As the eldest Davis, Clayton has always tried to lead by example. He takes his job as head of the family businesses seriously, making sure the farm and auto shop are running smoothly—along with keeping an eye on his brother and sister. For him, there's a time and place to let go of the control he holds with an iron grip. And with the way he grew up, coupled with disastrous end to his last relationship, he's just fine with his quiet, solitary life.
Most of the time.
What he hadn't counted on was cute, quirky, shy bookstore owner, Caroline Michaels. She's the proverbial woman next door—well, the next town over, that is. Caroline hasn't lived an easy life, but after escaping an abusive ex, she's finally living it for herself. The last thing she ever expected was a one-night stand with Clay Davis, a night she can't stop thinking about.
So when she falls on hard times and Clay comes out of nowhere to her rescue, she realizes just how impossible it'll be to stay away from him. Now all she has to do is convince him to live a little...
Will Clay be able to give up the reins and finally settle down? And, more importantly, will Caroline muster enough courage to lasso him up?
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Cowboy Up 1
“Tin Man” by Miranda Lambert
The bright, speeding blaze of lightning shooting through and across the night sky illuminates the road ahead of me. The enormous boom of thunder that follows quickly on the heels of such a beautiful display makes me jump in my seat and grip the wheel tighter. Nothing but rain-soaked asphalt and darkness meet my gaze as I continue my drive. Normally, I would recognize the weather as an omen preluding my night’s plans. A warning, perhaps, but one I won’t be heeding. My mind is all over the place from my call earlier, and I just want to . . . escape, but, more importantly, I know I need a change.
“What am I doing?” I mumble into the emptiness around me.
No one answers. Of course no one does. I’m just talking to myself, like usual. Heavens me, if that’s not a sign that I’m going insane, I don’t know what is.
“That’s what happens when you spend so much time closed off.”
For the first time, the carefully constructed freedom that I’ve built for myself feels crippling. Or perhaps like it’s caving in on me, the loneliness becoming too much. I’ve never been good at being alone, something I always knew, but I never realized how bad I was at it until now. I built my new life around just that, though, so like it or not, it’s time to get over it. It could be worse, I remind myself. Shaking off the melancholy, I continue driving, knowing that when I reach my destination I’ll be with people who care about me.
“Holy cow,” I wheeze, gripping the wheel tighter when an even louder clap of thunder breaks the silence. I’ve always loved storms, but the sky’s beautiful display is only amping up my already frazzled nerves, and I feel the unfortunately familiar burn of fear creeping up my spine before I can push it down.
I pull off the deserted back road and onto the shoulder, my headlights illuminating a sign announcing that I’m now leaving the town of Wire Creek. Beyond that is Pine Oak. It’s a small town in northeast Texas, far enough from the big city for residents to be in their own little world. I grew up in Pine Oak, but after moving away just out of high school, I cut all ties and left some bad memories in my wake before returning to the area, opening up my dream bookstore, and calling Wire Creek my home.
I was close enough to feel the tug pulling me back toward Pine Oak every now and then, but far enough away that I wouldn’t likely run into people who knew the old me.
It had been my second chance at happiness when I’d needed it the most—hence the name—and is something that I’m immensely proud of, even if being this close to Pine Oak brings back some bad memories I’d rather forget.
I have—or had, rather—a few friends in Pine Oak. It’s not a stretch to think that they’re still there—no one really ever leaves Pine Oak. I haven’t seen or spoken to them in years though, so I think I’ve lost the right to call them friends. Actually, that right probably disappeared when I vanished without a word after graduation, and I’m not naive enough to think I’d be forgiven for that. But the stupid little hopeful cheerleader that pops into my mind every now and then likes to remind me that my girls from high school would welcome me back as though no time had passed, if I would just grow up and make my return to the area known. The fact that my mama’s still there—not that it matters, since we don’t speak anymore—is the driving force that has kept me at a distance, if I’m being honest. I don’t need the memory of her to become a daily reality.
Not after everything that happened.
“Get yourself together, Caroline. You’re stronger than this,” I mumble to the sign just outside my window.
I’ve become stronger than this. Logically, I know this, but still, old habits don’t ever really die, do they?
I didn’t survive the past twelve years to let fear keep me from living the life I’ve made. I promised myself that I’d take control of my life every day. It’s time to stop making up reasons to stay closed off and not begin my new path of living. Impulsiveness might be something outside of my nature, but the only way I can think of to shake another call from him is to leap off the cliff of my comfort zone and make myself live.
I don’t know why, after almost five years away, he started calling again. If it weren’t for the memories long suppressed that hearing his voice brings back, I would thank him, though. It’s because of that call that I was forced to really see my life, and what I saw, I didn’t like.
Pushing those thoughts out of my mind, I turn the wheel to get back on the road and take the long way around Pine Oak’s limits so I can get to the town on the other side—Law Bone. I could go home. I probably should, but I really don’t want to be alone right now—something my mind knew immediately during that call, because I ran out into the storm the second I’d tossed my phone across the room. So I point my car to the one place I know without a shadow of doubt will let me lose that feeling of being alone by finding safety in numbers but still remaining by myself at the same time.
Hazel’s, the local honky-tonk, is just outside of Pine Oak—on the farthest opposite end of Wire Creek, inside Law Bone city limits. Okay, to call it a honky-tonk would be a stretch. It’s a motorcycle bar that plays country music. It caters to a rough and rowdy crowd, but no one in there ever pays me a lick of mind. Of course, that’s probably because one of my best friends is the owner, but even when he isn’t there, I’m the last thing a man inside that place is looking for.
I’m shy by nature, an introverted book nerd who can handle fictional people a lot better than I can deal with real ones. I’m not a head turner. I never really gained the skills needed to make myself look anything but . . . well, plain. I tried. In high school, my best girlfriends always tried to teach me the ins and outs of being girly, but I was too interested in sticking my nose in a book and crushing on fictional cowboys to really retain any of it. I figured that, like in my books, the right man would love me for me and not for what the enhancements of makeup and fancy clothes could do.
