Book #2 of Hot Cowboy Nights
Two wounded hearts...
Janice Combes has two loves: bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect-until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.
Daring to dream again...
Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good-roping, branding, bucking broncs, riding bulls-but there's a void he can't seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he joins the Marines determined to prove himself...but there's a certain cowgirl he can't forget.
When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he finds Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams have turned to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?
Hot Cowboy Nights Series:
Slow Hand (Book 1)
Rough Rider (Book 2)
Sharp Shootin' Cowboy (Book 3)
Praise for Victoria Vane:
"Erotic and sexy...absolutely marvelous." -Library Journal, Top E-Book Romance of 2012
"The Mistress of Sensuality does it again!!" -Swept Away By Romance Blog
"With Ms Vane's trademark prose and touches of humor-this is once again a brilliant story by a gifted writer." -Romantic Historical Lovers Reviews
About the Author
Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of the Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers Goodreads group and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. She lives on the east coast of Florida.
Read an Excerpt
Seated on the top rail above the bull pen, Janice watched with growing impatience as the final riders finished. Unlike most of the girls she'd grown up with, she'd never had much interest in can chasing. Sure there was good money in it, but she just didn't see the challenge in running circles around barrels.
Bulls, on the other hand-massively muscled, notoriously unpredictable, and dangerously aggressive-were her passion. She'd been raised with cattle and had fed bawling calves from the earliest time she could remember, but bucking bulls provided her family's real living.
While the final scores were announced and the barrels cleared from the arena, Janice hopped down from her perch. Time to get back to work. Although she could have used some help tonight, there was none to be had. Ready or not, she was Combes' Bucking Bulls' new chute boss. Janice walked the length of the pens, inspecting the animals and watching for any sign of trouble as the other stock hands prodded and loaded their animals into their respective chutes.
There were at least two dozen riders already surrounding the bull pens. Some were shooting the shit, and others were immersed in their preparations. Janice looked casually over the group for the one cowboy who made her pulse race. He was one of the early draws, but Dirk Knowlton hadn't made his appearance yet.
Although he'd never looked sideways at her, Janice had followed Dirk's rodeo career since high school, when they'd competed on the same team. He'd ridden rough stock while she'd competed in breakaway roping. She'd always enjoyed working with ropes and livestock. Roping required speed, skill, and near-perfect coordination between horse and rider-practical skills that were invaluable on a working ranch-and Janice was nothing if not practical. She'd been real good at it too. Probably could have gotten a scholarship or even gone pro if her family's needs hadn't kept her tied to the ranch.
In the end, she'd gone to work full-time for her father, and Dirk had won a full scholarship to Montana State. She'd run into him on occasion since then, mainly during branding season when all the ranches helped each other out, but he'd never taken notice of her then either. He'd been too wrapped up in Rachel Carson. Along with half the boys at Twin Bridges High, he'd only had eyes for Rachel. Gangly Janice had never stood a chance against the pert and pretty, blue-eyed blond.
Since graduation she'd rarely run into Dirk, usually no more than a hat-tipping at the ranching co-op or the stock sale, but now that she was working the rodeos, their paths had once more crossed-not that it made any difference. Little had changed. Rachel was still the rodeo queen, leading the grand entry glittering with rhinestones, while Janice looked on from the rough stock chutes, mired ankle-deep in manure and smelling like the livestock.
Even now that she'd finally filled out in all the right places, she was either completely tongue-tied or jabbered like an idiot whenever Dirk came around, which was every day for the past week. It wasn't just his rugged good looks that made her palms sweat-there was something about Dirk, besides his long and lanky physique, that put him head and shoulders above the rest.
With her heart lurching into her throat, Janice watched as the cowboy of her dreams swaggered up to the holding pens. Clad in ass-hugging denim with leather chaps flapping, a white Stetson shadowing his ice-blue eyes, and a rigging bag slung over one broad shoulder, he threw his rope over the corral panel in preparation for his ride.
Now or never, Janice. He'll be called up any minute.
With her heart hammering, she inhaled for courage and licked her lips with a tongue that suddenly felt as dry as sandpaper. "I watched you on Outlaw Josie Wales in the second go 'round yesterday," she blurted.
"Why thank you, ma'am." Dirk tipped his hat with a mile-wide grin.
"You about spurred his head off," she continued. "It was one of the best rides I ever did see."
Grady Garrison leaned over from his perch on the adjoining pen and spat a wad of dip. "Good thing Pretty Boy scored so high on the broncs, 'cause he sure as shit won't make the cut on the bulls."
"That so?" Dirk paused in prepping his rope, his eyes meeting Grady's for only a second. "Funny, as I recall it, just last week in Red Lodge I made the whistle while your ass hit the dirt." He went back to work, crushing the lump of rosin and wrapping his gloved hand around the bull rope.
Grady jumped down from the pen with narrowed, steel-colored eyes. "I'm still going into the short round with the high score. You're delusional as shit if you think to beat me." His shoulders were thrown back and his thumbs hooked in his belt loops-the ones that supported the huge Collegiate Champion Bull Rider buckle.
