He needs to escape…
Justin Skaggs is on the road to anywhere--as long as it's far from home--when fate throws a kindred spirit across his path.
She needs to get to Oklahoma…
Phoenix Montagno can't believe her luck when she runs into the hottie from the bar. He's the key to her getting everything she's always wanted, but she can't tell him that. Luckily he's not interested in learning her story any more than he is in sharing his.
Both have secrets they don't want to share…
It's the perfect arrangement. No personal details. No talking at all. Just two strangers sharing the cab of a truck heading the direction they both need to go… until they decide to share a bed, too.
"The Oklahoma Nights series is a must read." --Lorelei James
Praise for Cat Johnson's Oklahoma Nights Series
Two Times As Hot
"The right blend of love, lust and heartache." --The Oklahoma Gazette
"Impressively fresh…Johnson's dialogue lilts off the tongue." --Publishers Weekly
"Cat Johnson writes one hell of a sexy cowboy." --FictionVixen
"Johnson is a master of bringing sexy cowboys to life in the pages of her stories, and does it again with Logan. There's plenty of hot romance to burn these pages!" --The Parkersburg News & Sentinel
One Night With A Cowboy
"These two interesting and unique characters will take you on a journey that you won't want to end." --TOP PICK!, NOR Reviews
"This spicy romance with hot and tempting cowboys will satisfy readers' cravings for a solid romance with well-drawn characters and more than a little sex appeal." --The Parkersburg News & Sentinel
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By CAT JOHNSON
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Cat Johnson
All rights reserved.
"Well, look who's here. Justin Skaggs, how the hell are ya?"
Justin paused at the sound of his name, his hand still on the door he'd just pushed open. As he moved into the bar and his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw the guy who'd greeted him before he'd even had a chance to clear the doorway.
Accepting that there was no way around it, Justin pulled out the barstool next to the man who'd known his family for decades. "Hey, Ray. How you been?"
"Eh, same old thing. Y'know how it is." The older man, whose clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, hacked out a raspy cough before soothing it with a swallow of his beer.
"Yup." Justin dipped his head, knowing one thing for certain — that Ray should stop smoking. He should probably stop drinking, too, if he wanted to see his grandkids grow up.
As for Ray's statement about everything being the same old thing, Justin could definitely relate. That was exactly the problem in this town — things were always the same. The same people doing the same things in the same places.
In a community that small, there was no avoiding running into people he'd known for most of his life. Folks who knew him and his family's past. Even when he wanted to get away from everyone for a little bit, especially when he needed to get away, it seemed he couldn't.
All he'd wanted to do tonight was to be alone. His goal was to get shit-faced on some beer — or bourbon, if that's what it took — and then sleep it off in the truck in peaceful oblivion for a few hours. He obviously needed to drive farther to find a watering hole where no one knew him. Possibly across state lines, and even that might not be far enough.
Justin raised one hand to get the bartender's attention. "Bottle of light beer, please."
His original plan to consume massive amounts of the hard stuff wasn't going to play out, so he'd have a light one and then leave. One quick beer, a short good-bye, and then he'd get back in the truck and drive until he was so far away no one knew him.
"How's your momma doing?" Ray's tone was imbued with the same undercurrent of sympathy Justin had gotten used to hearing over the past two years.
"Good. Thanks." Justin hated the question he seemed to be asked everywhere he went. What could he say to answer it?
Certainly not the truth — that his mother, a formerly vibrant woman, was now broken. A complete and utter mess.
His mother was as good as a woman who'd lost both her husband and her oldest son in the span of less than a decade could be.
Both men had been taken way too young, his father ten years ago by a massive coronary and his brother more recently by war.
Some days she didn't get out of bed. Justin would come home from a full day of work at the Double L Ranch and find her in the same pajamas she'd been wearing when he'd left that morning. Still sitting in the same spot, either on the sofa in front of the television or, on really bad days, in her bed.