I glance up at my reflection in the rearview as I pull into the lot and park, and fight off a cringe. I look sad, and that sadness makes me look much older than my nearly thirty years. My brown eyes don’t shine with the mirth most women my age have dancing in theirs. Those are the carefree women who still believe they’ll find a life partner to ride off into the sunset with. Just the thought makes me snort.
Where I always found my ordinary features and dull brown hair to be boring, I know the one thing I actually do have going for me is my figure. I’ve got the body of a dancer—thin and petite. It’s my greatest attribute. I might not have all the curves most men seem to love, but I’ve been blessed with a body that requires minimum work to keep trim and firm.
There isn’t anything about me that particularly screams, Hey, look at me! but I’ve been told men like my shape because it makes them feel like they were made to protect me—or so my good friend Luke always says.
“Speak of the devil,” I mumble with a smile, seeing Luke standing under the awning outside of Hazel’s front door, blowing a long stream of smoke from his mouth. The burning tip of his cigarette stands out in the darkness around him.
Luke Hazel, half of my best-friend duo, and twin brother to Lucy, is a dog, but at least he’s an honest dog. Loyal to those he loves. Protective to the max. With his harmless flirting, he’s also helped to give me back some of the confidence I lost over the years.
“Carrie,” he drawls when I step out of my car and pull my cross-body purse over my head. I roll my eyes and cringe at the nickname he knows I hate.
“Lukie Dukie,” I jest, tossing out the nickname that I know he hates, placing my hands on my hips and arching a brow at him.
Not even fazed, he kicks off the wall he’d been leaning against and walks my way. No, he struts. Because a simple walk wouldn’t be good enough for this guy. He thinks he’s God’s gift to the females of the world. I laugh softly and fall into his arms for a hug when he reaches me.
“Not a good night to be here, sweetheart.”
I push my hands against his abs and look up at him. “And what makes tonight different from all the other nights you say the same thing?”
“Rowdy, babe. Got some out-of-towners ridin’ through lookin’ for a good time. Not sure how they’ll act when I pull the shotgun out if they try to get in your shorts.”
I feel my nose twitch as I frown at him. “No one’s gonna worry about me, Luke.”
He shakes his head. “Not sure how many times I have to drill it in your head, babe, but every man in there is ‘gonna worry about you.’?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Luke. Even if you’re right and I get some attention tonight, I’ve dealt with worse than some drunken bikers and you know it. And who says I wouldn’t enjoy a little of their attention anyway?”
He frowns. “Yeah, Carrie, but that doesn’t mean I want to put you through some bullshit just because I know you can handle it.” His frown deepens, and I know the exact moment the rest of what I said registers. He doesn’t call me on it, but he knows better than to ask if I’m ready for that kind of thing. “Told you, just like I tell Luce, this ain’t a place to find a bedfellow.”
I smile at the mention of Lucy. “You and I both know you’re going to act like my babysitter the second I walk in there, so how about you stop acting like my big brother now and let me get a drink and forget about things for a while, hmm?”
His eyes narrow. “What you got to forget about, sweetheart?”
Too late, I realize my mistake. I haven’t even talked to Lucy about the calls I’ve been getting, but with my emotions at the boiling point, my mind just slipped. Luke, the big macho protector that he’s always been, isn’t going to be happy without hearing what got me driving over to Hazel’s on a Tuesday night either.
I sigh. “I promise, I’ll fill you in later, but please, Luke, let me just forget about it all for a little while?”
He nods, but I can tell he isn’t happy about giving in. One big, thickly muscled arm waves toward the door in a sweeping gesture for me to proceed. And even though he seems to be caving, I know a long talk will be coming. I just need to make sure I’ve had enough to drink so that I’m too intoxicated to deal with that chat tonight.
The heavy wall of smoke slams into me as we enter the bar. I always thought it was funny that Luke would go outside to have a cigarette when walking into Hazel’s is probably the equivalent of smoking an entire pack of cigarettes in just one go. Most nonsmokers find the scent repugnant, but not me. I’ve always loved the smell of smoke—any kind of smoke—even if that is weird as hell.
An old Alan Jackson song booms through the air as we walk through the crowded bar. I feel the earlier tension slide off my body with each step and I know I made the right call in coming here. Luke grabs my arms, stopping me before I almost walk into a big, burly man, and pulls me to his side, securing me in place with an arm over my shoulders. I look up at him, smiling when I see his handsome face scowling down at me.
“What?” I mouth up at him, my smile growing.
He just shakes his head, continuing to guide me through the crowded room until we’re at the very end of the U-shaped bar, closest to his office. He taps the shoulder of a man sitting down and, without a word, waves his hand in some sort of code that must say, Get the hell up, because the young cowboy doesn’t even pause, sliding off the stool and disappearing into a darkened corner.
“You, sit.” Luke pushes me toward the empty stool and crosses his arms with a glare at the men closest to the seat he demanded I take.
“You could say please, you know,” I mumble under my breath, but I still follow his order.
“Could, but I won’t.”
“No surprise there, Lukie.”
He bends down until his nose is touching mine. “Watch the ‘Lukies’ in here, Carrie.”
“Whatever. How about a drink, Mr. Bartender?”
“Not joking, sweetheart. Don’t want the men in here to think you’re fair game.”
“Look around, Luke. No one is worried about me.” I don’t know if that’s actually true, but seeing as I’ve never been the type to turn a bar full of men’s attention my way, I’m fairly confident in my assessment.
“Blind as a damn bat,” he mutters loud enough for me to hear clearly over the noise, not backing away.
I open my mouth to give him a smart-ass retort but stop when I hear a deep, rumbling laugh to my side. I look over, not seeing much apart from the dark cowboy hat next to me. Its owner’s face is concealed by shadows as he looks down at the golden-colored liquor in his glass. I can see a stubbled, very strong jaw though—the deliciously strong kind that’s angled in such a way you could swear on a stack of Bibles on Sunday morning that someone carved it straight out of stone.
