New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene in the second book in her Heart of Texas series, Cowboy, Cross My Heart, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .
Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…
Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-closeand he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of dangerwithout risking his heart?
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Excitement rushed through everyone as the lights suddenly cut out in the arena. Naomi slid to the edge of the metal bench in the darkness, her heart kicking up a notch as silence fell over the crowd of several thousand. The only sound was the occasional stamp of a hoof from the animals or the jingle of a bridle.
A spotlight came on and swung to the gates. It had been years since Naomi had been to a rodeo, but it took just a few seconds for the memories of that splendid time in her life to fill her.
Seemingly as one, everyone rose to their feet and put their hands over their hearts. Her mind halted at the first strings of the national anthem that played loudly over the speakers. The first horse came walking out of the gates, with the American flag being held by none other than Naomi's best friend, Whitney Nolan.
Behind Whitney was another woman with the Texas flag. The two made their way around the edge of the arena several times, the horses moving from a walk to a trot to a gallop, and then a full-out run with the flags rippling in the wind. As Whitney neared her, Naomi flashed her a smile, the tears gathering.
Naomi blinked through them as her mind went back to high school and the third member of their group, Suellen, who had dreamed of being exactly where Whitney was. It was one reason Naomi had returned now.
Besides, it had been too long since she had done more than talk to her best friend over the phone or visit her mother.
Whitney and the other woman halted in the middle of the arena at the crescendo of music. The spotlight caught on the rhinestones of her friend's white chaps with writing claiming Whitney the Rodeo Queen of Baxter County.
Naomi grinned at the large crown fitted on the white Stetson hat atop Whitney's long, golden waves. When the anthem concluded, applause erupted as the lights came back on.
After a tribute to the military and a prayer had commenced, Naomi discreetly took pictures of everything. She resumed her seat and watched Whitney return through the gates as the event began.
Naomi laughed when the rodeo clowns rushed into the arena to get the crowd going. She snapped photos while enjoying the show. Part of her wished she had made it in time for the day rodeo when she could have seen the youngsters doing the steer racing.
It wasn't long before she was once more sucked back into a world she had so easily left behind. She lost track of time as she cheered the events from calf roping, steer wrestling, and bareback riding.
When it came time for the barrel racers, Naomi's heart missed a beat. This had been her event. And she had loved every second of it.
With every rider that rushed through the gates and worked their horse around the barrels, she held her breath until they crossed over the finish line. When the final rider finished, the scoreboard went up, and her camera nearly slipped through her fingers.
Her time had yet to be beaten. There were some that came close, but somehow, she was still the rider to beat. Even after all these years.
She nearly forgot her camera when the event shifted to team roping. Naomi paid no attention to the announcer as he spouted off the names of the first contestants while the clowns hurried to remove the barrels.
Naomi lifted her camera and looked through the viewfinder. She took rapid shots to get everything from the moment the gate was pulled and the steer rushed from the header box, to when the lead roper — called a header — got the rope around the steer's horns. Once the header had the steer turned, the heeler would rope its back legs.
It was a timed event, so it was always fun to watch who was the quickest. Naomi loved that women competed in the teams, as well. Some duos were mixed, some not.
Naomi swung her camera to the next two up for the event and snapped a couple of pictures.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the announcer said over the speaker. "The winners of the past three years are once more in the arena. Let's give a warm welcome to the Harper brothers, Brice and Caleb."
The applause was deafening. Naomi looked down at her camera and pulled up the picture she'd just taken. She stared at the guy in a tan Stetson and a red and orange plaid button-down who looked at the arena as if it were his battlefield, while the other wore a mischievous grin that had obviously broken many hearts, along with a brown Stetson and a chambray shirt.
"These brothers are the ones to beat," the announcer finished.
Naomi had to admit, both were handsome, but there was something about the serious one that kept drawing her gaze. For the first time, she pulled her head away from her camera to the gates and watched as the cowboy maneuvered his horse into the header slot.
Somehow, she wasn't surprised that he was in that position. Was he the eldest? She imagined he might be.
She lifted her camera again and took picture after picture, shocked at how skilled — and quick — the brothers were. No one seemed surprised when they won the first round of the event.
When she lowered her camera, her gaze remained on the serious one and strayed to his ass. Because there was just something about a man in Wranglers that she couldn't resist.
As he wound his rope, his eyes lifted and looked right at her.
Naomi's heart missed a beat. She smiled nervously. Right before he grabbed the reins, he tipped his hat at her and rode off.
At least she thought he'd been looking at her, but the women behind her giggled loudly, each wondering if she had been the object of his greeting.
Naomi laughed at herself and readied for the first round of bull riding, which was the main affair at any rodeo. She'd once dated a bull rider. Briefly. She had been too young for their wild, reckless ways and how they eagerly put their lives in danger each time they climbed on a bull, hoping to hear the buzzer on that eight-second ride.
