THE COWBOY SAYS YES

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Hadley Wayne has deep roots in the small Montana town of Rustlers Creek: It’s where she grew up, it’s where she met and married her husband, Zack, and now it’s where she hosts her popular Cooking Network show, The Cowgirl Gourmet. The show is successful beyond her wildest dreams, turning her into a household name and catapulting her and her husband and their ranch into the spotlight. It’s not that Zack resents Hadley’s success, but he feels a deepening chasm growing between them every day. They’re both afraid their marriage is unraveling, but the lines of communication are completely down, and they’re unable to fix what is wrong. When a business trip sends them to California, Hadley and Zack both hope that time away from the ranch will help them reconnect. Fox’s novel is full of angst and melodrama, with two other secondary romance plots: Zack’s parents experience marital difficulties, and Hadley’s producer falls in love with one of the cowboys on the ranch. Unfortunately, these subplots just serve to highlight the lack of progress between Hadley and Zack. Their emotional reactions, especially at the beginning, feel manufactured to create melodrama. The plot meanders for most of the book before scrambling to an unsatisfying and rushed conclusion.

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