“Just please, stay here and out of trouble. You need to use the little girls’ room, do it in my office. I can’t run this place if I’m constantly worried about you.”
“Got her, Luke,” the stranger next to me mumbles loud enough to be heard over the music, still not looking up from his glass.
Luke flicks his gaze in my neighbor’s direction, and even though there’s no way he can see the man’s face, he nods before pulling his attention away and back on me. “Be good, sweetheart.”
He turns and stomps away.
“I’m always good!” I yell at his back, making the man next to me chuckle in such a low-pitched, manly way I almost feel like calling it a chuckle would be a sin. “What? I am,” I defend.
“Sure you are, sugar.” His deep, velvety smooth voice causes a wave of awareness to wash over me.
“Not that it matters, since I don’t know you and all, but I’ll have you know I’m the very definition of good. I wouldn’t know how to be bad if it bit me in the butt.”
He turns his head toward me. I’m unable to see his face, which is still hidden by the shadows, but I can feel his eyes on me. Their scrutiny is almost like a physical caress. “That so?” he rumbles after another few pounding heartbeats of silent study.
I nod mutely, wishing I had a drink to wash down the nervousness.
“How do you know Luke?” he continues.
“He and his sister are my best friends,” I tell him without hesitation.
“Not your boyfriend?” he drawls.
“I— No. He’s not my boyfriend,” I answer, confused by his questioning.
“So what’s a good girl like you doin’ in a place like this?”
“Maybe I’m sick of being a good girl,” I mumble, wishing I could see his eyes.
He continues to study me and I shift in my seat. Good heavens, what kind of pull does this stranger have over me? I can’t even look away, not that I want to, so I study him just as fiercely—even if I can’t see his face, I can still see him. And what a mighty fine sight he is.
Dressed in the typical uniform of most cowboys around here, he’s got his well-built frame in a navy-blue button-down shirt, tucked into jeans that I’m sure mold to his amazing-looking body perfectly when he’s standing. Even in the dim light, I can see the dirty boots propped up on the step under the bar that keeps short legs like mine from dangling in the air. His hand wrapped around the tumbler is tanned, making me think he must work outside, but it’s the long fingers that hold my focus as he uses them to slowly spin his glass against the bar top.
Pulling my eyes from the strangely erotic sight of his hand, I look toward his shadowed face.
“Want to what?”
“Be bad, sugar.”
Heat hot as fire washes over me with his words. Holy cow. My jaw works, but words elude me. I don’t even know this man’s name, let alone anything about him, and if my rusty knowledge of flirting is right, he just propositioned me. Why I find that as hot as I do, I’ll never know, but before I even know what’s happening, my brain finally figures out how to get the words past my shocked jaw.
“I think I do.”
My eyes widen at the same time his hat dips, and then he turns and holds up two fingers toward Luke farther down the bar. Call it male intuition, whatever kind of magic men have to know when another member of their brotherhood needs a drink, but Luke looks up the second the dark cowboy’s fingers are in the air and nods. Not even a minute later, he’s placing two glasses much like the one my mysterious companion just finished in front of us. Luke walks away without a word, clearly trusting this man if he’s willing to let me drink with him and not give me a speech about drinking responsibly. When the chill of glass touches my knuckles, I look down.
“Somethin’ tells me your mind might be ready to be bad, sugar, but your nerves aren’t there yet. Goes down smooth, but sip it nonetheless.”
My brain, still clearly under the dark cowboy’s control, doesn’t have a problem working now. My hand curls around the glass and I bring it to my lips, letting him control me without fighting it. He’s not wrong—it goes down smooth as silk. At least, the first two sips do. Then I get a little confident and take a deep swallow, only to sputter my way through it.
“Sip,” he calmly demands, leaning into me enough that I feel the heat of his body against my bare arms. “Want you feelin’ calm when I show you how fun it is to be bad, not drunk.”
“Who says I want to be bad with you?” I ask, taking a very small sip this time.
“Babe, you wanna be bad with me.”
He’s right, I do. “You seem confident.” I look over the glass, trying to see through the shadows, but give up when I realize just how well he’s cloaked.
He doesn’t respond but instead takes a drink from his own glass.
“I don’t even know you.”
“Wouldn’t make a difference if you did.”
“You know, some people might actually think that you’re actually just cocky and not confident.”
“I’m old enough to go after what I want without playin’ games. There ain’t a thing cocky about that.” God, his voice is pure sex.
“And what’s that?”
“You’ll find out,” he promises darkly, playing the game despite his words.
His deep laugh is low and gritty, almost as if it’s a sound that normally doesn’t come from him. For whatever reason, it makes me want to know everything I can about this man—this stranger.
We fall into a comfortable silence, but one that carries so much promise I can feel it building inside of me. Luke comes over to talk to me when he can, but it isn’t often. My glass is never empty for long, but on Luke’s fifth pass with the bottle of top-shelf whiskey, the dark cowboy places his hand over the top of my glass. I look over at him instead of Luke, to see him shaking his head.
“I got her, but how ’bout water and close out my tab?”
“You got it, Davis.” Luke laughs, turning to grab me a bottle of water from the fridge behind him.
“Your name is Davis?” I ask the man next to me, weighing the sound of it.
He doesn’t acknowledge me, waiting for Luke to come back with his credit card and his receipt to sign. He scribbles his signature and hands it back to Luke, dropping his feet to the wooden floor under us and stepping back. I follow his movements with my eyes, waiting to see what he’ll do next, already anticipating the rush of disappointment when he leaves, knowing I’ll likely never see him again. My jaw drops the second his hand comes out, palm up, in a gesture that clearly means he wants me to go with him. I look from his hand up to the darkness shadowing his face, wondering if I should actually be careless enough to go off with some stranger I don’t know.
“You gonna give me shit about this?”