But people lived for the event. The crazier the bull, the louder the crowd cheered. Naomi took more pictures, her heart in her throat each time a cowboy was bucked off, and the bull went after them.
One of her pictures captured how close the bull's horns had been to gorging the cowboy. Yet, with each near-death experience, the crowd gasped then cheered both the rider for getting away and the rodeo clowns for coming between the bull and the contestant.
Her uncle had been a rodeo clown, and she knew their jobs were the hardest of everyone's. They were out there between each event and always at the ready for any participant or animal that got into trouble. They were also the ones with the most injuries.
In fact, her uncle had died when a bull's horn pierced his chest. But the cowboy her uncle had been helping got to safety. And that's what the clowns were for.
With the rodeo coming to a close for the night, Naomi was the first on her feet to give the clowns an ovation. As soon as the closing ceremony finished, Naomi made her way out of the stands to the back of the arena.
She paid only a passing courtesy to the many cowboys who murmured "ma'am" and tipped their hats as she walked past. When she finally reached the area where the pageant contestants were, she easily found Whitney's white hat, sparkling crown, and blond locks.
Naomi watched her friend in her element for a long minute. Then Naomi whistled loudly. Whitney turned, her blue gaze scanning the people until she spotted Naomi. Whitley let out a loud squeal and rushed her. Naomi threw open her arms and hugged her friend tightly.
"It's been so long," Whitney murmured.
Naomi knew she was thinking of Suellen. "Too long."
Whitney leaned back and beamed at her. "I worried you might change your mind."
"Never. Weather delayed my plane, but I told you I'd be here."
"And you always keep your word." Whitney moved to her side and linked arms with her as they started walking slowly. "Well?"
Naomi shook her head, chuckling, as she glanced at Whitney. "Fine. I'll admit that I miss being involved in the rodeo."
"I knew it," her friend said with a pump of her arm.
"Don't get any ideas. I've got a nice life in DC, and that's where I'll be returning in a couple of days."
Whitney rolled her eyes. "You say that now, but I think if I can find the right cowboy for you, you'll change your mind."
"You forget I know all I want to know about cowboys."
"True," Whitney said with a twist of her lips. They both stopped and watched a couple of men walk past, their gazes on their fine asses. "Then again...."
Naomi swung her head to Whitney, and they both laughed. "If I do any riding, it will only be on a horse."
"Yeah, we'll see about that," Whitney declared with a grin.
"I mean it, Whit. I'm here to spend time with you and Mom. That's all."
Whitney nodded. "Yep. I hear you loud and clear."
Then why was it that Naomi suspected her friend had other ideas?
"Are you ready?" Whitney asked.
Naomi looked at all the women in rhinestones and hairspray ahead of them. Each beautiful and impeccably dressed in denim and boots. But anyone who believed rodeo pageants were like other talent and beauty contests was sorely mistaken.
The women were expert riders. While competing, they were given a horse they had never ridden before and had ninety seconds to flawlessly complete an intricate routine.
But it went further than that. The girls weren't allowed to be married or have children. Each contestant also had a chaperone. Hell, even the judges had escorts. And the girls who competed were discouraged from even having boyfriends.
At her silence, Whitney raised a brow. "Is it too much?"
Naomi took a deep breath. "Yes. And no."
"Even after all these years, I still see Suellen everywhere," Whitney murmured.
Naomi tightened her hand on her friend's arm. Whitney, Suellen, and Naomi had been inseparable. They'd traded wins in barrel racing, and were always there to cheer each other on.
Suellen was the one who'd decided to do a rodeo pageant. Her dream was to win Miss Rodeo America and claim the thirty grand that came along with it. While neither Naomi nor Whitney had any interest in the pageant, they'd supported Suellen fully.
And when Suellen won her first title in a local rodeo, the three went out to celebrate. Suellen put the top down on her convertible on that balmy night. And they had the music blaring, singing loudly as they drove down the dark, winding roads.
They had the entire world before them. And they planned to conquer it together.
Until a car hit them head-on.
Naomi could still hear her scream mixed with the sounds of tires screeching. And the crunch of metal.
Whitney had suffered two broken arms and a broken collarbone. Naomi broke her femur, had several lacerations, and a concussion. Suellen ... died.
Naomi had missed Suellen's funeral because of the surgery on her leg. She had tried to escape the hospital to go, and in the end, the doctors had to sedate her. She didn't talk to her parents for four days after that.
"Suellen would be so proud of you," Naomi said to Whitney.
They shared a look, tears gathering before Whitney sniffed and hurriedly looked away. Then Whitney pulled her toward the corral where her horse was. "When was the last time you rode?" "A horse?" Naomi teased.
Whitney threw back her head and laughed. Naomi took a quick picture of her friend. The sound was loud and glorious and infectious. Everyone paused and looked at Whitney because they had no choice. Suellen had been fearless and bold, but Whitney was captivating and charming.
"Oh, you are as naughty as always," Whitney said with a wide smile. "God, I've missed your humor."