Any stranger who didn't know them as longtime rodeo buddies would surely think fists were about to fly, but Janice suspected it was just pre-ride posturing. Cowboys, as a rule, were ridiculously competitive. Still, she bit her lip at the tension of rising testosterone.
"Maybe you're right, Grady, but a closed mouth gathers no boots."
"What're you sayin'? You think I'm all talk?"
Dirk shrugged. "I think a lotta rodeo legends are made by a flannelmouth on a bar stool. So maybe you'll wanna put your money where that big fat mouth is?"
She wondered how far they'd want to take this pissing contest. Dirk was a decent bull rider, but the smaller and wiry Grady was one of the best. Unfortunately, like a lot of cowboys, he too often let his mouth run off, and his ego get in the way of his good sense.
"All right, Pretty Boy. How 'bout the lowest score on the next ride buys the drinks tonight? And none of that cheap shit either."
Dirk stood up straight, rolled his neck and shoulders, and then extended his hand. "You're on."
Grady accepted it with a laugh. Janice breathed a sigh of relief. The announcer gave the final scores on the barrel racing and then broadcast the imminent start of the bull riding.
Grady puffed up like a fighting cock as soon as audience attention swiveled to their end of the arena. "Now the real rodeo begins."
"Plenty of people watch the other events too," Janice protested. "The broncs are my personal favorite." She darted a glance to Dirk. "Classier than the bull riding."
"Bullshit," Grady scoffed. "You know as well as I do that the bulls are what eighty percent of these people come for. No one really gives a rip about all the warm-up acts, though team ropin's probably the worst." He looked to Janice with an air of expectancy.
"Don't ask why, Janice," Dirk warned. "It's his worst joke-and the one he always uses when he's itching for a bar fight."
"Oh yeah?" Janice couldn't stifle her grin. "Why's that, Grady?"
Grady smirked. "Because team ropin's a lot like jacking off, Sweet Cheeks-kinda fun to do, but no one wants to watch it."
Dirk rolled his eyes and Janice shook her head with a derisive snort. Grabbing her flank ropes and hook, she methodically moved down the row of massively muscled, shifting, snorting bovines. Janice spoke in low, calm tones as she handled each animal. She knew every bull in the circuit by name and endeavored to treat each one with the care and respect they deserved. To her annoyance, Grady followed her, jabbering on about nothing, while she flanked her bulls. It was damned irritating how the cocky SOB refused to be ignored.
After finishing with Sudden Impact, Janice double-checked the bulls in the pens. When she returned, Dirk was standing on the platform above Magnum Force, armored with his Kevlar vest. "You the gunner?" she asked.
"Yup." Dirk nodded. "Drew this big bastard. New one, isn't he?" He jerked his head toward the massive Brahma shifting restlessly in his pen.
"Yeah. He's new all right."
"What happened to that ol' sonofabitch, The Enforcer? Did you retire him?"
"Hell no. Daddy sold him. Pocketed a big chunk of change and still had enough left to buy two replacements that he found down at this shithole farm in Arkansas. Mag here is one of 'em." She nodded to the bull.
While her father had made a respectable name in stock contracting, she'd always felt his methods were a bit hit-or-miss. He'd struck it lucky enough times to stay in the business, but would never make it to the top because he was too quick to sell his best bulls for cash in hand. To Janice's frustration, he'd never focused on the business of breeding his own stock. They had the land and the know-how, so it seemed a wasted opportunity.
Janice, on the other hand, saw a future in bucking bulls. While traditional rodeo was dying out, struggling just to break even, the new bull-riding associations were packing 'em in, even in the big cities. It was the new "extreme" sport. Breeding the rankest bulls for the toughest cowboys was her dream-what she was secretly working toward. She just needed the right foundation bull. She'd already wondered if Mag might be the one. If he made it big on this circuit, she was determined to buy him out for breeding-no matter the cost.
"I detect a pattern here. Outlaw Josie Wales? Magnum Force?" Dirk chuckled. "Your ol' man's a real Clint Eastwood fan, isn't he?"
"Yeah. He's always named his rough stock after favorite movies but the primest of the lot are called after Clint Eastwood flicks. Be careful with this one, Dirk. I think Mag just might be the rankest bull we've ever had. He's no chute fighter, but once that gate flies open, he's unpredictable as hell."
"Oh yeah? If you've got any other secrets to share, I'm all ears."
Grady snorted and spat another black wad of dip. "You so scared of eatin' dirt that you're asking the stock hands for lessons?"
"Damned straight, Grady. Her father owns the bull and I'm one ride away from winning the overall."
"Shit. If you're so hard up for teachin', you shoulda just watched me ride that badass." He jerked his head at Texas Tornado, the notorious bull he'd ridden for a high score of eighty-six points.
"Your style wouldn't cut it with Mag, Grady," Janice interjected.
"Oh yeah?" Grady pulled out another chuck of wintergreen Skoal and stuffed it under his lower lip. "There ain't a bull in the world that can't be rode, sweetheart-"
"Or a cowboy that can't be throwed," Janice finished with a smirk of her own. Although one of the top contenders, Grady needed to be taken down a peg or two and Janice hoped Dirk would be the one to do it.
"And just how many bulls have you rode now, sweet pants?"