Confused, I look from that tanned hand with the long fingers back up at him, but I can tell by the tilt of his hat that he’s speaking to someone behind me.
“Would it matter?” Luke laughs behind me and I turn to look at him.
“Not really. Only opinion that I care about is hers, but still askin’.”
Luke shakes his head but still smiles. “Not her keeper, but I assure you if I had a problem with this shit I wouldn’t have sat her next to you and continued to refill her glass.” Luke looks down at me and gives me a wink. “Been a while, darlin’, make sure he wraps it up.”
I gasp and feel heat blossoming on my cheeks as Luke turns with a deep laugh and walks away. I’m going to kill him.
Heat blankets my back a second later and two strong hands clasp my hips. I feel him move until his breath is at my ear. “Let’s go be bad, hmm?”
Am I going to do this? Go off with some man I don’t know and sleep with him? Because I would be a fool to think this is anything else. Earlier I promised myself I was done living a ghost of a life and that I was going to find a way to be wild and free. I’ve never slept with someone I wasn’t in a long-term relationship with. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ve only slept with one man. To say I’m in over my head here is an understatement. Lucy does it all the time. Hell, she keeps telling me I need a good rebound romp in the sheets. Screw it, I’ll regret it if I don’t at least jump in the saddle again, letting this man go without taking him for a ride.
I take a deep breath, lean back against the strong body behind me, and nod. “Yeah. Let’s go . . . be bad.”
My back vibrates with his laughter, and I shiver in his hold, my wide eyes meeting Luke’s across the bar. He gives me a wink and smiles his ruggedly handsome, crooked smile, tipping his chin toward the door in silent confirmation that he has no problem with the stranger leading me away. Knowing that the dark cowboy has Luke’s trust breaks the final restraint on my reservations. I turn, look up at my companion, and smile.
“Lead the way.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 Star Review Cowboy Up (Coming Home #3) by Harper Sloan The final book in the Coming Home series and one that I have been waiting for. I love the Davis family and I have been eagerly and not so patiently waiting for Clay’s story and what a story this was. Clay has been the glue that held his family together for so long and he needed a heroine that could match him in a number of ways and that is exactly what Caroline Michaels is. Caroline finally had the courage and means to escape from an abusive relationship and is slowly working her way back into the land of the living and now runs her own book store. The connection between Caroline and Clay is instantaneous and their one night stand leads to a passionate and sizzling night. However fate deems that these two should meet again and Clay is determined not to let the shy Caroline get away a second time. When their pasts come back to haunt them, will Caroline decide to stand and fight with Clay’s support or will she run? Will Clay accept that the time has finally come for him to love and be loved by someone, that he truly deserves the happiness that his siblings have already found? This was a romantic and at times tense read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. As will previous books from Harper Sloan it was well written and the story line solid. I was invested from the first to last page and truthfully did not want the story to end.
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4 I love a good ‘coming home’ story, and Harper Sloan has brought three of them in this series. Cllay has been in the picture for ages – and he’s always trying to do the best thing for everyone, and keep everything running smoothly. He’s the sort of always there brother, often stepping in to sort, solve or just be aware of what’s going on. But when his need to protect those who may be in trouble bring him face to face with Caroline: things truly start to change for Clay. One night, in fact the best night between Clay and Caroline brought passion, heat, a connection and a serious jump out of their ‘comfort zone” when a night of drinking and dancing ended in bed. No strings, just a diversion from her isolation after a horrible relationship left her cautious and closed off. But, now months later and everything gone pear-shaped in her life – her business burned to the ground, homeless and seriously in need of some care – there he is. At the baby shower for earlier characters, there’s Clay – big as life and twice as solid. And he sees Caroline for the first time in ages – her sparkle not quite there. He’d heard of her troubles, and he thinks that perhaps that one night could be something more – if they both will take a chance. And what a ride this becomes: Clay and Caroline both have issues that they would prefer to move on from, but some are lasting and lingering. The one night, the best night of their lives, couldn’t possibly be enough – but it just might be the keys to their letting someone in and starting toward a new future. Clay, surprisingly enough is very considerate and coaxing with Caroline, letting her share her secrets and fears while doing his best to not allow his past bad breakup effect the now. He’s a touch on the pragmatic side, although it’s clear that he’s attracted to and enjoys Caroline as a woman and a person. Surprisingly low angst in terms of their relationship – Clay is the ultimate protector here when Caroline’s ex just won’t let go – and he’s consistent and steady with her – making the story truly about their relationship as it grows and develops into a connection that is clearly headed to happy ever after. Narration for this story is performed by Elizabeth Louise and Jason Carpenter – a pairing that has worked, and does work, so perfectly for this story. Throughout the book, their voices play clearly off one another: becoming the characters complete with small hesitations, emotion and interplay between them that allows each character’s moment to shine and present their perspective. Clear and distinct tones, tempos and delivery for each of the characters, primary and secondary, allow conversations, moments and emotional impact to resonate with listeners, and their determination to make this relationship work out is easy to see and understand. A lovely performance that has me wanting to revisit all of the stories in this series once again. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
4.5 STARS! Cowboy Up was such a great read. I actually enjoyed this book more than I did the previous books in this standalone series. There was just something about this book that had me finishing it in one sitting. I loved Clayton and Caroline's characters from the beginning of the book and enjoyed them until the very end. I liked the mystery in the beginning with Caroline's "dark cowboy" and the chemistry between them was undeniable. I loved how these characters supported and stood by each other no matter what; they weren't all family through blood but they were family through the love they had for each other. This was a sweet but steamy, second chance romance filled with a bit of suspense, revenge and forgiveness. I truly loved the Davis clan and their families, and they all deserved their HEA's. This book had such a sweet ending and I loved reading everything come full circle. I highly recommend this book to romance lovers. This one will not disappoint.