Naomi put her elbow on the railing. "I've not been on a horse since I left for college."
"And men?" Whitney asked with a twinkle in her blue eyes.
Naomi forced the smile to stay in place. "None since Rick."
"That was over a year ago."
As if she needed a reminder of how long it'd been since she called off her engagement. It had been the right thing to do. Rick was an amazing man, but she knew marrying him would be a mistake. So she'd saved them heartache — and a divorce. Though he didn't see it that way.
"Well," Whitney said with a sigh. "By the way the men here are looking at you, you should be riding soon."
Naomi rolled her eyes as she laughed. Maybe she would use this time to explore her options. What did she have to lose?
She laughed off her inner voice. As if that would happen.CHAPTER 2
"Good boy," Brice murmured to his stallion, Jigsaw, as he rubbed the horse down after removing the saddle and bridle.
"It's almost too easy winning," Caleb grumbled as he led his gray gelding into the trailer and shut the gate.
Brice looked up at his younger brother. "You're the one who wanted to enter this year."
With one hand, Caleb grabbed his saddle beneath the gullet of the horn and swung it up, resting it on his shoulder before picking up the saddle blanket and heading to the front of the horse trailer to put it all away. "So I did."
Something had been bothering Caleb for days now, and Brice suspected he knew what it was. As soon as he had announced that he'd bought his own ranch, Caleb had become withdrawn. Their sister, Abby, and her husband, Clayton East, had been thrilled.
Or at least they seemed to be.
There would be a lot of changes coming. For everyone. Even for him. Ever since Abby and Clayton had fallen in love twelve years ago, the East Ranch had been his home. He could happily remain there for the rest of his life, but he needed to push himself to see what he could accomplish on his own.
He owed everything he had learned to Clayton, who hadn't only welcomed them into the family but was also happy to show him and Caleb the ins and outs of running a large ranch.
Not that Brice wasn't terrified of failing. But that was partly why he'd decided to do this. To see what he could accomplish without the East name backing him.
He'd put his entire life savings into the three-hundred-acre ranch. And there were significant upgrades and repairs that needed to be done to the barns and corrals if he was going to have any chance of starting his horse business.
Brice led his black and white paint stallion into the trailer and secured the horse before putting away his tack. When he finished, he looked around for Caleb. It didn't take him long to find his brother with a foot on the lowest rung of a fence as he leaned on it, flirting with two women.
It didn't matter where they were or what they were doing, women always found his brother. Brice grinned and motioned to Caleb that he was going to check on things for tomorrow.
Caleb was right. The first round of team roping was easy. Brice was ready for a challenge, which happened in the finals. It was getting to that last stage that sometimes made him irritable.
He walked through the back of the arena where the women who were part of the pageant were located. Brice didn't bother to even look their way since the chaperones stared him down, daring him to make eye contact with the women.
Halfway through, he heard a laugh that was sweet and seductive at once. Unable to help himself, his head swung toward the sound, and he found his gaze on the same woman he'd seen in the stands.
Wheat-colored hair hung straight and thick to her shoulders. His footsteps slowed as he stared at her oval face alight with mirth. Her smile was wide, her eyes crinkled at the corners. He wished he knew their color.
She wore a body-hugging denim jacket over a white V-neck tee shirt that was tucked into dark jeans. She had a well-worn, olive green bag slung over one shoulder. His gaze lingered on her curves before he heard someone clear their throat.
Brice tipped his hat at the line of chaperones, not bothering to discern who had made the sound, and continued on his way. The woman wasn't dolled up like the other contestants, and he wondered what she was doing there.
It was the first time since his breakup with his girlfriend that he found himself thinking about a woman. Not that he would do anything about it. He had to keep his eye on his goals. There was no time for a dalliance of any sort in his plans.
"I saw that."
He jerked his head around at the sound of Caleb's voice. "Saw what?" "You looking at that woman."
Brice shrugged, hoping his brother would let it go. "You realize that females make up half the population, right? I do look at them from time to time."
Caleb rolled his dark eyes as he came even with Brice. "I'm laughing on the inside."
"What's the big deal about me looking anyway?"
One brown brow shot up in Caleb's forehead as they walked together. "Did you seriously just ask me that? I've been trying to set you up for months now. You keep telling me you aren't interested."
"Because I'm not," Brice interjected.
Caleb halted. "Yeah. All this time, I thought you were torn up about the breakup with Jill. When, really, you were getting on with your life."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Cowboy, Cross My Heart"
Copyright © 2018 Donna Grant.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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
2nd book in Donna Grant's Heart of Texas series. Love this series. Who doesn't love a good rodeo, but do you ever wonder about what goes on behind the scene? Or the true corruption and evil of some people with too much control. Naomi is a photographer who left Texas a while ago to pursue her career. She returns to support her best friend Whitney the Rodeo Queen. Unfortunately she takes a photo she shouldn't have and now someone is after her. Brice is at the right place at the right time and helps Naomi during the first attack. But there is something about Naomi that he can't resist and he doesn't have it in him to not protect a woman in trouble. Another great read by Donna Grant and a great series!