"None," she shot back. "But that doesn't mean I'm ignorant. Maybe you forgot I grew up with these animals. I know when I load 'em what kinda mood they're in and most times how they're gonna act."
"That may be, but all bets are off once you're actually forking the SOB with the flank rope on."
Janice shrugged. "I'm just sayin' look out if you ever draw this one, Grady. Usually the bulls clue you in on what they're thinking, but not this one. When you assume he's gonna spin into your hand, he blows, or he looks like he's fading right and then ducks off left, or maybe takes a sudden nosedive and snaps his head like ol' Bodacious did. He's smart as hell and he'll set you up for a big hurt in a heartbeat. This bull's gonna rearrange a lot of cowboy faces in his new career."
"Then it's too bad Grady didn't draw him this go round," Dirk taunted his buddy. "Rearranging his ugly mug could only be an improvement."
Grady grabbed his crotch. "It ain't my face the buckle bunnies are after, Pretty Boy."
Janice ignored the vulgar exchange. "Mag's an ornery bastard if you yank a foot on him. Ride him too aggressive and I promise he'll eat you up. If you don't want to be the first one to kiss that bull, Dirk, you'd do well to spare the spurs."
Dirk attached the bell to the rope and gave her a crooked smile that revealed a deep left-side dimple. "I hear you loud and clear."
Every bucking horse and bull presented its own challenge, and Mag was new and an unknown entity. A savvy rider studied his draw before his ride and talked to the stock hands. She was glad Dirk was willing to listen.
"Why all this concern about that dink?" Grady muttered, jerking his head in Dirk's direction.
"Maybe 'cause he actually asked my advice."
"How 'bout I give you some advice, Sweet Cheeks? Don't waste yourself waitin' around on Dirk. Everyone knows he has it bad for Rachel. They've been playing it hot and heavy for years. 'Sides, there's better cowboys willing to keep company with a sweet thing like you."
"Better cowboys?" She let her gaze flicker over Grady for a fraction of a second. "Like who?"
Grady grinned big, broad, and bad. "Why, yours truly, of course."
"Really?" She cracked a smile despite herself. "Does anyone besides you and your mama share this grandiose opinion of Grady Garrison?"
"Oh yeah, baby doll. Ask any buckle bunny from here to Houston."
"That so?" Her smile instantly faded. "Then I ain't interested."
"Maybe I just need the right woman to make me wanna settle down."
Janice snorted outright. "What a crock! Does that line of bull really work for you?"
He grinned shamelessly. "More times than I could count."
"You're the one who's wasting your breath, Grady. I don't sleep around, especially not with horndog cowboys."
Ignoring her racing pulse, Janice double-checked the flank while Grady hooked Dirk's rope around the animal's massive barrel. A moment later, Dirk climbed up and over the chute, then quietly lowered himself onto the bull's back. He warmed the rosin-coated rope before tightening it around his bull and then tied himself on. He'd passed on a protective helmet to keep his white Stetson instead.
"Who said anything about mattress dancing?" Grady smirked. "I'm only offering you a drink after the rodeo-Dirk will be buying of course."
"I wouldn't be so sure."
"Then how 'bout another wager? One just between you and me?"
"What kind of wager?" She knew better than to commit to anything Grady came up with without hearing all the details first.
"If I beat his ride, you'll go to the party with me after the rodeo."
"Isn't it a private event, only for the team members?"
"Yeah," he replied. "But I'm on the team and I'm inviting you."
"I'll think about it, Grady." Janice eyed the bull, hoping to hide the sudden flush in her face. Mag appeared deceptively docile, but there was a dangerous fire blazing in his eyes. Her gut told her the bull was gonna blow.
As the daughter of a stock contractor, she'd seen more rodeos than she could remember and more wrecks than she could ever forget, but no matter how hard she tried, she'd never become desensitized to the gory aftermath of any bull ride gone bad-usually resulting in lots of blood and mangled bones twisted at unnatural angles.
Up to this point, the finals had been surprisingly free of injuries, but the bull riding was where most of them happened. The last seconds in the chute never failed to send Janice's heart into her throat. She'd kept a close tally of Dirk's points and knew just covering this bull was all he needed. She hoped he wouldn't slough off her advice about spurring. Her fingers closed tightly around the cold steel of the chute panel as Dirk raised his right arm and nodded at the gateman.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is in the $2.99 or below... NOT ? ? ? ? WHATS UP WITH THIS? NEED TO CHANGE THE BOOK COST? HAPPING WAY TO EE
CRUDE profanity over and over and more than once in a sentence. There may be a story in there somewhere; but, I guess I am a prude as I do not use these words and certainly do not enjoy reading "F" and "MF" words over and over so I did not get pass the first few pages. Wish I could get it removed and a refund. Is this a possibility? One reader wrote: "rough language." I suggest CRUDE language.
I wanted to read the book because I fell in love with the cover, and you can judge this book by its cover! This is Dirk Knowlton! Absolutely fantastic writing, terrific characters, a fabulous story!
I imagine reading this book and riding a bull are a lot alike, exciting, intense, an adrenaline rush and then it is over to soon, except I don’t worry about any of the danger. An excellent read. Dirk is one sexy cowboy and he and Janice both had a lot of baggage to contend with, that being said the story had me hooked and the chemistry between these two is hot. An all-around great read, looking forward to more in the series.