Harper Sloan has been a long time favorite author of mine. While I really enjoyed the first two books, Lost Rider and Kiss My Boots, they felt "tamer" than her past books. But Cowboy Up is now up there with my other favorites of hers from the past. Clay is definitely the strong, alpha male of this family. With his younger siblings happily married, now he can focus on his own love life. Only he doesn't believe that's in store for himself. Caroline is the perfect match for him. These two are about as opposite as can be, and how does that saying go? Opposites attract. Cowboy Up is without a doubt my favorite out of the Coming Home Series.
Cowboy Up is book three in the Coming Home series and revolves around the oldest Davis sibling, Clayton. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone, but I will say that all of them are worth the read. Clayton takes on a lot of responsibilities. He likes being in control. Whether it’s the family business, his siblings, or relationships, he’s in control. Caroline makes him want to lose all his control and change is stance on relationships. Caroline was strong. She escaped from her ex, who was abusive and is now living for herself. When her and Clay have a one-night stand, it’s unforgettable. When she runs into hard times, it’s up to Clayton to show the way. Don’t worry, though, she has somethings to teach Clayton, as well. Both characters have obstacles they need to overcome and this author did a good job at showing readers that. I liked that each character was well-developed and had interesting back stories. It would be boring if both of them were perfect and never fell on hard times. Thankfully, this story is anything but dull.
I’m so happy after reading this one. Cowboy Up redeemed this series for me after almost DNFing the last one. Clayton is the strong silent type and he’s the one I loved the most. He’s been a strong support for his siblings over the years. He’s an alpha with a bit of a darker side, but the way he takes care of Caroline is everything. This book was a bit different from the other two because it had a bit of a mystery thrown in that really amped up the action. I think this added so much to the story that I hadn’t expected. Then there was that epilogue…I LOVED it! Epilogues are very popular in this genre but it isn’t often that we get an epilogue from 15 years later. It made the Davis family story feel completely wrapped up in a way that was comforting. I received an advance reader copy of this book that I have chosen to review.
I don't read a lot of cowboy books and I haven't read the first two books in this series but this cowboy book is one every romance reader should pick-up. And I'm definitely going to need to read the first two books. Some authors like their couple time. This author is certainly that type and I really appreciate it. The battles that get fought in this book are more about dealing with the uglies from the past, growing past the people you need to forget, and finding joy in the rewards of life. I liked that a lot. It was different and satisfying. And I really appreciated the couple time - watching them develop a relationship. There are some great horses in the is book. Love Dell's appearance and how he really makes an impact with Caroline. But my favorite is Onyx. This black beauty makes a connection and I was so touched by this horse that has just as much ugly in his past as the couple does. The heat between these two is off the scales from the very first meeting. They have some smokin' hot chemistry and it fills many a page. I enjoyed the depth of the feelings that burst between them and then deepened over time. These two are truly soulmates. I enjoyed all the characters even though I hadn't read the first two books. I loved the feisty Quinn and wondered about Mav. Certainly makes me want to read their books. Good writing and great characters makes this a book well worth your time.
Clayton Davis knows a heck of a lot about being a cowboy and even more about keeping the family businesses running and ensuring his younger siblings are taken care of…Clayton is a shrewd businessman and incredibly controlled in all aspects of his life. He’s already been burned by love once before and he’s not looking to repeat that trend anytime soon, but what he doesn’t count on is a shy but passionate woman showing him another way to live his life - one that includes fusing uncontrolled pleasure with the strictures that control every action he takes. Caroline Michaels knows a thing or two about heartache and she learned these lessons the hard way, and as much as she’s tried to put her past behind her, she’s still a work-in-progress, but that doesn’t stop her from living her life or from growing into a much stronger and bolder Caroline. On the surface, Clayton and Caroline couldn’t be more different, but what connects them is so much stronger than their differences, and while it’s all about instant lust with these two at the beginning of the story, that attraction continues to build as the story line progresses, and even though there are a few hitches when it comes to them building a bond beyond sex, it’s clear that what’s between them is something worth risking just about anything for… Clayton and Caroline’s journey to a happily ever after is one filled with passion, suspense, and strong family bonds. There’s not much that the Davis siblings wouldn’t do for one another and that now includes their significant others and while Clay and Caroline were only supposed to be a one-night stand, it was clear pretty early on that they weren’t done with one another, and as their feelings grow and they work on opening themselves up to each other, their broken/bent pieces start to fuse together, proving just how easy it is to fall in love when it’s with the right person, even when the fear of getting hurt again tries to overpower what the heart wants and frankly what it needs to rebuild itself and move beyond everything it has already faced. Cowboy Up was the perfect way to send the Davis clan riding off into the sunset and finding the true definition of what it means to come home! 4.5 Poison Apples (The Fairest of All Book Reviews)
Caroline lives a pretty solitary life. She owns a bookstore and has two best friends. She hasn't been in a relationship for years. She managed to get away from her abusive ex and doing well on her own is something she strives to do, until she meets Clayton. At first she's just looking for a bit of fun, something she's never done before. However, when they see each other again after their one wild night, it becomes clear there's more going on between them. Will they have a chance together? Clay has been hurt by his ex and thinks he won't find his true love. When he meets Caroline he knows he can have more, but he needs to convince her he's safe to be with. They both have a past and they don't trust easily, but their feelings are strong and they can't stay away from each other. What will life have in store for Caroline and Clay, will they finally find the happily ever after they both really deserve? Cowboy Up is a wonderful sexy romantic story. Caroline and Clay are a great match. They have plenty of chemistry, there's an easy friendship between them and they connect on many different levels. I kept hoping that after many years filled with difficulties and sadness they'd find someone to be happy with. Discovering if they'd have a future together made me so curious that I read Cowboy Up in one sitting. Harper Sloan's writing style has a nice flow. I love her dialogue, it's authentic and realistic. It's also a lot of fun and reading the conversations between Caroline and Clay put a big smile on my face. Harper Sloan combines a story about being soulmates with a gripping plot and the ending of the story took my breath away. Cowboy Up is another amazing book by this fabulous author about family, friends and deep emotional bonds. I loved finding out more about Clayton and enjoyed his story very much.