Other days, few and far between, she'd make a small attempt at normalcy. He'd come home and find her cleaning or cooking. But those days had become less and less frequent. More often than not, he'd be the one making dinner when he got home from the ranch at night.
As the man of the house — the only one left — Justin did his best to support his mother. He'd bring her food and coax her to eat when she didn't want to. He'd give her space when she looked like she needed that or an ear to bend when that was what she needed most.
But some days, like today, Justin couldn't deal with his own life, never mind his mother's. Lord help him, because he felt like shit when he did it, but those were the days he'd disappear. Fire up the engine in his brother's old truck and drive.
As the bartender delivered the beer Justin had ordered, the door swung open, letting the light of the afternoon inside the sanctuary-like darkness of the bar.
Justin raised the bottle to his lips and drew in a long swallow of the icy-cold brew. It slid down his throat, washing away at least a little bit of his stress. If Ray remained quiet, and the bartender kept the cold ones coming, maybe he could stay and hang here for a bit.
"Hey, is that Jeremy's truck I saw parked outside?" The newcomer's statement was like nails on a chalkboard, erasing whatever calm Justin had managed to achieve.
"You driving Jeremy's truck?" Ray asked Justin.
Justin glanced from the guy who'd just entered — Rod, the old-timer who owned the lumberyard — to Ray.
"I like to run it once in a while." He downed another two gulps of beer, bringing the bottle closer to empty and the time nearer the moment he could leave.
Rod pulled out the barstool next to Justin. With him on one side and Ray on the other, Justin was penned in. Trapped in polite conversation when all he wanted was to be an antisocial bastard.
"If you're ever looking to sell it, give me a call. I always did like that truck." Ray's offer was the last thing Justin could take.
Jaw clenched, Justin nodded. "I'll keep that in mind."
Jeremy was dead. His truck was one of the last things left on Earth that had mattered to him. He'd loved that damned truck. Justin couldn't sell it any more than he could bring himself to take it over and drive it as his, full-time.
Didn't they understand that?
He said he drove it to keep the engine in shape, but the truth was, Justin got in it when he wanted to feel close to his brother. And, truth be told, sometimes when he wished he could chuck it all and join his brother, wherever that might be. Even after going to church his entire life, he wasn't so convinced Heaven existed. At least not exactly in the way the preacher said it did.
One more gulp and the beer was empty. Justin stepped off the barstool and dug in his pocket for his wallet.
"You going?" Ray asked.
"Put that beer on my tab." Rod directed the statement to the bartender.
"Thanks, but I got it." Justin threw a bill on the bar. "See y'all later."
He didn't wait for change from the bill he'd tossed down or goodbyes from the two men. Instead he yanked the door open and stepped out into the air. Only then — outside and away from the oppressive presence of people — did he feel like he could breathe again.
Shit. He wasn't fit to be around any other living thing today. Maybe he should pick up a six-pack, drive to a field somewhere, sit in the truck, and drink it.
It was coming up on two years since Jeremy had died. Justin knew he'd have to be there for his mother that day. Hell, for the whole month probably. But now, with over a month left to go before that grim anniversary, he'd give himself this time to wallow in his grief.
Justin would let himself get angry, too. At God for letting a good man die too damn young. At the bastards who'd planted that roadside bomb. Even at Jeremy for reenlisting when he could have been home safe instead of in Afghanistan.
He slid into the driver's seat and stared down at the set of keys in his hand. The truck key. The house key. The key to the padlock on the toolshed in the backyard. Some mysterious key he didn't recognize. He was starting to wonder if even Jeremy had known what it opened. ...
Justin ran his thumb over the smooth metal of the ring. It was the same key ring Jeremy had carried in his pocket since the day he'd bought the truck. He'd carried it until the fake leather tag on it that read Chevy had worn and frayed around the edges. He'd carried it until he'd deployed that final time.
