to make you drool over him, his caring, survivor attitude sure will. I also enjoyed getting to know their friends and family. It really gave a full picture of who these characters are and what their lives are like. I will admit, however, that Carrie’s dad rubbed me the wrong way. Sure, I get where he’s coming from, but he goes about it in such a way that I found myself grumbling at him repeatedly. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Otto combines the best of ranching with all the worst that the industry has to offer, all wrapped up in a bow with this inspiring second change romance. This was my first foray into Otto’s writing, but it definitely won’t be my last. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the other two books in the series. Although, I think the first book is still my favorite. But this book is my least favorite book in the series. I liked the book. I was expecting more for Levi’s book though. And Carrie was okay, but I really didn’t connect with her. I liked that the others from the previous books were in this one sum. I liked seeing them. Overall thoughts… Overall, I liked the book, nothing special or nothing crappy. It had some cute moments between the two MC’s. Then again Carrie made a few questionable choices. ***** If you are wondering about Levi’s story, I say go for it and read this one. Maybe you’ll like this more than I did, maybe not.
I received a copy of this book for an honest review. This was a story that shows you can go back.was a story that shows you can go back. The hero thought he did the right thing when he was young, but he hurt her by doing it. Now they have another chance and it is fun seeing how they handle it,. It helps that it is about a veteran, love reading about Military and ex Military
Carrie and Levi were high school sweethearts until illness and circumstances broke them up. Levi joined the army and left home. Carrie, a diabetic, move from the farm to the city because of her health. Fast forward 10 years, Levi has returned home a injured veteran and Carrie, a masseuse, has returned home to visit her father. She finds out a large part of the farm has been sold to Levi's family, because her father unable to care it. As a result, Carrie and Levi must overcome the past to build a future together. I enjoyed this novel, because to the setting, dialogue, and of course happy ending. I was given a free copy for an honest review.
Isn't it true that only those in your life who have experienced hardship, challenges, devastation, grief, are the ones who really understand where you've been? Carrie Lynn Waite returns home to the ranch where she grew up to find that the ranch is in financial trouble and that her father has sold a majority share ... to the one man she's never stopped loving, and the one who broke her heart. Former Marine Levi Haywood, honorably discharged after horrific injuries he was lucky to survive, owns the ranch adjacent to the Waite ranch, along with his two brothers. When he heard that his childhood love Carrie Lynn's family ranch was in trouble, he didn't hesitate to purchase a share to keep the place afloat and among friends. Now if only he can convince Carrie that they could make a go of it together ... and to trust him with the secret she's carrying. Allow me to introduce to you CAN'T RESIST A COWBOY by romance author Elizabeth Otto, released just this week from Entangled Publishing's Indulgence imprint. A successful romance seems to call for a strong hero, and there are few stronger, arguably, than a former Marine-turned-cowboy. Whatever makes that combination inordinately sexy and attractive is one of the finest qualities Levi Haywood possesses in this novel. Granted, he competes with his brothers, equally desirable, but Levi's underlying fear --- not being good enough --- makes him that much more vulnerable and sweetly approachable, even beneath the scintillating exterior. For her part, Carrie, a diabetic since childhood, allows herself to be ruled by her fears (where Levi seems driven by his). Having been betrayed in the past, and with more diabetic shock episodes in her childhood than she can count on two hands' worth of fingers, she's determined not to put herself back in a situation where something could go wrong. Of course, when that happens in real life, as in fiction, it means people miss out on what they might otherwise have enjoyed and loved. The thing about regret is that it's universal, and Carrie represents the most anxious among us who walk that fine line between wanting to stay safe and comfortable, and risking comfort to find something even better. On the other hand, CAN'T RESIST A COWBOY suffers, in its earliest chapters, from a great deal of back story, delivered in "telling" versus "showing" style. That kind of information delivered dryly and in so short a time leads to a far slower pace than most stories warrant, especially toward the beginning when readers expect the pace to be quick and forward-moving (back story stops that forward motion) to keep them entertained and engaged. That aside, this sexy-sweet romance novel is an enjoyable read, most of all for the depths of character explored therein. # # # Author: Elizabeth Otto Title: CAN'T RESIST A COWBOY Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Indulgence) ISBN: 978-1-63375-202-3 Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I just love Paint River and was so happy to finally have Levi’s story. I love second chance romances and wounded heroes, and this story delivered both. Throw in a heroine that is so strong despite the adversity she has faced all her life, and this book had all the elements I like in a book. Levi and Carrie have a history – one that ended in heartbreak when Levi enlisted and left Carrie wondering what happened to her happy ever after. When Levi returns and Carrie comes back to town for what she thinks may be her last visit, unrequited doesn't even begin to describe what is between these two. And as much as Carrie knows that her future has to stay in the city so she can be close to her doctors, it’s hard for her to not want to believe that she can have the future with Levi she always dreamed of. But she knows that she can’t go there again, because it would be so easy to give in to what her heart wants. Watching Levi and Carrie work their way back to each other was heart-breaking at times. You could feel the love between the two, but there were so many issues keeping them apart. Between Levi’s injuries from the war and Carrie’s medical issues, the two have so many obstacles. I loved seeing them connect and fall back into their comfortable relationship from the past, but when the present reared its ugly head for the two it was crushing. Although not as emotional a read for me as the other books in the series, it was easy to get caught up with Levi, Carrie and all the other characters in the story. For me, the ending felt a bit rushed and I would have liked to have had more added before the epilogue for a more emotional conclusion. I loved that once again Elizabeth Otto tackles subject matter that is not normally found in romance novels – Claire’s medical issues added a nice dimension to the story which allowed for a bit more emotional depth, and Levi’s struggles were handled very well. I loved catching up with the other brothers and loved, loved, loved the scene with Birdie and Levi on the stairs, she is just precious. This was a nice ending to the Paint River Ranch series and Elizabeth Otto does a wonderful job creating characters that are easy to relate to and have wonderful emotional depth. Her writing style is smooth, and she has a way of bringing out the emotions in every scene which allows for a nice connection to the characters. This book and the entire series are a definite must read for any cowboy-loving romance reader! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley via the Publisher for an honest review.