What was meant to be a relaxing trip home turns into quite an ordeal for Naomi as she finds her best friend caught up in some corrupt affairs. Naomi had just returned home to Texas to visit her mother and best friend, Whitney who was the reigning Rodeo Queen. Attending a roping competition with Whitney, Naomi was viewing the cowboys and everything around them through the lens of her camera. Naomi had left this world behind to attend college and begin her photography career. Being home, reminded Naomi of what she had left behind. Whitney had been acting strangely since Naomi had arrived and now, viewing Whitney through her camera Naomi could see that what she had felt, was not just a feeling. Naomi now had proof, as she clicked her camera, that Whitney was not acting like herself. The struggle was real as someone tried to pull Naomi’s camera away from her. Naomi struggled to hold onto it and soon someone else was helping her. In the end, she now had the broken camera. Who tried to take it from her, they don’t know but Whitney seems upset with Naomi for wanting to investigate the matter. Seems a bit strange but with Whitney acting weird to start with, perhaps these two incidents are related? Naomi decides to develop the film which was inside the camera and that’s when events in the book start getting interesting. With the pictures developed, more individuals are added to the troubles in the novel. Brice, the individual who helped save Naomi’s camera, and his family now play an important role in the novel. This was originally a short visit to Texas, but there is an immediate attraction between Naomi and Brice. Things gets pretty hot between the two of them as this investigation gets underway. There are some very evil men who take advantage of their power in this book. Why they went this route is beyond me but they needed to be stopped but they had other plans first. I read that this book is the second in the series but this is the first book that I had read and I didn’t feel lost as I read it. I enjoyed the story and I liked the male characters the most. They seemed more honest and reliable. There were a few parts in the story that I felt were kooky. As I read these parts I was thinking, what? Are you serious? So that just happened and I am supposed to believe that without any explanation. I wished the author would have provided some backup for all the major events in this story, it would have made it more believable. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This is my first Donna Grant book, and I was actually surprised with the turn of events that happened. There was a mystery theme of a crime that needed to get solved. I also liked how Donna wrote that some scenes made me feel like I was actually there. I really liked it, I had just picked up book 1 in the Heart of Texas series so I'm curious to see how Clayton and Abby's story developed.
This is my first time reading a contemporary romantic suspense from Donna Grant. I loved Cowboy, Cross My Heart! It was interesting that the main mystery focused on something that was happening to Naomi's best friend, and Naomi gets caught up in it by accident. It was kind of like a chain reaction as Brice gets involved and then his friends, and then his family. Now the dark secrets behind the rodeo pageant are bound to come out while Naomi vows to protect her friend. The story is dark and suspenseful with a heavy dose of romance. Brice and Naomi fall for each other easily and their romance is one of the most positive aspects of the plot. Brice's family is very family oriented which is what connects the stories in the series. Cowboy, Cross My Heart is a standalone, but if you want to know how it all started I'd recommend reading The Christmas Cowboy Hero. *ARC provided in consideration for review*
If you want a cowboy book full of intrigue that is fast-paced and overflowing with romance, then you will love this book. The rich descriptions of rodeo and pageant life satisfies all those want to be cowboy or cowgirls out there. With the stalker element the reader will be sitting on the edge of the chair wondering who it is. There are lots of twist and turns to the plot and resolution to the story is not predictable. With plenty of cowboys to fall in love with the primary character is my first choice. Brice, a very hunky protective man, has grown up and has learned his lesson from The Christmas Cowboy Hero book 1 of this series. In this book he and his younger brother Caleb have a disagreement and are drifting further apart while he and Naomi are getting closer and closer as he works to protect her from danger. Going home is not always easy so Naomi struggles to be back in Texas while realizing how much she loves the hometown life. I liked her character because she has a backbone with a kind loving heart. She was fearless and not afraid to speak her mind. I am glad that she found resolution for herself in this book and it was rewarding watching it slowly happen. I give this book 5 STARS for showing how when families and friends stick together they can solve the impossible.