Knocking himself out of the daze he'd slipped into, Justin reached for the radio and hit the Power button. The same station that had been playing the last time Jeremy drove the truck before leaving blared to life.
He couldn't bring himself to change the station, just like he couldn't throw out the stack of fast-food napkins stuffed in the glove compartment or the two-year-old, half-empty tin of chew Jeremy had left in the console under the dash.
Justin turned the key in the ignition and the engine fired to life, rumbling beneath him. It would be better to run it more often than the half dozen or so times a year he did. That would keep the tires from getting flat spots, or worse, dry rot.
He should be pushing it, too. Taking longer trips at highway speeds to get the fluids circulating and blow the carbon out of the engine.
But there were the ghosts of too many memories in this truck. It hurt to drive it. Then again, it hurt when he didn't drive it, so what the hell did it matter?
It would be good for both him and the truck to gun it. Open up the engine and let the mud fly.
Decision made, Justin threw the truck in Reverse, backed out of the space, and shifted into Drive.
He hit the accelerator, peeling out on the gravel of the lot as he turned onto the main road, heading in the direction of the interstate. He would hit the highway for a few miles ... or fifty. Let the road heal him for a couple of hours.
Escaping, running away from his problems, was no way to deal with them. He knew that. Any psychologist would tell him that. The grief counselor his mother had agreed to go to a couple of times sure as hell would have.
Justin didn't care what the experts said. He had to do what he had to do. If getting out of town or getting drunk — possibly both — was what he needed to do, then that's what he was going to do. The experts be damned.
Getting away for a little while sounded real good. Finding himself a woman wouldn't hurt either. A night of some mindless sex with a stranger would certainly be a distraction.
The problem was, he couldn't stand his own company right now. He couldn't imagine charming a woman into bed for the night in his current mood, so he might as well forget about that.
The old guys at the bar annoyed him. The radio announcer was grating on his nerves. His own thoughts were like salt rubbed in a wound. There wasn't a chance in hell he could stand talking to a woman long enough to woo her. ...
It was safer for everyone if he behaved as antisocially as he felt and steered clear of all living things, so that's exactly what he intended to do.CHAPTER 2
Phoenix Montagno looked at the devastation around her.
The havoc she'd wreaked in the space that was her apartment hadn't produced the results she'd wanted. All she'd made was a big mess.
Papers covered every square inch of the carpet immediately surrounding her, and in spite of the chaos she'd created, the one piece of paper she needed wasn't among any of the others.
She sighed. How could she lose her birth certificate?
When she'd moved out of her parents' house, she'd made sure to take everything important. That had included her high school and college diplomas and her birth certificate.
Her diplomas were there, along with her income tax paperwork going back three years — as if she'd ever need that. She'd never be audited. Not on her minuscule teacher's salary. The IRS had far bigger fish to go after.
She'd found her social security card, but what she'd been looking for — the birth certif icate — eluded her. She even remembered holding it in her hand and thinking how she'd better put it in a safe place, but she'd be damned if she could remember where that safe place was.
It should have been right there with everything else. Why wasn't it?
Her parents were going to flip.
They'd offered to keep her important papers for her, locked up in their fireproof document safe. Instead Phoenix had insisted she would be responsible for holding on to her own things. She'd taken it, against their advice, and now she'd lost it.
Her father had always said she should be more organized. How everything important should be in labeled folders inside a locked, preferably fireproof filing cabinet.
That was his way, not hers. They were different people and they operated completely differently. Just as she hadn't picked up even a little bit of her mother's perfect housekeeping skills, her father's organizational skills had also skipped her generation.
Phoenix huffed out a breath in frustration. How could she lose anything in this tiny apartment?
Her place wasn't small in a bad way, just cozy and quaint. She loved the home she'd created and the space she'd chosen to create it in. From the big windows that offered a view of the park across the street to the location, close enough to town so she could walk to school and the coffee shop on nice days.
Most important of all, it was all hers.
