Review: The Cowboy and the City Slicker by Bonnie Dee

Can a fish out of water find a home on the range?

Alex Wheeler arrives in Arizona with a job to do—convince Matthew Parsons to sell his guest ranch to an Americana-themed resort chain. A landscape filled with nothing but cactus and cattle promises a dull week, until he meets the strong, silent cowboy who lassoes his interest. Alex begins to fall for Matthew’s quiet charm, gentlemanly ways, and hidden sweetness. As their friendship and attraction deepen from casual to intense, Alex delays revealing his agenda.

Matthew Parsons has one wish—to keep his family heritage intact despite financial hard times. He has convinced himself his life isn’t lonely, until a dynamic, animated, upbeat stranger erupts into his solitude and breaks down his barriers. Against all odds, a man he could actually grow to care for has come to the middle of nowhere like a gift just for him. Even knowing Alex must soon leave, Matthew can’t help falling a little bit in love.

When the truth comes out and harsh realities must be faced, their budding relationship is trampled. But a bruised bloom may be nurtured back to life even in the harsh desert.

I’ve always been a big fan of Bonnie Dee, her historicals are a weakness of mine. I love the language, the settings and the conflicts are always fascinating. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for The Cowboy and the City Slicker. I did enjoy it, the writing is solid and the characters are well formed. The best part of the story is meeting Alex and especially Matthew. The story itself however is one we’ve all read before.

Alex works for a corporation that buys up family farms, ranches, etc. that then turns them into vacation destinations while maintaining their homespun feel. He’s sent to Matthew’s family ranch (that is struggling) under the guise of a vacationing guest and there is an immediate attraction between Alex and Matthew. Alex is gregarious and social which Matthew is shy and stoic. Of course Matthew has a heart of gold and as the two spend more time together Alex discovers Matthew’s softer side and he starts falling for the cowboy while Matthew starts falling for Alex.

And therein the conflict lies. Alex waffles back and forth about when he should tell Matthew his real reason for visiting the ranch. Feelings start to become real things between them and the longer Alex waits, the more the tension rises and the blowup is inevitable. This is nothing new, especially in the wonderful world of cowboy tropes, and the one thing that these stories need is a unique hook and that was the one thing missing in this story.

The chemistry was great between the Alex and Matthew and thankfully they worked through the first conflict, times were good and the reading was heartwarming and steamy. But then, another conflict came along and it was completely manufactured and I couldn’t figure out the point other than to throw some angst at the reader. The logic was flawed in that their was literally no reason for Alex to do what he did and then some stubbornness was thrown into the mix and I ended up just feeling frustrated with the both of them (Alex mostly though),

There was a bit that was seriously off putting for me and it was right at the beginning. I did have to step back for a bit before I dove back in. There was an unfortunate word choice that I know was not intentional, but it’s not a word to use lightly. There was a conversation regarding bad guys in the old west and how one could be sent to the gallows. Instead of being sent to the gallows one characters asked if the loser in their contest (bad guy) would be lynched. Again, I know this was not intentional, but the word has horrific connotations in American history and reading it dropkicked me right out of the story.

Moving along . . .

I did enjoy the dynamics between Alex and Matthew when they were just spending time together and getting to know one another. Matthew had a lot of sweet habits that no one but Alex knew about and whenever they would talk about Matthew’s writing and their love of books I ate those conversations up. And while the story was missing any conflict of real value, I did have a good time meeting the two main characters and reading the growth of their relationship.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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