What a heartfelt story of a second chance with your first love. Levi and Carrie, both broken inside and out, helped each other heal. A beautifully well written story that made my heart swell in several places. A lot of tenderness, spice, friendship and family. I have not read the first two books in the series, but meeting them in this book makes me want to know their stories too. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
4 heartwarming stars Can't Resist a Cowboy was an emotional and heartfelt read, I loved it! I've enjoyed all the books in the Paint River Ranch series and I highly recommend them all! I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Otto work and once again she's given us believable and relatable characters with a storyline that holds your interest and leaves you with a heart full of love.
A second chance is the opportunity Carrie and Levi have at true love. Though they have to rehash the past in order to move forward. Easier said then done. Levi is struggling with his injury he sustained overseas. Carrie is struggling with her uncertain future. Can they make it work or will history repeat itself? Loved the humor and the characters. Plus getting to revisit previous characters. You can feel the struggle for these characters, but the drive Levi has to convince Carrie to stay at the ranch and take a chance on them.
Superb emotional drama. This is the third book and a great addition to the Paint River Ranch series. Marine Levi Haywood has returned home to the ranch after being seriously injured whilst on duty. He has fought to enable himself to walk again but struggles with pain and coping with the hard work associated with ranching, though he is reluctant to ever admit that to anyone. The love of his life was Carrie Lynn Waite. Her father owns a neighbouring ranch and actually encouraged Levi to leave her behind when he enlisted. She is diabetic and has troubles controlling her sugar levels. Now she has another secret, a medical concern that will impact on her ability to live independently but she hasn’t yet shared it with anyone. When the two meet again, their attraction is volatile. Will their health issues and reticence make them give up on their love or will they give love a chance? A superbly written story that relates the trauma, anxieties and impact of serious injuries and illness. How these are worked through by the characters is told in an easy to relate to manner, encouraging the reader to empathise with them and pulling on their heartstrings. A real roller coaster ride of emotions, this book is a book I have no hesitation in highly recommending! Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first time reading this author and, I must say, her characters were easy to relate to and connect with. The emotions of all the characters were wonderfully written and true to life. Ms. Otto's style of writing allows the reader to feel as if they are actually there as the story unfolds. ARC received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This sexy second chance romance is the story of Levi and Carrie. High school sweethearts, when Levi joined the Marines he left Carrie behind, knowing in his head that he was doing the right thing even if it broke his heart and Carrie's. Now both back in the same town, he's adjusting to life again as a recovering veteran and Carrie is home to help her father with his ranch. Meeting up is inevitable, and when Levi makes it clear that he wants a second chance, Carrie must decide if she can trust him once again. I really enjoyed this story! Put two wounded souls together, both with physical challenges to overcome and the stage is set for the development of a deep and abiding relationship. Though separated for several years, it's clear that the attraction between them has never waned, and once in each other's arms, it's hard to imagine being anywhere else. But sex doesn't build a future and they must both make some decisions, not the least of which is the decision to trust each other. Levi is wonderful as a solid, dependable, handsome man. Yes, he's got both physical and emotional scars from his tours of duty but he's pulled himself up by his bootstraps and is determined to not let life pass him by. Carrie is equally engaging as a smart, friendly woman with her own medical challenges. Put the two of them together and the sparks fly, leading to some sexy love scenes. But what impresses me is the ability of this author to put such emotion into her words that you really feel the connection between Carrie and Levi. They are chosen with intent and care and make the story that much richer. There are some wonderful cameo appearances by Levi's brothers and their partners, characters from the first two books in the series that round out the story and bring Paint River Ranch back to life again. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining story, and I hope that we aren't finished with this series yet! 4.5 stars.
4 - "We have unfinished business." Stars! Being the third book in the Paint River Ranch series I had no doubt that I would enjoy Can’t Resist a Cowboy. Elizabeth Otto has put together a cast of likeable and relatable characters and given them stories that play out in some really beautifully described settings. Levi Haywood has been away from Greenbrook, Montana serving his country, after being honorably discharged due to an almost debilitating injury he has returned home, to his family and Paint River Ranch to start the next chapter in his life. ”This place this beautiful land… it has a way of taking you in when you’re broken and putting you back together.” He never expected Carrie Lynn Waite, the girl he left behind 6 years ago, to be part of that chapter, or to offer him the opportunity of a future he never thought he would be capable of having. Elizabeth Otto has the ability as a writer to bring you as the reader into the story she is telling, you become emotionally invested in the characters, their choices and decisions, hopes and fears and the path they take their lives on. This book is no exception, and Levi and Carrie’s chance at rekindling their love for each other kept me happily entertained for the couple of hours I was reading. ”If the time comes to find a way through the darkness, we will.” I cannot recommend this series highly enough, if you are looking for laughter, tears, great writing, lots of sexy-times, delicious cowboys and a family you wish you could become a part of, then look no further! No woman in her right mind could resist a cowboy! I hope this isn’t the end of this series, it still has a lot of life and stories left to tell in it, and I hope the publisher and the author are able to make that happen. ARC generously provided via Netgalley in exchange for the above honest review.