Besides, it was what she could comfortably afford right now on her teacher's salary — living in California wasn't cheap — but the point was, her place was too damn small to lose something in it.
It was also too small for the big, not to mention ugly, metal filing cabinet her father would have her get if she'd listened to him — or if she admitted to him that she'd lost her birth certificate.
Phoenix liked her own filing system. She kept her important papers in a big floral hatbox on the floor in the corner of the room. What didn't fit in there went into a few more decorative rectangular boxes. They were sold by stores for photo storage, but she used them for paperwork and was very proud of her decorating savvy in repurposing the items for her own unique use.
The most pressing things that required attention, such as bills that needed to be paid, went into the wicker basket on top of the hatbox. She had a system and it worked fine for her — usually.
She had to find that certificate, and not just because it was an important piece of identification. She needed it or there'd be no passport. Without a passport, there'd be no trip to Aruba during midwinter break with her friend Kim.
That was enough inspiration to find the birth certificate, but on top of her trip and her need for official ID for any number of reasons in the future, if she had to admit to her parents that she'd lost it, she'd never hear the end of it.
Sometimes it was painfully obvious she'd been adopted, and she wasn't talking about her blond hair and blue eyes being the opposite of her father's dark brown hair and eyes and her mother's chestnut hair and green eyes.
When it came to her temperament, her interests, her easygoing nature, she couldn't be more different. She loved her parents to death, but she was nothing like them.
The differences just proved the nature versus nurture debate. She could grow up with parents who had every aspect of their lives planned, organized, and compartmentalized, but somewhere deep in her DNA she carried the genes that made her the opposite of the couple who had raised her.
Usually being a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of girl worked for her. Not today.
This was too much to deal with alone. She needed backup.
Crawling toward her phone, on the floor just past the mess, Phoenix stretched and grabbed the cell before flopping back onto her butt amid the explosion of papers.
Phoenix dialed the number and waited for Kim to pick up.
Bracing for her friend's displeasure, Phoenix drew in a breath. "We have a problem."
"What kind of a problem?" The wariness was clear in Kim's tone.
There was no way around it. She had to 'fess up. "I can't find my birth certificate."
"Um, okay. And that's a problem because ...?"
"I need it to get a passport so I can go with you to Aruba. That's why."
"You don't have a passport?" Her friend sounded shocked.
"No, I don't have a passport. I've barely traveled outside of California, never mind leaving the country to go anywhere I needed a passport." Phoenix sighed.
Kim was missing the point. Her lack of a passport wasn't as big a problem as her current lack of the proper identification she needed to get a passport.
"Don't worry about it. You have plenty of time to get a passport. We're not going away for months."
"But I read it can take months to get a passport. And that's not the problem anyway. Didn't you hear me? The problem is that to apply for a passport I need my birth certificate, which I can't find. What do I do about my birth certificate?" Phoenix was ready to scream as her frustration mounted.
How could Kim, whom Phoenix knew was an intelligent woman, not understand the enormity of the situation?
"Oh, well, that's easy. You just have to send away for a duplicate birth certificate."
Excerpted from Midnight Heat by CAT JOHNSON. Copyright © 2016 Cat Johnson. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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
Are you kidding me, what a terrible way to end this book. Please have another one ready soon!
The first I have read in this series, I found Cat Johnson’s writing made me want to know more and grab the earlier titles. A bit of a slow starter, I had real issues with the lack of sense and direction that Phoenix displayed early on. Fortunately, the backstory that was provided, as well as her relatively young age, helped to make those choices easier to understand. But, early on she just felt like a runaway horse, just moving in any direction but the one that made sense. Justin was a bit more understandable: family pressure and the loss of his brother in Afghanistan two years earlier helped to explain him a bit better, and make his need for a connection and something different was clear. There’s much more in his reluctance to share than just being stoic: the grief for him is still unresolved. It took me some time to feel as if this story wasn’t a mix of a new couple and a conclusion from earlier books: so grabbing a real connection to Phoenix and Justin as a couple was pushed to the back burner as more is discovered about how these two came to be together. Once they did start trusting in one another, their attraction and fit felt more logical to me. While I’m still not convinced there is a happy ever after in this couple, but the story did bring these two, with personal connections that were slow to reveal themselves into a happy for now. I didn’t dislike the story, and while it does work on its own fairly well, I do think that reading the earlier books in the series will help your enjoyment of this one. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
The book seemed very unfinished
Ties into the series nicely
cat john son always writes a story you don't want to end. this one is no different. two souls on the way to anywhere, meet and share a ride. i'm not going to spoil the story, but it is a story you will relive over and over....til the next one cat writes.