3 Stars – Reunited…But It Wasn’t All So Good Beaten down by having lived with a self-centered unfaithful husband, Janice Combes is finally free to make a decent life for herself and her son. She returns to Twin Bridges, Montana to scrape together the means to support her family. Life sure didn’t turn out how she’d once dreamed. Once considered a nice girl with hopes of taking over her father’s ranch - she lives paycheck-to-paycheck - using her body for maximum effect to garner betters tips as a waitress. Janice isn’t the only one with shattered dreams. Dirk Knowlton returns to his hometown carrying mental and physical scars. Once, he sought the thrill of riding bulls. His brief fling with Janice was enough for him to know he wasn’t ready to settle down. Feeling the call to join the military, Dirk served his country, but he does not leave the service unscathed. His family and friends don’t recognize the bitter man he’s become. Dirk may be different, but he’s trying to build upon a new dream. Janice and Dirk took different paths ten years ago. There paths cross again. They’ll have a second chance to rebuild a new dream together. Reunited and it feels so good Reunited 'cause we understood There's one perfect fit And, sugar, this one is it We both are so excited 'cause we're reunited, hey, hey - Peaches and Herb, “Reunited” “Rough Rider” is a steamy second-chance romance with two survivors. The hero, Dirk, survives war and its horrors. The heroine, Janice, survives a heartbreaking marriage. There were times when this contemporary romance felt oh-so-good, but it wasn’t ‘one perfect fit.’ Half the book is spent in the past. We meet the people Janice and Dirk once used to be and see their chemistry. We learn a lot about professional bull riding. They make their choices and we see their reasons. Then, they come back for the second half different people. Dirk may appear the most affected, but it’s Janice that seems the most changed. Their relationship moves fast, but the shift from the first half to the second half of the book felt too abrupt. Janice and Dirk’s characters changed so much, but the people and events that changed them are merely implied, as the focus of the first half is about his restlessness and her crush. Their choices changed them and it would have been nice to spend more time getting reacquainted with their new selves rather than a past that could have been wrapped up in a few chapters. Many readers have loved this book. “Slow Hand,” the first book in the series, was fabulous! Attribute this rating and review to reader preference. The third book looks very promising, so while this story didn’t amaze this particular reader it does not discourage. ARC compliments of Sourcebooks via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
Rough Rider is a sweet romance that builds over a decade. This is the love story of Janice Combes and Dirk Knowlton. They definitely had a slow building romance that life just got in the way. Changed by war, strife and hard times both Janice and Dirk find themselves back where it all began. The become very different and wary people trying to find the connection they once shared. Dirk was a jerk in Vane's first book, so I was thrilled to see how he became suched a hard person. Their story truly was heart wrenching, so many times you could see them making really wrong choices but when push came to shove they found each other once again. Vane provides an easily read, heartfelt romance with enough steam to make it sizzle. You can't help but cheer for the HEA these two life warry people deserve. It is a perfect romance story to warm you on a cold winter's night.
4 stars Author Victoria Vane is truly a talented writer; her ability to bring to life the characters, emotions and stories are perfect. I have the want to go to Montana to find my own Rough Rider. Janice Combes has been in love with Dirk Knowlton since their high school days. But Janice was always just the friend to all the guys. And why would the hotness guy at school be interested in plain jane Janice when there was a pretty womanly blond waiting for him? As Janice takes on the job of handle for the families’ bulls and living a life with the guys at the rodeo events, she gets to spend a lot of time with Dirk and Grady. Grady is one of the top bull riders on the circuit and Dirk’s bunkmate during the weeks of travel. Grady is very much a player but has his eyes set on Janice. Dirk does not like this one bit but what can he do? Life on the rodeo continues but the feelings that Dirk has inside of him for Janice, he believes are just a caring for a friend. He does not want her to get hurt by Grady or any other man for that matter. But he will become the one to hurt her the most. After one faith night of living it up, Dirk ends up at Janice’s trailer. He has no where else to go and she was the safest place for him to be or so he thought. As they fight the chemistry between them, Janice decides this is the time to just take what she has always wanted. Dirk is so wrapped up in the vanilla scent of her that he lets it all go. One night. He once told her that boys and girls could not be just friends. It was the best night of Janice’s life. But as life would have it, events happen to cause Janice to grab hold of the first person she sees, Grady. After years of living and learning, life has away of coming full circle. Can Janice and Dirk get a second chance? Will they be able to finally admit what has been between for years? Isn’t there always away to put love first and let the rest follow?