the coming home series closes with clayton's story in cowboy up. unlike his siblings his isn't a second chance at love. he meets caroline at a bar outside of town. on a night where it's clear that she's looking to be bad. and he decides that he's the one who's going to be there for it. they don't exchange names, and yet, what should feel like a tawdry hookup in a motel room is something else entirely. it's the best sex of their lives. but it's one night. and neither of them tries to find the other. until caroline shows up at his sister's baby shower. the moment she walks in the room he recognizes her. not just as the woman in the bar, but as the woman who belongs to him. from that moment caroline is his. he proves this by saving her time and time again. once he has her in his arms this second time, he's not going to let her go. he's head over heels crazy in love with her. and she's in love with him. this book is dripping with love. it's in every look they share. every conversation they have. every single time they touch they combust in a flare of lust and emotion. of the davis siblings, clayton is the strong silent steady older brother. he doesn't lose that persona here, but we are given the chance to see, to experience how big his heart is. and it's so delightful. as the closing book to the series, it was absolute perfection. **cowboy up published on december 19, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books (pocket books) in exchange for my honest review.
Clay is by far my favorite in this series. I really enjoyed him and Caroline! They were a great couple. You never know what you're gonna find, especially when you're not even looking! Congrats Harper on another fantastic series!
I've always loved Harper Sloan and her intriguing and captivating way of writing. And I did really enjoy the first two books in the Coming Home Series. But this third book was just something so much more. From the very beginning of the series, I knew that Clay's story is going to be probably my favorite. And I wasn't wrong. I was spellbound by the beautiful story between Clay and Caroline. And yes, the story is romantic but it is also so much more. It is a story of strength and survival, a story of learning how to trust again, of opening up to new possibilities and so much more. I felt like with every page I've read, I was falling in love with the book more and more. Part of it was that I've always thought that Clay is my favorite of the Davis brothers. With his brooding a quiet personality and fierce protectiveness and loyalty to the people he loves, he's had a place in my heart from the very first book in the series. And I've always known that it will take a very special woman to crack the hard shell around his heart. And I can honestly say that I wasn't disappointed. The chemistry between Clay and Caroline is palpable from the very start. But their relationship, though it might start as a simply physical encounter, is definitely something much more emotional and deep than probably either of them expects for the short time they've known each other. And though, each one has been heart in the past, together, they piece their hearts together. They give each other the strength to heal. Unfortunately, there is danger lurking around the corners and the past doesn't always stay in the past. So be prepared for some suspense to be added to this already incredible heartbreaking story. I can honestly say that this is my favorite book in the series. There is just something about Clay and Caroline that lodged itself in my heart and it won't be leaving anytime soon :) So it is not surprising that in my opinion this is a must read book and definitely one of the best I've read this year. So don't waste any time and pick up your copy asap. I am sure you won't regret it
I'm going to just say I feel like the best was saved for last. I've been waiting to get my hands on Clayton Davis since we first met him in Lost Rider. You have seen different sides of Clayton in the previous books, from protective, to grumpy, to quiet. We get to see a whole new side in this book! It's full of love, sexiness, and surprises. Caroline and Clayton are what fairy tales are made of. I couldn't help but fall in love with this book and it was one that I didn't want to put down!
This is by far my favorite book of this series, plus one of my nrw favorites from Harper Sloan. Loved how Clay found a reason to love again with Linney, who found her "knight in shining armor". This is a must read and shows why Harper Sloan is an author thst should be on everyone's must read list.
Cowboy Up (Coming Home, #3) by Harper Sloan Harper Sloan has created a trilogy that is heart rendering impossible to put down. Clayton the big brother of this trio of dynamic characters is the last to find love. He has sacrificed everything he could to protect his siblings, acting more of a father figure than their alcoholic abusive father ever could. Maverick came back to town, and found the girl of his dreams protected loved and supported by his big brother and sister. Quinn was able to reconnect to her lost love that had been forced by outside factors to leave her. Now it is Clayton’s turn. What he did not expect is who it was that connected all the broken pieces with in him. They just need to overcome their combined Ugly and find the beauty within.
I was given a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review. This is the third book in the Coming Home series but it can be read as a standalone. This book features the oldest brother - Clay and a bookstore owner - Caroline. Clay is the owner of his families ranch and takes his job seriously. Sometimes you need a night out though. One of those nights out leads him to meeting Caroline. She owns a bookstore in a nearby town but things aren't going so well in her life at the moment. One of her best friends owns the bar she finds herself in and meeting "Davis." Davis is Clay's last night but is what her friend called Clay and she assumes it's his first name. Caroline is in lust with this cowboy. He makes her body sing and her girly parts tingle. One night it can only be though. Her secrets will one day come back to haunt her and she's not willing to bring anyone else into the fold for fear of their safety. This love story will warm your nights. These two heat up the sheets and are great together. I enjoyed reading their story. Clay is a brooding cowboy but you'll find he's much sweeter when he's with Caroline. She makes him a much more relaxed person. I think you'll enjoy reading their love story.
