on Oct. 31, 2017 :
an American Extreme Bull Riders Tour Romance
by Jeannie Watt
The Tule Publishing Group, LLC, Smashwords Edition
I am not a big fan of the Romance Novel genre. At 71, it is a matter of “been there, done that, moving on.” However, I do believe in keeping my hand in, so to speak, hence this review of Austin by Jeannie Watt.
As the title makes plain, this is a story about modern bull riding cowboys and the women who love them.
The title character, Austin Harding, travels the “American Extreme Bull Rider Tour circuit, which involves repeatedly trying to earn the most points while staying on the back of a very angry bull for 10 seconds. It also involves Austin in a lot of broken bones and other bodily injuries. Obviously, Austin is what is often called “a man’s man,” and drop-dead handsome to boot.
The story opens in Reno, Nevada, a stop on the tour. Austin and some fellow bull riders are having a well-earned drink before bunking down for the night at a nearby casino hotel. Having already had a few too many, Austin hears a voice that sounds vaguely familiar. Though he doesn’t believe it possible, the voice belongs to Kristin Alexander, a classmate from high school. He doesn’t believe it is possible that the Kristin he knew could possibly be a waitress, and especially not a waitress wearing the skimpy saloon girl costume that barely covered the essentials.
It is Kristin of course, through she tries very hard to convince Austin she is not.
These two, as they say, have history. She had been an outstanding student in high school. Austin had not, but thought that winning a high school rodeo championship more than made up for that. Kristin let him know it didn’t in a very public way, that affected him more than he ever let on. In a way, his success as a bull rider was a result of her putting him down in front of their classmates.
The novel is about their re-discovery of each other and how their chance encounter in the bar changes both their lives. There is a lot more romance than sex in this book, though the love-making scenes are very well done, and made me wish more than once that there had been a cowboy like that somewhere in the story of my life.
The main characters are very well drawn, and behave like real people might in a similar situation. Their struggles to understand themselves and each other are explored with understanding and just the right touch of humor now and then. Theirs is a love story that is both believable and sensual. I was cheering them on and hoping for a happy ending from the beginning to the last page, and enjoying all the complications, sexual and otherwise, along the way.
I should also mention that I learned a bit about bull riding too, and have a lot of respect for the way these folks earn their daily bread. All in all this was a very satisfying romance novel, with realistic characters, a detailed setting that rang true, and a cast of well rounded supporting characters to lend authenticity. Romance novel readers should put author Jeannie Watt on their list.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)