This novel is absolutely unforgettable. Vane grabbed my attention with the fast paced, realistic story, and kept me hooked throughout. Her eloquent yet raw and real writing allows readers to really connect with the tale. Action and emotion take centre stage in this novel. Vane brings rodeo to life, while at the same time telling a compelling take that will have you in stitches and in tears. I will admit that I did wonder what exactly happened with Rachel & Wade. You get the basic gist of it, but it’s not spelled out for you. The main characters in this novel definitely make the story. Not only are they well developed, complex characters, but the ordeals that they’ve lived through pull at your heart. I absolutely loved getting to know them both, and thoroughly enjoyed them as individuals. Their relationship was also fantastic. It wasn’t easy, nor was it a sure thing, but it was oh so very real. The passion and real love, as well as the heartache and the doubt all shine through. The twang in the dialogue between the characters is also fantastic. It really brings these characters to life. It was like I could really hear them speaking. Every time I read a new work by this author it’s better than the last. I couldn’t put this one down for a second. I’d highly recommend it to those who enjoy romance with some heat & a healthy dose of western flavour. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
*Complimentary ARC provided by NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. I loved the first book in this series which featured Wade, Dirk’s older brother. A lot was revealed about the Dirk, Rachel, Wade fiasco, as well as a little about Janice in Slow Hand, so I was expecting their story to pick up somewhere around that point and build from there. Instead, the first half of this book started out with Dirk and Janice in their very early twenties and a bit of tweenage angst, and the other half had them still struggling with past hangups as thirty year olds. Poor Janice. Unrequited love sucks, especially when it lasts as long as it did. She'd harbored a crush on Dirk dating back to high-school, not that he'd ever noticed her, since he was dating the future rodeo queen. But everything changed one night following a rodeo accident, too much alcohol and a break-up. One thing led to another, but not a blissful new relationship. It was hard to fault her for some of her poor decisions based on age, location, timing and family situation. But a part of me found her…pitiful seems too cruel. Even when she told herself to move on, Dirk was always in the back of her mind, as if holding out for a miracle. But I did like that she was such a hard worker and so knowledgable about the business at such a young age. She bloomed when she was in her element. Dirk's indecisiveness and restlessness throughout that decade really had an impact on both of their lives. Again, I chalk it up to age that I didn’t warm up to him until much later. Despite his age, a lot can be said about his character that he stayed faithful to Rachel for nearly five years and respected her boundaries of no sex before marriage. Whether the same could be said about her remained a mystery. His disability and shouldering the responsibility of the ranch didn’t improve his mood, but I appreciated that Janice picked up on the fact that he tried to mask his insecurities with his gruffness. The ending was predictable, but after taking ten years to find themselves only to be horribly disappointed, they deserved that kind of happy ending. Overall, the beginning bored me a little with extensive rodeo scenes that I ended up skipping some pages of bull riding. A few times, substantial time jumps weren't indicated, leaving me confused while I read ahead until the characters gave me the time frame in question. I definitely enjoyed the second half of the story more than the first half. This book wasn't as entertaining as Wade and Nikki's story, but it was still a good read. To be fair, if I were a fan of the NA genre, this might have rated a bit higher for me. With that said, maybe the next one will be more to my liking.
I first fell in love with Victoria Vane’s stories after reading her Library Journal award-winning Georgian-era Devil DeVere e-book series. Her writing is effervescent and fun and her plots engaging and very entertaining. So when she branched out into a contemporary cowboy series, I decided to give it a try. Rough Rider is the second book in her Montana-based Hot Cowboy Nights series. It’s a good story but the language is a little too country and crass for my taste. That said, however, Vane’s research of Montana, ranching, and the rodeo and bronco and bull-riding circuit are impressive. Janice has always loved Dirk—yes, that name is a little too cowboy for me—but he has always been with the rodeo goddess, Rachel Carson. Janice has always been a good, hardworking girl and, while Dirk likes her, he hasn’t ever truly noticed her. Until one night when he spurns Rachel and needs a place to sleep. One thing leads to another but circumstances get in the way of any relationship between Janice and Dirk. This story is truly like a tragic country love song and its dramatics span several years before Dirk and Janice can be together. In between, there’s missed chances, infidelity, drug abuse, and family troubles. It’s a bit much to take and, at times, I wondered if they would ever get together. But of course, they do. I liked the first book in the series, Slow Hand (about Dirk’s younger brother, Wade), more than this one. I think it was because I could relate more to Wade’s white collar career while Dirk just seemed angry, crude, and downright raunchy. But if you love sexy cowboys, this is right up your alley. As for me, I eagerly await Vane’s next historical.
