Dylann Crush is a new-to-me author and I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t typically gravitate towards “western” or cowboy romances, but I liked the look of this one, so I gave it a shot. And I’m glad I did!
All-American Cowboy is a fantastic fish-out-of-water romance novel. Beck, or Beckett Sullivan Holiday III, is in the lineage of the founders of Holiday, TX, a little podunk town that appears to be somewhat close to Hill Country (a region of Texas around Austin, San Antonio, and San Marcos, the latter of which is mentioned as the nearest city) that gets its income from the “oldest honky tonk in Texas”, the Rambling Rose. (Apparently, the actual oldest honky tonk is in Gruene — pronounced Green — and seems to have a similar charm.)
Charlie (aka Charlotte) Walker is the manager of the Rose, and she is skeptical about some New York hotshot coming down to Texas to muck things up. She’s got her hands full breaking up bar fights, getting her prized pig ready for the pig beauty pageant, and making sure that the Rose does a brisk business by booking musical acts for its stage. She definitely didn’t count on falling head over boots for Beck, whom she affectionally dubs Manhattan.
The one thing that doesn’t work for me in this novel is how quickly things rev up between Beck and Charlie. I loved the setting and the other characters, and most everything else. The conflict between the two makes total sense, and the interactions between Beck and everyone else are hilarious. But getting the two of them together happens in very weirdly contrived ways. There was little to no sexual tension between them before they just start making out. When they nearly have sex in Charlie’s truck outside of a competing bar, it almost seems robotic. And I definitely thought it was strange when they put dinner in the oven and almost burn the house down after they get too carried away.
There is a bit of a mustache-twirly villain in the form of Beck’s father. He goes by Holiday, which is weird. He of course has a paunch, which seems to indicate that fatness = evilness. And he’s a drunk. It just doesn’t make sense that he could be a vindictive and conniving mastermind, but also be displayed as a bumbling fool. We also don’t get any real payoff about what his big secrets in Holiday (the place) were before he left in disgrace. There are some hints, but I feel as if there was more to the story that either the author didn’t want to make up, or it really was as simple as described, in which case, what are the stakes?
Otherwise, however, this was a fun read with lots of small town color. I especially enjoyed the pig pageant and how that adds to the plot. All in all, a great first book for me from this author, and I intend to read any future books in the series.
Free ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.