This second installment of Heart of Texas is a romantic suspense novel with danger, intrigues and romance. It's an addictive read that had me glued to the pages. Naomi left her hometown to persue a career in photography as well as getting away from the tragic loss of a close friend. During this visit to support her best friend, Whitney, a rodeo queen, noltalgy hits her and she realises how much she loves this life. Brice played a big part in the previous book where he was a young lad, brother to Abby, the main character. He is now a man and a sight for sore eyes. He is looking to better his future despite the psychological scars left by his estranged mother. When Brice notices Naomi taking pictures of the event, he is instantly drawn to her and there is something about him that calls to her. There is an attack on Naomi and Whitney that evening, and Brice comes to the rescue. None of them managed to see the face of the assailant, but it would appear that Whitney is keeping secrets. There is another attack on Brice and Naomi and knowing what the problem might be, Brice decides that he needs to protect Naomi. Whitney remains tight lipped, then there is a nasty accident which convinces everyone that they are in a dangerous situation. Can Brice keep Naomi safe and catch the guilty parties? The mystery behind the brutal attacks makes for a compelling read. The interactions between Brice and his younger brother Caleb show their love for each other, even when they are in dispute. The obvious attraction between Brice and Naomi gets even stronger as the story develops. I absolutely love Abby and Clayton whose love is stronger than ever. Naomi's mother is one of those characters who brings fun and laughter in this otherwise dangerous story where those in power get away with murder! It's very well portrayed and the vivid descriptions of the places and events made me feel part of the whole thing. I would love to see Caleb, Jace and Cooper get their own stories. I was kindly issued with an eARC and the views expressed are my personal opinion.
Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye… This book started out good and fast-paced and it just kept getting better and better. I couldn’t put it down until it was done. I particularly liked Bryce Harper after meeting him as a stubborn youth in his sister’s book. I liked the man he became and loved the his story with Naomi. I also liked the different side characters and I can’t wait until we get a book for his brother and each of their friends!! I highly recommend. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
3.5stars Naomi comes to her hometown to support her best friend on a rodeo pageant but what discover is some disturbing things that are running behind the scenes. In all that she discovers that she loves her hometown and a very interesting man Brice in which she fell in love. The characters were ok, but I really had a problem with the whole plot it was not particularly realistic it was hard to believe that something is even possible especially because the pageant I assume is running through the whole country and not just their town. But the story was readable with suspense and great chemistry between Noemi and Brice. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
4.5 Stars “No one said darlin’ quite the way a Texan did.” Donna Grant delivers in this fast-paced installment to her Heart of Texas series. Brice Harper has come a long way! We’re first introduced to Brice in THE CHRISTMAS COWBY HERO (Heart of Texas #1) where he’s a young teen arrested for stealing cattle from a prominent Texas ranch. Now he’s an educated cowboy who served his country in the Marines and has plans to own a ranch with his younger brother Caleb. He also loves his family and is fiercely loyal to those he calls his. I fell in love with Brice and all the characters from the first book of the series. It was such a joy catching up with them! I really enjoyed Naomi’s character as well. She’s a strong woman and fiercely loyal as well. She’s compassionate, caring and her heart’s as big as Texas. Naomi paired well with Brice and they had beautiful chemistry. The secondary characters were also amazing, and I hope each and every one of them gets their own book! What really glued me to the pages was the intense, fast-paced mystery aspect of the story. While Naomi is spending time with her friend and rodeo pageant contestant Whitney, she is attacked. What turns out to be a harmless photo Naomi took, opens the door to a powder keg full of secrets, lies and cover-ups someone would do anything to protect. And I do me anything. I really enjoyed reading COWBOY, CROSS MY HEART. It has romance, rodeos, suspense and mighty fine cowboys! ***I voluntarily read a copy of the book generously provided by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings expressed are my own***
4 Rodeo Worthy Stars Review by Nancy Late Night Reviewer Up All Night w/ Books Blog A fascinating fast pace read! Cowboy, Cross My Heart is the second book in Donna Grant’s Heart of Texas series. I did not read book one, but after reading this book I will definitely be going back to read it. This book was absolutely delightful! A swoon worthy cowboy and a photographer in need of rescuing. Naomi Pierce had left Texas and the rodeo circuit when she went off to college. Now being back in her hometown is bringing back all the memories and longing she had for the rodeo. Only there to photograph her best friend, the rodeo queen, she was not expecting to fall in love, with a cowboy of all people. Brice Harper is all man! Determined to make a name for himself, he and his brother have taken the rodeo by the horns and have become the very best. Not interested in a relationship, he is surprised when a single laugh has him stopping in his tracks. The moment he heard Naomi he was immediately drawn to her. A series of alarming incidents sets up the plot for Brice and Naomi. Having to work side by side to solve a threatening situation within the rodeo circuit brings these two together. This book had me at the edge of my seat, it was sweet, but more than that it was captivating. It does touch on some sensitive matters, I thought it only added angst to the story. It ended a little abrupt; I wish Grant would have given us a little more closure, but nonetheless it was a great read!