Now this will be a different kind of review than I usually write because Janice and Dirk demanded it! This romance is from begin to end, a massive pot holed infested journey thru rough and cruel terrain for both Dirk and Janice. Now y'all have to understand that I rarely use the word HATE because it's so harsh and hurtful and for me to use it is extraordinary moment, but in book #1 of this Hot Cowboy Nights I HATED Dirk. I didn't think Ms. Vane could wrote Dirk as loveable to me, but I was totally wrong. She made Dirk a yummy and flawed, but a completely LOVEABLE wounded hero! Dirk was a man looking for his purpose. When the rodeo didn't do it, he joined the Marines believing it would help him make a difference, but the Marines took more than it gave with his leg as payment in full to an IED. When Dirk returns home, he’s no longer the All American gorgeous cowboy, but a man scarred inside and out, filled with such anger that he feels the need to share it with any and everyone in his path. Janice was always willing to do all for the males in her life, always putting her needs and desires on hold. Her dad just seem to use her for free labor and keeping his business afloat, but he did love her in his own way. Later, her hubby, Grady, just wanted her as his meal ticket, but once he found out that she wasn't, he made her life a living and breathing HADES! Now her son loved her unconditionally, was the balm to her scarred over heart, but he helped her realized maybe she did deserve love! I loved how Ms. Vane wrote this romance with such flawed characters with gooey hearts that are surrounded by high & thick castle walls! They shared only 1 night of knocking boots back in their rodeo days, but the sun rose to unspoken feelings, unclaimed hearts and lost chances. Grady was in the right time and when Janice needed a shoulder, but marrying him was Janice’s greatest mistake, but she received her greatest gift in her son. Now lets chat about the sex between Janice & Dirk, my peeps. Ms. Vane release this romance SEXUAL KRAKEN with toasty and spark filled scenes filled with pantie melting kisses, toe curling (that gave me painful toe cramps) caresses and a screaming wake up call to my pleasure center of my brain! But with great sex comes unwrapped and vulnerable hearts. Ms. Vane exposes and crumbles each block, stone, pebble and even mortar with their shared kiss, caresses and Wham, Bam, please don't leave me ma'am moments! Now this romance has many surprises along the way that could make their budding love halt in its tracks or make them have a Happily Ever After, but y'all will have to read it for yourselves because its such a page turner. I couldn't put it down and prayed for it not to be over! Ms. Vane entertainment me, beotch slapped my drought like girlie parts, painfully and slowly peeled back her characters layers, exposed their weak underbellies, used unconditional love to slowly heal her h/h. This story had me at the edge of my seat with twists, turns and even had me screaming at the Dirk's stupidity, so she completely EARNS my top score of 5 fingers up & 10 toes! I just have some itsy bitsy advice for Ms. Vane for the future, PLEASE WRITE FASTER! NetGalley ARC given for my honest review.
A sexy, albeit curmudgeonly, cowboy and the woman meant to tame him. Janice Combes grew up around tough talking, rough acting cowboys so she was used to how they acted around each other, and her. She was one of the crew when it came to rodeo life and the men, who rode the bulls she took care of and carted from rodeo to rodeo. She may understand them, but it didn’t keep her from wanting one particular cowboy to look at her the way he looked at the Rodeo Queen. Dirk Knowlton loved the rodeo, the freedom of the road, and when his long-time girlfriend started making noises about getting married and settling down, he did what any self-respecting cowboy would do, he bucked and ran. Ending up on the doorstep of the woman he’d watched grow up, one he’d watched his buddy, Grady, take notice of and discovered he didn’t like it, surprised him. What happened next surprised him even more and haunted him for the next ten years? Phew! Some cowboys are definitely hotter than others. ROUGH RIDER by Victoria Vane treats us to one hot cowboy and the only woman meant to tame him. We first meet Dirk Knowlton in SLOW HAND, book one of the Hot Cowboy Nights series. Whereas Wade was dreamy to die for, Dirk came across as a complete and total ass. All the more reason why I wanted to read his story. Yeah, he was still a bit of an ass in this one, but once you learned why, everything made sense. ROUGH RIDER started out a bit slow for me. I appreciate Victoria’s research into rodeos and bull riding, but maybe I didn’t need quite so much time in the bullpens with talk about manure. *laughing* Once things heated up between Janice and Dirk, this story took off like a lightning flash. Grady was just creepy enough to keep us hoping Dirk would rescue Janice from his clutches, but goofy enough to keep us thinking Janice could handle him on her own. What happens isn’t all that surprising but what is learned later, is most definitely surprising. Nope, not going to tell you anything more. I highly recommend reading ROUGH RIDER, book two in the Hot Cowboy Nights series by Victoria Vane mainly because if you read SLOW HAND, which I definitely recommend, you will want to read this one too. If for no other reason, but to find out what bug is up Dirk’s well shaped butt and why Janice would even begin to be interested in the curmudgeon. This one is hot, hot, hot, and in the end, very sweet. Victoria gives us a wonderful happily-ever-after. ***eARC provided by author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
This is another terrific contemporary western romance by Ms. Vane. The story features Dirk (our bull riding hero turned injured war vet turned rancher) and Janice (our heroine, who’s had a bucket load of hard work and sorrow in her life). It is also a second chance romance (a trope I love) because Dirk and Janice knew each other well when they were much younger, but lost track of each other due to foolish, youthful choices. This second chance proves to be a wonderful path to Dirk’s and Janice’s healing process and eventual happy ending. I loved this story!!
Dirk always seemed to want the rodeo queen, while the woman behind the scenes who always had her hands dirty with the bulls, always had a soft spot for him. She longed to at least be Dirk's friend, but he always told her men and women couldn't be friends since a man would eventually want in her jeans. When their lives took them in different directions, Janice settled for second best. It was far from that and her list of regrets got longer every day. When Dirk and Janice finally ended up back home, trying to sort out the mess of their lives, would it be too late for another chance? Would they be able to see past their own hurt and anger? As usual, Ms. Vane gives us a sensual (and quite steamy), yet tender romance that immerses the reader in the story so deeply you feel as if you're a part of the intended cast of characters. I'm wild about Ms. Vane's sexy cowboys who are always the epitome of the ultimate romantic hero, the perfect champion for their damsels in distress. Dirk was a stubborn cowboy who didn't always have the right words, and always seemed to have intense attitude, but he tried his best to be an honorable and upstanding guy. It was so easy to root for this hero and heroine and you get so caught up in their story, before you know it, you're at the end! I loved Slow Hand, the first book in Ms. Vane's Hot Cowboy Nights series, but I thought Rough Rider (Book #2 in the series) was even more exceptional. My heart strings were wrenched from beginning to end. I can hardly wait for book #3! Rough Rider is one hot cowboy romance that's a Keeper and the whole series is on my list as Must Reads! Yehaw! 5 Stars!