4.25 stars--heartwarming; tearful 4.25 stars-COWBOY UP is the third (and final?) instalment in Harper Sloan’s contemporary, adult COMING HOME erotic, romance series focusing on the Davis siblings- Clayton, Maverick and Quinn Davis. This is thirty six year old rancher and eldest sibling Clayton Davis, and thirty year old book store owner Caroline Michaels’ story line. COWBOY UP can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Told from dual first person perspectives (Clayton and Caroline) COWBOY UP follows the building relationship between Clayton Davis, and Caroline Michaels. A one-night stand between strangers had our leading couple fantasizing about that night two months earlier only to discover that Clayton Davis was Caroline Michaels’ one-time, best friend’s oldest brother, and the high school crush she apparently forgot. After an invitation to Quinn Davis’ baby shower, our heroine will come face to face with the man with whom she will fall in love. Enter Clayton Davis, rancher and eldest Davis Sibling. What ensues is the building romance between Clayton and Caroline, and the potential fall out as both of their pasts collide in a game of jealous revenge. Caroline Michaels left the town of Pine Oak, Texas immediately after high school to escape the gossip mills and rumors, and the mother who made her entire life a living h*ll. Her return to Wire Creek, Texas to open up her dream bookstore comes with ambivalence and a yearning to be free of the past-a past that almost destroyed our heroine’s life. Clayton Davis doesn’t do relationships in light of heartbreaking childhood and the fractured family dynamics of the Davis clan, as well as the bitter memories of a woman who continues to demand and push Clayton into a second chance. The relationship between Caroline and Clayton is one of immediate attraction; a one –night stand that turns into something more when Caroline and Clayton bond over past betrayal, broken hearts and parental rejection. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense, without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. All of the previous story line couples play secondary and supporting characters including Maverick and Leighton (Lost Rider #1), and Quinn and Tate (Kiss My Boots #2). We are introduced to Caroline’s best friends and bar owners Luke Hazel, and his twin sister Lucy, as well as Caroline’s ex John Lewis; her mother Misty Michaels; and Clayton’s ex Jess. The world building continues to focus on the Davis family-their growing love and support for one another, once destroyed by the very people meant to bring happiness and peace. There are two epilogues that fast forward the story line approximately one year, and another that looks fifteen years into the future. COWBOY UP is a story of family and friendship; romance and love; betrayal, jealousy, revenge and obsession. The premise is heart warming and tearful; the characters are colorful, charismatic and welcome; the romance is passionate and seductive. COWBOY UP is an amazing tale about two people, one family and the struggle to move forward from demons of the past.
This was a sweet romance. I like stories where you get both characters' points of view in alternating chapters. While our main characters definitely had their pasts to overcome, once they figured out how they felt about each other, the main drama and stress in the book came from outside issues, exes or dealing with the loss of Caroline's bookstore or else her horrible mother. It's nice to read a story where the people in love are able to know that and not have to stress back and forth and not trust each other or push each other away. Sometimes it is nice to read a "perfect" love story, and this is definitely one where that takes place. There are very steamy sex scenes, but also very dreamy romantic scenes. There are also good family members, on Clayton's side, as well as some great friends of Caroline's. There are babies, and a wedding as well. I did have a few scenes where the sexy bits kind of jarred with the sweetness, didn't quite fit seamlessly together. And there was a lot of crying at the end that seemed a bit overdramatic to me, as well as some of the professions of love did get to be a bit much. But overall I enjoyed the story, and would definitely love to go back and read how the other couples got together. I'm sure if I'd read all the books in order, it would have made the epilogue set 15 years in the future mean more to me. If you like a sweet romance, without drama between the lovers, steamy sex between them, flirting, funny friends, all of that, this is the book for you!
This was so amazing! Cowboy Up is full of so much heart, healing, and love. I absolutely adored it. I've loved the entire series but hands down this was my favorite. It was the perfect way to wrap everything up! I have wanted Clay's story since book one so I was really excited to start. Clayton is so protective and caring, and will do anything for his family. He also had a way with words that made me swoon. I loved Clay, learning all the ends and outs of him and what made him tick but it was Caroline who really got to me. She’s a shy, timed thing so learning her history and watching her open up and become stronger was amazing. Clayton and Caroline have an unconventional first meeting that's filled with so much passion and chemistry and from there, everything evolved. I was so hooked and ate it up. It was fun and sweet and sexy, it was also so incredibly emotional. I was laughing and crying and rooting for them. Not only is there Clayton and Caroline's story, but there is also more of Clayton and his siblings so I felt like there was a whole bunch of mini stories happening. I loved it all so much! I adored the updates about where everyone was at in their lives and what was going on, and seeing those bonds and connections. It was truly fantastic. I am such a sucker for male bonding and sibling bonding, and I got choked up a countless amount of times thanks to all these wonderful moments they shared. As much emotion as they brought, they also brought the fun. There was a great mix of playfulness and camaraderie that made me smile. You really get everything with this. There is passion and heat (seriously with the heat - this is one hot freaking cowboy!). There's drama and a bit of suspense. There's a beautiful love story happening that is so incredibly sweet. People healing and coming together and becoming stronger. It was just so well written and thought out. Great pace and build and I loved the details. And that epilogue, it wrecked me in a good way. This has been such an incredible series and I love how everything was tied up and finalized. I feel so much closure. I felt this one deep. Beautiful story! Complimentary copy received for honest review.
I absolutely loved this book! I have to say that Clayton Davis's story was most definitely worth the wait and although I enjoyed the other 2 books very much, dare I say this is by far my favorite! Harper Sloan truly outdid herself on this one. I adore Clayton and Caroline so much!! These two people couldn't have been more right for each other and the way they heal each other and love each other is quite something. This book was so emotionally on point that it could have come with directions like queue laughter, queue tears, queue heartache, etc. because I definitely felt EVERYTHING while I was reading this book and in my opinion, that is such a testament to the writing. The epilogue was just amazing and I love when an author gives us what she did at the end of this wonderful story. 5 stars hardly seem like enough.