Love Donna's books and this one didn't disappoint
i was like 30% in when i realized this book was the second book in a series and that i knew a bunch of these characters from the first book, which i read and enjoyed. part of the issue was, that quite a bit of time has passed from the events of the first book to the second. the lead hero was a sixteen-year-old, and now he is a man, a real cowboy. brice harper is kind of amazing. he's immediately all-in with the heroine, naomi walker, who is only back in town to visit her mom and best friend, whitney. from the first night of her visit, it's clear that things are not right. whitney is tense and afraid, and when she's attacked by a man who comes from the shadows and then proceeds to attach naomi, it's obvious that she knows more than she is letting on. brice steps in to save naomi, and from that moment their fates are entangled. as the attacks become more dangerous, whitney reveals the extent of evil happening behind the scenes at the rodeo. naomi and brice must work together to keep each other safe and figure out who is behind the attacks. the way these two characters click when they first meet in cowboy, cross my heart you know there is no question that they are meant for each other. this is a lovely second book in this series. and i hope we get a chance to see happy endings for caleb, jace, and cooper in future books. **cowboy, cross my heart will publish on august 28, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.i was like 30% in when i realized this book was the second book in a series and that i knew a bunch of these characters from the first book, which i read and enjoyed. part of the issue was, that quite a bit of time has passed from the events of the first book to the second. the lead hero was a sixteen-year-old, and now he is a man, a real cowboy. brice harper is kind of amazing. he's immediately all-in with the heroine, naomi walker, who is only back in town to visit her mom and best friend, whitney. from the first night of her visit, it's clear that things are not right. whitney is tense and afraid, and when she's attacked by a man who comes from the shadows and then proceeds to attach naomi, it's obvious that she knows more than she is letting on. brice steps in to save naomi, and from that moment their fates are entangled. as the attacks become more dangerous, whitney reveals the extent of evil happening behind the scenes at the rodeo. naomi and brice must work together to keep each other safe and figure out who is behind the attacks. the way these two characters click when they first meet in cowboy, cross my heart you know there is no question that they are meant for each other. this is a lovely second book in this series. and i hope we get a chance to see happy endings for caleb, jace, and cooper in future books. **cowboy, cross my heart will publish on august 28, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.
I am beginning to like country western romances. I wasn't a huge fan of them when I started reading. I didn't see the appeal in them. Then I started reading them and started to see exactly why women like these books. Something about a man in tight jeans who is an Alpha male is appealing to 90% of women. Me, included. So, yeah, I started liking them. And if I continue to get books like Cowboy, Cross My Heart, I might be completely won over by them. Cowboy, Cross My Heart is Naomi and Brice's story. Naomi is back in town after years of not being there. She still carries the guilt of a car crash that killed one of her best friends when she was a teenager. That guilt kept her away from her hometown. But she is back to support her other best friend as she competes in a Rodeo Queen competition. She catches the eye of Brice while he is competing. Naomi is attacked by the animal pens by a man who is trying to get her camera. Brice, hearing her screams, swoops in to help her. That isn't the end of the attacks. Brice is attacked and is roping hand injured shortly afterward. After talking to her best friend, Naomi realizes that there is something sinister going on with the Rodeo Queen competition. Something that has put Naomi in the crosshairs of a ruthless group of men. Men who will do anything to silence her. The only thing standing between her and those men are Brice and his family. Can Brice protect Naomi? Will their new relationship hold up under the pressure? Or will everything come crumbling down? I am going to be honest, I didn't feel that much of a connection to both Naomi and Brice. While I liked both of their characters, there was nothing there to make me think "Hey, they would be cool to hang out with" or "I would date him". They weren't as fleshed out as they could have been. They didn't feel real life to me. I couldn't imagine them in my world, interacting with people. Which disappointed me because I wanted them to be more fleshed out. I didn't want them to be so blah. That had a huge effect on my rating for this review too. There is Instalove in Cowboy, Cross My Heart. My stance on Instalove has become more forgiving but I still don't care for it. The connection that Naomi and Brice was wonderful, though. I wish that the author spent more time exploring that connection instead of having them fall in love with each other after a week. While the sex scenes were hot, I had a disconnect with them. Mainly because I was disappointed that they slept with each other so soon after they met. Don't get me wrong, they were wonderfully written. I couldn't picture Naomi and Brice going at it like rabbits. The whole suspense angle of the book was great. The author didn't hide who was behind the attacks on Naomi and Brice. You knew who was doing all the ordering. What wasn't clear was why those men started doing what they did. I also was expecting them to be more dangerous than what they were. Other than that, I liked it. The secondary characters were great. I did think that Whitney acted like a witch with a b towards Naomi. But when it was revealed what happened, I felt awful for her. I also loved Abby. Having had 2 high-risk pregnancies myself, I understood how irritated she was. Ms. Biermann, I didn't like from the beginning. So I wasn't surprised when it was revealed that she was involved with everything that went down. The author did a wonderful job of combining all the main and secondary plotlines at the end of the book. I will say tha
Donna Grant hist another 5 star rating with this one. She opens it with a hit to this readers roots. with a big dose of patriotism. She takes the Rodeo and brings it into your mind where you are figuratively sitting at the end of your seat watching it play out in your mind. If you are a fast reader you need to seriously think about slowing down. This one will race in turn around those barrels and before you know it it is at the finish line. Wonderful read.