4.5 star I was pulled right into this story. The story has laughs, secrets, grief, depression, and heartbreak. If you have not already read the below I recommend reading them first: Midnight Ride (Midnight Cowboys #1) Midnight Wrangler (Midnight Cowboys #2) This is Phoenix and Justin’s story. With the anniversary of his brother’s death coming up Justin needs to get away for a while. His boss gives him a chance at a road trip to clear his mind. While on the road he meets Phoenix. Phoenix is on a mission to see Justin’s boss’s girlfriend. After her car breaks down Justin agrees to drive back home with him. She is keeping secrets but they have to travel for a few days so he has time to get the secrets from her. When the secrets come out will he be surprised or will he have figured it out? Can Justin trust that the secret will not hurt the people he cares about? Can he keep quiet so Phoenix can tell the secrets herself? How will everyone feel when the secret comes out? When Justin’s mother needs him will he push Phoenix away in order to take care of his mother? Can Phoenix have Justin forever or is it all over? I loved these characters and also the side characters. I felt I was able to connect with the characters and the story was a great read. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next story from this author.
Attraction building, friendship learning, differences mingling and the gradual journey to the right direction. The romance and attraction between Phoenix and Justin was not slap you in the face right out the gate. There was a chance to get to know each of them and see there relationship build into something worth holding on to at the end of the journey. I have to say that with this read. I want more from the Midnight Cowboys. I will have to return to book one and two of this series. I found the characters captivating. I found fault with Phoenix which grew into something more as the read progressed. I quickly related to Justin. **This ARC was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I have read a lot of Cat Johnson's books and they keep getting better and better. I was looking for something to read, so I decided to look at my back-log of ARC's and spotted MIDNIGHT WRANGLER. Read it and loved it (review to come soon!) and went in search of the next. I was very excited when I saw that it was going to be Justin and Rohn and Bonnie's daughter that was given up for adoption at birth. I was not disappointed in the least! Justin was a great character in the previous book so I was anticipating this one would be rather enjoyable. I wasn't wrong, but what made it not just enjoyable, but awesome, was Phoenix. From the word go she was so lovable and endearing to me-someone who I could see as one of my friends. Unlike her "perfect" parents, Phoenix is scatter-brained, unorganized, and feels like she doesn't do a lot of things right. She knew she was adopted and struggled with her stresses of living up to her parents' imaginary expectations she set for herself. Wanting to go out of the country on a relaxing trip with her best friend, she needs a passport but can't find her birth certificate. After applying for a new one, someone in the vital records office messed up and sent her original certificate that listed her birth mother, Bonnie, and not her adopted mother. Of course, anyone at this point would do what humans are naturally inclined to do...snoop! I was so excited for Phoenix to meet Bonnie and Rohn. You have no idea. I think since I knew what good people Bonnie and Rohn are (loved me some Rohn), I knew this would be a great, unexpected reunion. It had me tearing up. I loved it! And we can't forget sweet, sexy Justin. He was weary of Phoenix at first, but eventually softened and let her come along back home with him. He was there for her when Phoenix needed it. I loved the way they were brought together and the pace. The time alone in the car helped them get to know each other, which I think falls through the crack sometimes in books as of late, and make their affection and love for each other more genuine. Now, Justin is battling some issues with his home life, himself, and I wanted to help him out any way I could and give him a hug and tell him it'll get better. He was a great partner for Phoenix. Oh and there is this part in the book where him and Rohn share a little moment and it was so nice and sweet for those two men and it made me love them both all the more! Sexy nights + sweet love = an addicting read! MIDNIGHT HEAT was a great addition to the Midnight Cowboys series. The secondary characters help make this series pleasurable. I can't wait to read the next in the series!