This is the third book of the Coming Home series and can be read as a standalone but would greatly help if you have read the previous books featuring the other Davis siblings, Maverick the younger brother and Quinn the little sister. We finally get to read Clayton’s story, the eldest of the Davis siblings, the dark and brooding cowboy who is allergic to commitments. He is the protective brother of Maverick and Quinn. Happy that his siblings have settled down and starting their own families, Clay seems happy enough for them but how is he coping? And then there is Caroline, owner of a bookstore who escaped from an abusive relationship, she’s coasting through life, wary and shies away from men. This pair’s first meeting starts with an unforgettable one night stand and it was meant to stay that way. Little do they know that they both have mutual friends and a few months later they meet again. This contemporary romance is a wee bit slow at the beginning but quickly picks up the pace of the sizzling chemistry between the main characters. Reading about the other siblings Maverick and Leigh who are expecting a baby and Tate and Quinn the youngest sibling who is also expecting makes this book the perfect reunion for the whole family. As expected the author gave us very entertaining banter between the characters that made me giggle and laugh. Clayton’s words will sweep you off your feet. “There’ll never be a day that I don’t love you. Not one. I wasn’t plannin’ on you, baby, and I know you weren’t plannin’ on me, but sometimes what we need to finally feel whole is what we least expect. You are that for me.” Caroline’s shyness stems from her mother’s verbal abuse when she was young. She ran away with her boyfriend at eighteen and she ends up in another abusive relationship, the lady needs someone to rescue her. She might be the independent lady she is now, she grew a backbone but a woman still needs her knight in shining armour. “You rode in on your white horse, knocked me on my butt, but saved me in the end. My knight in pressed flannel and Wranglers.” Clay and Caroline’s story is a signature Harper Sloan cowboy romance. Clay is a dark and brooding alpha cowboy who is not afraid to show his emotions and cry. Then there is Caroline who started as a weak and shy heroine and later on is empowered by her man’s support and love and growing her own backbone as well. It looks like everything is hunky dory but then their exes resurface like bad pennies and the drama builds up. I love the epilogue in this book, the perfect finale to this fun-filled, heart-stopping epic romance involving the Davis siblings.
Caroline and Clayton spent one anonymous night together. A few months later neither one of them has forgotten the other so when they unexpectedly meet again they each take the opportunity to see where this thing they have between them will lead. This was a deeply romantic book with just a tad of angst and then some small amount of extreme drama toward the end. Once Clayton had a second chance at Caroline he was all in. She had never felt the love of any man, much less a good man and her heart is instantly ensnared by her dark cowboy. There were times when I actually got a bit bored with all the sweet, romantic dialogue between these two. The angst was so low there was nothing really driving their story. For those who love such a story, this one is going to be the perfect read for you. The epilogue was great giving us a look fifteen years into the future. This is an honest review of an advanced copy provided by NetGalley and Dual POV Some ow drama but the hero hasn’t had anything to do with her for several years; some om drama although, again, the heroine had nothing to do with him for several years Possible triggers – domestic abuse
The Final book in the Coming Home series brings us an abused woman and an emotional detached Cowboy. Caroline escaped her abusive ex years prior but going through something traumatic like that leaves it’s scars. She wanted to move home but only comes close enough to the town next over because she doesn’t want anything to do with the mother who refused to help her. She’s got her two best friends and that’s all she needs, until she meets a Mysterious cowboy at a bar. Clayton Davis is slowly being consumed by the heaviness of responsibility and the loneliness he feels living a life without someone by his side. He’s been badly burned by a previous ex and still struggles with the abandonment of his mother. Clay believes he’ll never let another women in that close again. Clay and Caroline quickly became my favorite out of this series. This was such a sweet low angst read that had enough action in it to keep it interesting. Leading up to this book, I really thought Clay was going to be the one with the most resistance. Instead he knew Caroline was different and really made this book into why it was my favorite. I love that Clay gave Caroline all of him. There were no games, just honesty, love and protection. What more could you want from a sexy cowboy? ARC provided by NetGalley.
Cowboy Up is book three in The Coming Home series, but it can be read as a standalone. Clayton Davis, is oh so swoonworthy! He has piqued my interest from the first book in the series. His only goal is taking care of his families ranch. Clay never lets anyone get close to him and he doesn't have any plans of settling down. He was burned from a bad relationship years ago. "You aren't ever truly broken until you can no longer keep moving forward and they're lowering you into the ground. It's what you call the ugly parts of someone that prove to others just how strong they really are." Caroline, you can't help but love her and all she has overcome in her life. She is tired of looking over her shoulder and just wants to be happy and free. What happens when she has a one night stand that will change the course of her life? Will she be able to open herself up to another man after all she has overcome? What happens with both their pasts show up to haunt them? Clayton and Caroline's story consumed me! I fell in love with the story time and time again. It will definitely be on my reread list and I cannot wait see what Harper has in store for us next!! MUST read!!
4.25 STARS In this third installment to author Harper Sloan’s Coming Home series, Clayton Davis—the eldest Davis clan sibling—finds his HEA in the arms of his very own “damsel-in-distress,” Caroline Michaels. Still battling the psychological aftereffects of an abusive relationship, Caroline endeavors to break free of her shy and reclusive nature. Throwing caution to the wind, Caroline has herself a one-night stand with a dark and sexy cowboy—a cowboy that turns out to be none other than Clay Davis—her once secret high school crush. With his siblings off basking in marital bliss, Clay finds himself shrouded in loneliness, despite the long hours he puts in each and every day. But Clay has been burned badly in the past, so he’s resolved to remain unattached. That is, until a night of passion with a quirky book store owner turns into something so much more. Both Clay and Caroline have been hurt by people from their past, but they refuse to let that past define them. So, while they might be a little bent, they are definitely not broken. And building upon their undeniable connection, together, they endeavor to move forward. But sometimes the past collides with the present, threatening to tear down all the good that has been built. One of the things I love most about Clay and Caroline’s love story, is that any angst they endure is derived from external sources, as opposed to issues between the couple themselves. Time and again, I was assured of their unwavering love and felt confident that, in the end, they would find the HEA that they sought. “Cowboy Up” is a sweet, romantic, emotional ride. It’s also hot, hot, hot! I love that Clay is strong and dominant but also tender and caring—the perfect mix of swoony and alpha male. Rising above her abusive past, Caroline proves to be both strong and determined. Slowly, she opens herself up to Clay—risking her heart and additional hurt—and willingly takes a chance on love. While “Cowboy Up” can be read as a stand-alone, established fans of this series, will, no doubt, be delighted to “catch up” with their favorite characters from books 1 & 2. A quick, romantic read, Clay's story is one you won't want to miss!