I thought I was getting a cowboy romance and it ended up being much more than I anticipated. Cowboy, Cross My Heart was a romantic suspense...and heavy on the suspense part. Dangerous characters, deeply depraved antagonists and dramatic circumstance led to some white knuckle reading. I found Cowboy, Cross My Heart engaging and entertaining but I missed that special character connection that I love in my reading time. I found quite a few of the secondary characters did grab me and made Cowboy, Cross My Heart a really enjoyed read. I received this ARC copy of Cowboy, Cross My Heart from St. Martin's Paperbacks. This is my honest and voluntary review. Cowboy,
After years away and making a new life for herself, Naomi Pierce has come back to Texas and the rodeo circuit not only as a photographer, but to support her best friend, and Rodeo Queen. Little did she know she would find herself caught up in a nightmare that would threaten her friend’s life, as well as her own. Nor did she plan on falling for the hotter than blazes cowboy who became her knight in blue jeans. Rough and tumble cowboy, Brice Harper came to Naomi’s rescue when she is attacked in the shadows. Could she have gotten the villain on film? Is her best friend in danger by the competition? As their attraction grows, so does the danger, a danger that Brice is determined he will stop. Will they ride off safely into the sunset together? Donna Grant’s COWBOY, CROSS MY HEART combines an insta-romance with suspense and good old Texas hospitality as Brice and his family stand together to keep Naomi safe because just maybe, this Rodeo Queen competition has gotten deadly, very deadly. I think I would have liked a slower burn on the romance, especially given the danger involved. Great family dynamics, two very likable characters and some supporting characters that scream “give ME a book!” A quick, light read that stands alone, in spite of being part of a series! I received a complimentary ARC edition from St. Martin's Paperbacks!
The second book in the Heart of Texas series takes place 12 years after the first one, Christmas Cowboy Hero, where Abby and Clayton get together. In that book Caleb and Brice were young teenagers and Brice was in trouble for cattle rustling on the East ranch. Now the two brothers are all grown up and living their lives and Abby and Clayton have two kids with a third on the way. Naomi left Texas to pursue her photography dream and college. She has come back to visit her best friend who she discovers is holding onto some very dark secrets about the Rodeo Pageant life, but she won’t tell Naomi for fear of reprisals by the very powerful men who are at the head of the horrible events Whitney and other Pageant girls have suffered. When Naomi goes to the rodeo to cheer on her friend she sees Brice compete and she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he comes to her rescue as she and Whitney are attacked, it starts the ball rolling on one fast-paced adventure where they work together to bring to light the things that have been going on for years. People are hurt along the way, there are tense moments of conflict, the plot is strong and moves quickly, and their love story also moves quickly (almost too quickly), but the plot and conflict make that not as much of a big deal as it would be otherwise. I did enjoy their story a lot and was not disappointed at all in how book 2 progressed and ended. I want more from the Easts and friends.
The second book in the author’s Heart of Texas series is just as engrossing as the first! Cowboy Cross My Heart by Donna Grant is an addictive piece of romantic suspense. It’s the second installment in the author’s Heart of Texas series, but works perfectly well as a stand alone read if that is your preference. It tells the story of cowboy Brice Harper and photographer Naomi Pierce with a heavy side of danger and suspense. If you have read The Christmas Cowboy Hero as I did, you will be familiar with some of the cast including this tale’s hero. However, this story takes place a few years after the former book and Brice and his brother, Caleb, are all grown up now. Readers will learn that the brothers have since served in the military and are back home in Texas and at the top of their game in the team roping competition on the rodeo circuit. As a bonus, fans of the series will enjoy catching up with previous favorite characters, including ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East, the first book’s hero, who took Brice and Caleb under his wing when he fell in love with their sister. The heroine herein is an accomplished former rodeo competitor herself. She was so good that, years after walking away from the sport, she still holds the barrel racing record. But, she left all that behind to move to Washington, D.C. to attend college after losing a dear friend in a tragic accident. She then stayed there to establish her photography business. As this story opens, she’s returned home temporarily to support her best friend who is competing for Rodeo Queen by chronicling her journey in pictures. Naomi certainly doesn’t expect to be swept off her feet by a fine-looking cowboy, nor does she expect to be caught up in a nightmare that threatens both her life and her friend’s. Thank goodness, a gallant knight with spurs is determined to protect her at all costs! The hero and heroine stole my heart from the beginning. Admittedly, it may have helped that I remembered Brice as the troubled youngster from the first book. It did take me a wee bit to adjust to his new mature persona. But… there’s no question that I liked what he’s evolved into - a lot - as he’s grown into full-blown hot hero material. That becomes evident quickly when he doesn’t hesitate to spring into action to rescue Naomi when she’s attacked by a shadowy figure on the rodeo grounds. Naomi is no wallflower herself as she fights back - for herself, her friend and for the other vulnerable wanna-be rodeo queens. Donna is one of my favorite authors. I discovered her with her Dark Kings series and am so glad I did! Not surprisingly, this story is well-plotted and pulls you in from the first. Be aware that this sexy tale is much more than a Texas romance as the mystery and deadly danger elements take center stage and worked well to keep this reader on the edge of her seat through-out! I shouldn’t have been surprised as the first book also included a mystery and some fast-paced action– though I don’t remember it being quite as intense as this one. Honestly, you won’t want to put the book down until you’ve read every word. I will add that I found it very interesting to read about the behind-the-scenes of rodeos. Now, I can’t wait to read the next book in this series, My Favorite Cowboy, which is set to be released in Feb 2019! I’m hoping it’s Caleb’s story, but I’m in regardless!