The third installment in Cat's addictive sexy cowboy series with a soap opera feel. "I've wanted you since Texas..." MIDNIGHT HEAT by Cat Johnson is my favorite installment yet in the author's Midnight Cowboys series It's sooooo good! When I read MIDNIGHT WRANGLER, Justin was a favorite supporting character. I hoped that he would get his own HEA soon. I was thrilled to see that his story was next! This is the story of sexy cowboy Justin Skaggs aka Mr. Oklahoma Sex on Wheels and California school teacher Phoenix Montagno. Both Justin and Phoenix were exceptional characters. Justin works at Rohn's ranch; Rohn found his HEA in the last book. Justin's life had morphed to one of survival. He felt that he had no life and some days, he struggled just to get through. He's still grieving for his brother who died in Afghanistan two years ago. He is responsible for his mother who has gone off the deep end. He has no 'me' moments and certainly no time for anyone else in his life, much less a girlfriend. Because of the way he cares for his family, he shows what he is made of. He has a good heart and is a good man, just down on his luck. He needed a break; and I'm glad he's merited his own story. Phoenix knew she had been adopted all her life. Her adoptive parents loved her but she was different from them and had always wondered about the parents who had given her up. But, until she lost her birth certificate and had to request another, she didn't know her real mother's name as her adoption records had been sealed. It was serendipity that there was an administrative mistake with her replacement certificate. That slipup was fortuitous because it initiated her quest to find her birth mother... and she met Justin in the process. Phoenix was adorable. She wasn't the most organized person, but she was innocent, strong-willed and utterly charming. This couple clicked. Their relationship was sweet and hot and they were completely endearing together. I recently discovered this author at the Coastal Magic Convention. I came home and inhaled the second and third books in this series, one right after the other. AND now I have the first book on my nightstand, so I'll be reading/reviewing it soon! If you enjoy sexy cowboy romances with a soap opera feel, I highly recommend Cat Johnson's Midnight Cowboys series! My full review will be posted at Reading Between The Wines Book Club. Please check it out there! 4 1/2 Wine Glasses!
The first portion of this story, a good 25% of it deal with how Justin and Phoenix meet at a house in Arizona when he lives in Oklahoma and she lives in California. Due to the time spent separately, the story feels a little rushed, which on one hand makes sense as they are only together for 2 days, but on the other makes it difficult to be totally invested in the relationship they are building. The author handles this in what feels like a realistic way and ends the story on a "Happily for Now" instead of a HEA...and this both works and feels a little unsatisfying at the same time. The story is part of a series and my guess is that their relationship will continue to play out it the other books in the series, but it is less satisfying when a character in one books gets their HEA in another. The book was well written, and the characters seemed real with reactions and responses that were realistic. It is definitely worth a read, especially if you are looking for a romance that actually feels a little more "real" than some others. ***Free Copy provided by NetGalley and the Publisher***
Strangers, secrets, seduction on a long road trip – can it lead to something more than a fling or are the secrets so big that they outweigh everything else? Justin seems overwhelmed with the hand life dealt him. He is doing his best, or he thinks he is, but he knows that both he and his mother need something to get their lives back on track…thus the road trip for Justin. Phoenix had a stroke of luck, she hopes, when a document that arrives in the mail opens the door to secret information from a quarter of a century ago. Justin and Phoenix meet, realize they need to get to the same destination and share the journey. Well written, full of angst, and yet…I never really connected with 100% with Justin or Phoenix. Justin is caring, can be charming and VERY Responsible. Phoenix seems career oriented, sweet and a bit scattered from time to time. I can see why they were the people they were and why there would be physical attraction but some of their story made me wonder. I have a feeling that I have not experienced what they both had so THINK I would have handled things differently but then…everyone is different so they may be like hundreds of others out there. I wondered if Kim, Phoenix’s friend, will be making a trip to Oklahoma and meeting Colter or if each of them will find their own HEA. I also wonder if Justin’s and Bonnie’s mothers will find romance before the series ends. Happy for now books are okay but I guess I prefer a happily ever after ending. Hopefully all of the characters in this series will get that when the last book is published. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the copy to read and review. 3.5 Stars