Read on January 29, 2015 Book Info Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by Sourcebooks Casablanca ISBN 1492601152 (ISBN13: 9781492601159) edition language English URL series Hot Cowboy Nights #2 other editions None found Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links Amazon B&N BOOK SYNOPSIS Two wary hearts … Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect-until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash. Different Dreams… Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good-roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there's a void he can't seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts...but there's a certain cowgirl he can't forget. When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he's determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love? My Thoughts At 22 Dirk Knowlton is not ready to settle down, nor is he ready to "settle" for being what his wealthy girlfriend thinks he should. That includes dressing to suit her and her family as well as giving up his pursuit of following the rodeo circuit as a bronc or bull rider. Things come to a head with he and his longtime sweetheart Rachel and he spends one stormy night with Janice, a night that neither one expected but both came away from with their perspectives of one another forever changed. Since she was 16 Janice Combes has been in love with Dirk, never really expecting them of actually having a chance she keeps silent on her feelings for years. Now at 21 Janice is keeping her family afloat by following the rodeo circuit and providing riding bulls from their ranch. It is a totally non glamorous occupation, one however which allows her contact now and again with Dirk as well as his best friend and fellow cowboy Grady Garrison. After things come to an end with Dirk and Rachel, after the night of bliss that Dirk and Janice share life changes for them both when a fellow bull riding cowboy dies and Dirk finds this to be his wakeup call which prompts him to quit rodeoing and join the Marine Corp. Janice learns shortly after that her father has cancer where upon she makes the mistake of turning to Grady for help, soon the two marry which is her second mistake. Now long years later, a widow and single mother Janice is back in Montana and also finds herself still drawn to a battle scarred and traumatized ex-Marine Dirk. They have come full circle but will the second chance they both wish for happen or will it be taken away from them by distrust caused by past mistakes, as one who believes that where there is a will there is a way finding the answer is harder than either thought it would be but worth the effort it takes to make happen! Spanning a ten year period of time we cover a lot of territory for Dirk and Janice, not least of which is a few heartaches along the way that leave them both with a few issues. The resulting HEA was one a long time in the making but well worth waiting for, not only for the couple but for the reader as well. [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
Rough Rider, Victoria Vane review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews I have a bit of a hankering sometimes for come cowboy romance, it’s the setting that gets me, horses, excitement and hot men....but though this book had all that its didn’t really get better than a “good” book for me. I felt there were times when plots were dragged out and others where they simply didn’t live up to the potential they had. Still, I can see already that there are five star reviews so it just shows how we all see books differently, and makes me thankful there’s such a range there’s something to please everyone! Anyway Janice has wanted Dirk since high school. I don’t really know why, as he’s been hung up and going out with beauty pageant queen Rachel all that time, and she barely knows him except recently through her work. then he hand Rachel have a disagreement and she gives him an ultimation. He’s only 22 and not ready for what she wants and they have a huge row. Her dad kicks him out of the hotel, and he ends up in a thunderstorm seeking shelter for the night in Janice’s trailer, where they soon whip up a storm of their own....He and his Bull rider pal Grady have agreed to help Janice over the next few weeks as she takes the bulls to the venues they are competing at. Its difficult though, with Dirk clearly avoiding mentioning what happened. then something happens that makes him look at his life and decide to change it. Fast forward ten years, he’s back on the family ranch trying to save it as ranching is in a huge downturn. He has big plans but needs money, and he’s hampered by his injuries gained whilst fighting in the Army. Janice too is back home, having had a very difficult few years. She tried to do her best but circumstances were against her and she’s now very wary. Her ranch is gone, just the homestead and a couple of acres remain and she’s working in a local bar. Somehow though they were thrown together, parted and now living close again they’ve changed hugely. What hasn’t changed though is Janice feelings for Dirk, one look and they come rushing back. She offers to help on his ranch but he’s surly and thinks she’s only offering from pity. From not being able to keep his hands off her one moment he then goes to other extreme and seems to want to push her away....she’s confudsed, troubled and her heart is in danger once again. It’s a read that’s a one off only book for me, I wasn’t really convinced by the characters or the plot. I just couldn’t see why Janice was so hung up on Dirk, or why she took the other actions she did. It felt kind of one paced to me, some hot quick sex, but otherwise it was just an Ok read. Stars: Three, it has some good points but overall its not one I’d read again. I found myself skipping parts and just skim reading. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Rough Rider lives up to its title. This story is one rough ride for the hero and heroine in this stolen moments-missed opportunities and regrets type of gripping and red-hot passion-filled story. Even though this is the second book in the series if will work fine as a standalone or out of order. Some of it follows a parallel path to the first story crossing plot paths a few times, but still separate for all that. Janice has lived her life in the shadows and working hard carrying a flame for a bull rider who barely knows she exists. She watches him and his high school sweetie together and wishes she could be the pretty rich, rodeo queen like Rachel instead of the girl working the chutes and covered in the scents and dirt of the pens. But then one night, Dirk Knowles, surprises everyone when he throws off the lead ropes that Rachel and her rich dad have put on him and Rachel tries to use his brother to make him jealous. Janice seizes her chance knowing that he'll be back with Rachel in the morning. Dirk doesn't know what in the world he is doing when it comes to his life that had been plotted out for him with the perfect girl and the perfect future. He feels restless and he is young. He doesn't want to be tied down with a wife and responsibilities, but Rachel keeps pushing even after he asks for time. She always plays head games with him so the night he finds himself sans girlfriend and her plans for his future, he accepts the offer that Janice makes. It was supposed to be just the one time, but afterward, he knows that it meant something. Unfortunately, before he can figure out his feelings and what he wants to do about them, Janice has given up waiting and moved on and he is well aware she is making a huge mistake taking the shiftless womanizer Grady. Years later, after so much life has happened, the two find themselves back in their home town carrying a lot of internal baggage and wearing the mileage life has taken out of them. Dirk is determined to save his family ranch and Janice is determined for a fresh start for her and her son. Can something come of this reunion or are they too damaged and too long apart to try again? As I said, this one is rough, but it’s the sort of rough that needs to be there for the story to have some depth. Dirk is not an easy hero. He has wanderlust as a young guy and he doesn't know how to juxtapose that with his responsibilities. He also doesn't know what to do with his conflicted feelings for two very different women. He needs time to process, but life wouldn't stop and wait for him so he makes snap judgments. He is flawed and hard, but there was something about him that made me want to see him pull through and succeed with his dream and break free of his bitter anger. Janice, by the same token, isn't an easy heroine. Much of the early story, she is just passive and reactionary. The few solid choices she makes are bad ones and she also has life changes that are out of her control that complicate things. But then when the second half begins, she shows there is a backbone inside her. Dirk doesn't make things easy and she won't make it easy on him either. They do tend to be like tender and matches combusting into hot passion, but the physical attraction is only part of it. I liked how the story developed pace-wise to match these two and their issues. They don't make it easy and Dirk has a positive gift for spouting hurtful things, but it was worth it when they sort it all out. One of the side stories is a bit of a wrap-up for the unresolved stuff between Dirk and his brother, Wade. The details and much of their conflict takes place in the first book with just being skated over in this one, but the resolve for their issues does resolve in this one and I was happy to see it. It was one of the things about the first book that disappointed me so I was glad to see it addressed in this story. And finally, I really enjoyed that epilogue. It was just a sweet family scene that was light and fun. It struck the right chord after the turmoil and trouble of the earlier story. Wrapping up, I felt this was a stronger story that offers good conflict along with some hot and spicy passion. I loved it even if it was hard to read about Dirk and Janice having a few near misses and heartaches before they got their chance at happiness. The plot, character development, passionate romance, and incredibly well described backdrop all worked and I whole-heartedly recommend it to Western Contemporary Romance fans. My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
ROUGH RIDER by Victoria Vane is a hot, steamy Contemporary Western Romance. #2 in her "Hot Cowboy Nights", but can be read as a stand alone. See, "Slow Hand". Meet, Janice Combes and Dirk Knowlton. Janice loves bucking bulls and is Rodeo Queen. Dirk, is a riding bronco cowboy who is going home to lick is wounds. He is looking for more, and missing something in his life. Janice returns to Montana to lick her own wounds. Can two wary souls find happiness and take a second chance on love? Ms. Vane has done it again, with her sensual characters, emotional turmoil, healing hearts and her passionate love, she has once again created a blazing tale of second chances and love. While, "Rough Rider" is steeped with emotional turmoil, sadness, it is also filled with healing, compassion and passion. What a thrill, to read, this fast paced, page turner story. Janice and Dirk will capture your heart. While, in book 1 "Slow Hand", Dirk, was an absolute butt, he has redeemed himself in "Rough Rider". The characters are engaging, delightful in a soulful kinda way, intelligent, realistic, and down right passionate. You gotta love them! The storyline is unique, well developed, and descriptive. Ms. Vane, has portrayed, for those of us who know nothing of bull riding or rodeos, very descriptively, I must say, the rodeo, circuit bull riding, and all it entails. Well done, my hats off to you, Ms. Vane! The sex scenes, is very hot, steamy, but written very tastefully. Again, well done! "Rough Rider" is a hot, steamy erotic romance, that is a page turner from beginning to end. There is so much more to life, rodeo, and romance than sex. We all want and deserve a happy ever after. A very enjoyable, and satisfying read. I would highly recommend "Rough Rider", for your next read. If you enjoy Contemporary romance, cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo, and did I mention passion and love. A must read for sure! I love Ms. Vane's Historical Romance, but gotta say, she is definitely making a name for herself in the Contemporary Romance genre. *Received for an honest review from the publisher and/or author though Net Galley* Rating: 4.5 Heat rating: Steamy Reviewed by: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More