This is the second book in her Heart of Texas series. This time Donna Grant takes us to the Texas rodeo. Bronco bull riding the chemistry between Donna and Brice is there from there start making this romance and the danger all the more fun to read. Can't wait to see if there is going to be another book.
This is not your average cowboy love story. Naomi returns home to support her friend Whitney as the local rodeo queen. Naomi is a photographer and she took pictures at the rodeo. Brice is the cowboy who steps in to help Naomi when he hears her scream. The photo's that Naomi took stirs up a LOT of trouble with several high powered men. Naomi and Brice get their HEA, but there are obstacles they must get thru first. I enjoyed the book. However, the sub-story about men in power raping young women is not for the faint at heart. This can be a trigger for some so be warned. I received an Advance Reader Copy from NetGallery for an honest review.
3.5* A chance meeting at a rodeo, cowboy comes to the rescue and a romance to that will change their future plans. Naomi Pierce returns to Texas to support her best friend a rodeo queen. While taking pictures she looks eyes with a handsome cowboy. When Naomi and her friend are walking around the rodeo they are attacked and are rescued by Brice Harper the very man shed eyed before. Brice Harper and his brother are rodeo roper champions when he sees a woman who makes him feel things he hasn't in years the need to protect her is strong after she’s attacked. When danger calls again theres more going on then mere theft. Naomi is a very strong woman and everything Brice was not looking for. They both have had tragedies in their lives that have shaped them and how they see the world. You will cry and laugh and bite your nails during this book. I’m looking forward to reading the next book and I’m going back to read the first book.
Mystery and a stalker follows Naomi and her friend and so Cowboy Brice steps up to protect them. Good and exciting story with interesting characters I received a copy from Netgalley and I am voluntarily leaving my own honest opinion
This was a light and sweet romance with a twist of suspense to keep the pages turning and did they turn quickly. Naomi Pierce is back home to visit her friend and taking pictures at the rodeo when a cowboy catches her eye or at least they catch each other's eye. Brice Harper spots the photographer as soon as he enters the arena. Later that night he happens upon her and her friend being attacked. This puts him in the line of attack and the next day he is also attacked along with Naomi at the rodeo. There is danger lurking and it seems they are now caught in the crossfire. What brings them together is just part of the story when there is a romance to be had and watching Naomi and Brice come together and Naomi come to grips with being back home in Texas where she belongs is the real love story. I didn't read the first story in this series and did not find I was lost so I deem this a standalone but I am looking forward to the next one in this series since I really enjoyed this one. Great world building! I felt like I was on the ranch. Great characters! **Received this ARC for review from the publisher via NetGalley**
Years ago Naomi Pierce was a champion barrel rider, until a drunk driver killed one of her best friends. Now she's a photographer living in Washington DC but she's come back to Texas to visit her mother and see her remaining best friend Whitney, who is now doing well on the Rodeo Queen pageant circuit. But all isn't well with Whitney, a strange man seems to be following her and when Naomi tries to take some pictures surreptitiously the man barges past and breaks her camera. Brice Harper and his brother Caleb (the two teenagers from the first book all grown up) are champion cowboys. Brice is intrigued by the woman with the silvery laugh and the camera he sees at the rodeo. When her life appears to be in danger he feels compelled to help. As Naomi and Brice try to uncover what Whitney is too scared to tell they are attacked and are in danger. I liked this but I didn't love it. There was a good build up of suspense, which then dissipated with the obligatory 'let's stop to have sex right in the middle of an investigation interlude' and didn't really recover for me. The plot seemed a little far-fetched and was then resolved bish-bash-bosh in a matter of moments. Overall, I think this book doesn't quite know where it wants to sit in the romance genre: is it romantic suspense? Is it a cowboy romance? Is it about rodeo or a ranch? Is it a small-town cutesy romance? It didn't really commit and as a reader I felt confused. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This was an amazing, action-packed romance! Naomi is just back in town to hang out with her best friend and add some country pics to her photography portfolio. When she stumbles into a conspiracy targeting her friend, her own life is threatened as well. Brice Harper happens by in time to save Naomi and Whitney, and soon it takes his entire family and friends to keep them safe. The action is non-stop in this story, and the characters are relatable and well-matched. The romance between Naomi and Brice develops slowly, with plenty of deeper emotional moments that show their intense connection that goes beyond the immediate danger. I was completely immersed in this book and couldn't put it down until I finished. I loved every bit, and highly recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary cowboy romances. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.