Midnight Heat by Cat Johnson is a totally awesome read. In this well written book you'll find amazing, lovable characters. Ms Johnson has provided enough twists and turns through Phoenix and Justin's story to keep you mesmerized. Midnight Heat has all the drama, humor and sizzle you expect in a Cat Johnson book, this book does not disappoint. I loved Midnight Heat and look forward to reading more from Cat Johnson in the future. Midnight Heat is book 3 in the Midnight Cowboys Series, but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I received an ARC of this book at the Lancaster Lady Jane's Salon.
Midnight Heat is the third book in the Midnight series and finishes the story first started in Book 2, Midnight Wrangler. I don't want to give away spoilers, but if your read Midnight Wrangler first, Midnight Heat you will understand a lot more about the characters in this story. Justin works as a ranch hand, while supporting his depressed mother. He lost his father as a teenager, and his older brother in Afghanistan. He decides to take a vacation and agrees to help his boss's fiancee by moving her furniture to Oklahoma. Phoenix lost her birth certificate and learns the identity of her birth mother by mistake. She decides to see if she can meet her before the school year starts, and begins a road trip to Arizona. Phoenix's car dies and she meets Justin in a Bar. He helps her get if fixed and find a rental. They don't expect to see each other again, but fate has something else in mind... I love Cat Johnson because she writes strong sensitive heroes that just melt my heart. Phoenix was well written and a good match for Justin's serious character. I liked the pacing and plot of the book and look forward to her next novel! I was given free copy for an honest review.
Phoenix Montagno is trying to prove to her parents that she is more than capable of standing on her own two feet, and show them that all they taught her growing up actually sunk in by now being a responsible adult. All seems to be going well for her, she has her own apartment, is paying her own bills, has a good job, things couldn't be any better... or so she thought. When she sits down to sort through her mildly organized files, to locate her birth certificate, for a upcoming trip she is planning she discovers that wasn't quite as organized as she originally thought...it's gone missing! Panic immediately sets in, she can't tell her parents, because that would show them that she is incapable of handling important things, so she calls her best friend, who suggests she just place an order for a replacement. So, she does just that, never expecting it to completely change the course of her newly independent life... Justin Skaggs is barely holding on by a thread, with the impending anniversary of his brother's death, and his mom's impending melt down because of it he's really starting to feel the pressure, and it has him in dire need of a little break from his own reality. So, when his boss offers him a little side job of traveling to Arizona to move his fiances belongings back to Oklahoma, Justin jumps at the chance and figures it will be the perfect little getaway. The long trip will give him time to relax, think, and get himself mentally prepared for the impending anniversary. What he doesn't expect to find though is a beautiful girl searching for answers...answers that he just maybe able to help her find. This was my second visit to this series, and I have to say that this time around was just as enjoyable as the first. I have been anxiously awaiting for the opportunity to read Justin's story and I have to say he was DEFINITELY worth the wait, he swooped in and stole my heart right from the start!! Barely a paragraph into the story and I was hooked, and left with an insatiable urge to know more about these two well crafted characters, I got so wrapped up in their story that I totally lost track of time and ended up staying up well past my bedtime just to finish the book!! And, after finishing it I am certain of two things: 1. Ms. Johnson DEFINITELY knows her cowboys, and 2. This book has bestseller written all over it!! I highly recommend you acquaint yourself with the men of the Midnight Cowboys series, they are destined to steal your heart and satisfy all your reading needs...and then some!! ARC requested through NetGalley and kindly provided Kensington Books-Zebra in exchange for honest and unbiased review.
