Howdy, Ma'am

Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
Howdy, Ma'am
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teel blue books
Release Date
December 2012
Book 1 of Bull Rider Series
Contemporary Romance, Western Romance

When Italian class meets bull rider rowdy, sparks will fly...and sizzle!

Bull rider Caulder McCutchen wants to start living again. But this year he has a good chance of winning the converted buckle, knowing he has to ride harder, go bigger, or go home. Winning consumes him, but it doesn't take away the pain from a tremendous loss less than two years ago. On a whim, he hires a feisty photographer to travel the bull riding circuit with him for a season. A little extra publicity can't hurt, and she's easy on the eyes. When he finds himself passionately attracted to her, will this sassy little Italian prove to be just what his claim to fame needs—or a disastrous distraction?

Velia Armano had the strength to walk away from an abusive husband. She moves from Chicago to Tucson, Arizona and opens her own photography studio. Six months into her well-ordered life alone, a hunky cowboy saunters in with his howdy, ma'am and flame blue eyes, offering a job any photographer would find hard to refuse. She accepts his offer and discovers they both have their own obstacles to overcome. While trying to resist his heated embrace and gentle nature, she hopes to find the right answer before the season ends—to remain in her self-appointed exile, or give in to a happily ever after.

When the season ends, who wins the real prize?

NOTE-- Please Read: Sensual love scenes. Occasional harsh and unsavory language. Hunky and handsome bull riding cowboy who might sweep you off your feet--

Book Review by Angie Just Read... (reviewer)
Oct 16, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
192 people found the following review helpful
Two people from different walks of life share the pain of disillusion and loss. Can they get beyond their pasts to forge a future together?

After silently suffering years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband Justin, Velia Armano finally found the strength to leave and then started divorce proceedings a few months later. She'd never confessed her troubles to her well-connected Italian family for fear they'd take drastic actions against Justin. And knowing that he'd make trouble if he found her, she left her loving family in Chicago and moved to Tucson, Arizona to start a new chapter in her life.

With her photography business gaining traction and a sense of security found living in a small apartment in the home of an elderly, retired couple, Velia was finally realizing her future and that her small business had real possibilities. When bull rider Caulder McCutcheon sauntered into her photography studio with a friendly greeting, then offered her a job photographing and videoing him on this upcoming tour, Velia knew the boon it would provide to her professional reputation and her start-up business was too good to pass up.

Calder McCutcheon had suffered the loss of his wife and daughter while he was out touring the bull riding circuit. He was going through the motions of regaining control of his life and knew he had a really good chance of winning the coveted gold buckle with his top notch bull riding skills and some much needed tour publicity. It was impulse that drove him into Velia Armano's Tucson photography studio, but it was his instant attraction to her, something he thought his battered soul would never feel again, that drove him to vet Velia's photography skills and offer her a job. Just knowing his ability to feel hadn't died with his wife and child made him covet time alone with the multi-faceted Velia, but letting down his remaining emotional defenses, while breaching Velia's well-founded reluctance to let another man into her life would take time.

Upon the finalization of her divorce, Velia realizes her ties to Justin are far from over. After he threatens and attacks her, Calder's promise to protect her while she travels with him on the bull riding circuit is a welcome respite, but as she and Caulder grow closer and their professional relationship turns intimately personal, Velia realizes that Justin's incarceration can't shield her from his threats. Nor is she certain she should give free reign to her rapidly deepening feelings for Caulder due to the misgivings of her once battered heart and mind.

As for Caulder, spending time with Velia and having her in his arms has slowly eaten away his defenses. He's ready to fully embrace life again and needs Velia at his side. Deep down he knows he's pushing her too hard and he's not surprised when she obstinately refuses to travel with him to Pennsylvania to meet his parents. But while Caulder and Velia try to figure out where their relationship is headed, a recently released Justin waits…

In this, her first installment of The Bull Rider series, author Mary McCoy-Dressel takes up the deeply emotional subjects of spousal abuse and the unexpected loss of a spouse and young child. Both Velia and Caulder are deeply affected by their recent and painful pasts, but both dealt with the pain in different ways. Caulder's parents, though they had recently lost another son in combat, helped Caulder to get through the worst of his pain and carry on. Caulder also had a friend to lend him his home for much needed solitude. As for Velia, there was no support structure; her best friend betrayed her and, because she had a misguided but valid reason to do so, she took pains to hide from her family the physical and mental abuse her husband had carried out. Yet despite the sadness that peppered the lives of the hero and heroine, the author made both of these characters strong enough to undertake the painful healing process and go on with their lives in a positive direction.

Fans of cowboy romance will delight in the gentlemanly but passionate Caulder and in Ms McCoy-Dressel's interesting descriptions of life on the bull riding circuit. Likewise, readers who like strong but vulnerable heroines will relate to Velia, a woman with strong family ties but who chose to hide a multitude of secrets because women within certain Italian families instinctively know to turn a blind eye to the family business. And, with regard to Justin, he pops up to keep the reader on their toes, but the author lets the reader get settled and complacent before Justin rears his head again with very little warning. Luckily, Justin serves his purpose, and Velia and Caulder find their happy ending. Bravo, Ms McCoy-Dressel!

Spicy sexual content.
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