A young cowboy nearly sacrifices everything for his momma Midnight Heat is the third book in the Midnight Cowboys series by Cat Johnson but it can be read as a stand alone. However, if you're anything like me when it comes to book series you will want to read at least book #2 before this one. Book 2 gives you a lot of background on very strong, a little more than secondary, characters in Midnight Heat. Justin's brother died two years ago and both he and his mother are having trouble moving on. His mother has been unable to function normally so Justin gave up his own place to stay with her. He is feeling the pressure of being the sole breadwinner and the need to give up any kind of social life. At less than 30 years old he feels more like 50. Phoenix is a disorganized first-grade teacher. Due to a clerical error she sets out on a journey where she meets Justin. I really can't say more than that because of spoilers. This was a very entertaining and relatively quick read for me. (Amazon says it is 320 pages.) Justin and Phoenix have an adventure with bumps along the way to their HFN, pretty normal for a romance. What was different about this story for me was not just the concern that Justin has for his mother, but the fact that he was willing to sacrifice his happiness for her. While this seemed a bit strange to Phoenix it was only because he didn't explain to her what was going on. So Justin is not some namby-pamby momma's boy, he is a concerned son. If I were to criticize anything it would be the ending. While there is an HFN I wish there had been just a little bit more. I hope Cat Johnson has a book planned for Colton, the third hired hand who works for Rohn on the Double L Ranch. *****Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions***** I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I loved this one! Justin has always been one of my favorite characters in this series and it was fantastic to finally get his story. I don't want to give too much away and spoil the story so let me just say I really enjoyed how the author set this one up and how well it was handled. Phoenix and Justin worked great together and I thought it was great how things worked out for everyone. Definitely a book I would recommend.
4.5 - "I've wanted you since Texas." Stars! I am a massive fan of the Midnight Cowboys series, the first two books offered up stellar romances with slightly different and very underused tropes. Although Cat Johnson went the more traditional route in the coupling and main trope themes with Midnight Heat it was good to finally get to know Justin Skaggs on a more intimate level! I loved that Rohn and Bonnie (book two; Midnight Wrangler), played a pivotal part in the story between Justin and Phoenix as well, and that Colton and Tyler also figure into the plot as things progress. I think that is one of the main reasons this series has grabbed me to such an extent, as although each book focuses on a separate couple everyone else stories continue to play out in the background. If two people could survive a road trip, normal dating would be a breeze. This story is definitely a road trip with a difference, and I’ll be honest and say I thought I was going to struggle a little with Phoenix’s character at the start of the book, but I liked the way the author actually gave her more depth and maturity as she travelled with Justin to Oklahoma, and how the connection between them grew the more as she learned more about her past, and told Justin more about her reasons for looking up Bonnie Martin, in the first place. Complicated didn’t even begin to describe this situation. This is definitely a slow-burn romance, which has been the case with all the books in the series so far, but the story flows so well that it didn’t feel that way, the author does an outstanding job in building the attraction, and the tension simmers between Justin and Phoenix all through their journey. But their time has a definite expiration date due to Phoenix living and working in a different state, add to that the issues that Justin is dealing with in his family life and it just makes you root for them to get it together as a couple all the more. "I’m going to be here for you… I promise. I’m too interested in this to abandon you." I am really looking forward to seeing where the author takes the series, with Colton left to have his story told, I am a little sad because I hope that it isn’t the end, hopefully Cat will find another ranch in the vicinity full of hot single cowboys that she can pair off in future books. ARC provided via Netgalley, and it was my absolute pleasure to provide the above honest review.