COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY Jane Graves
A Rainbow Valley Novel
Grand Central's Forever
ISBN: 978-1-455-51519-6
May 2013
Contemporary Romance

Rainbow Valley, Texas Present Day

Rainbow Valley is a special place, with a legend attached that makes it a haven for animals.  

Shannon North runs the animal shelter in Rainbow Valley, and it's a job she loves to the point of exhaustion.  It's a constant struggle to get donations to keep the shelter going, and between fundraising and caring for the animals, Shannon spends most of her waking hours at the shelter.  But as hard as she works she is not sure she can keep up the pace. She needs help badly, but for what she can pay good help is hard to find.

Luke Dawson left town years ago with a broken heart and a chip on his shoulder.  Known as the town bad boy, Luke never planned to return, but when his no good father dies, Luke travels home for the funeral.  His plan is to get in and get out fast so he can make it to the next rodeo.  As a champion bull rider he is close to winning the national title, a goal he set for himself years ago, and one he has worked hard towards.  When Luke sees Shannon at the café, all the anger and hurt he felt comes to the surface. He's civil but determined to get the hell out of town. Unfortunately, an accident leaves Luke with a bad knee, little money, and no place to stay. 

Shannon needs help to keep the shelter running.  Luke needs a place to earn some money and recuperate.  It's a perfect match.  Or a match made in hell.  

As Luke and Shannon work together, old feelings rise to the surface but both try to keep a lid on them.  After all, Luke is the son of the town drunk, and Shannon is the daughter of the well-to-do Norths.  A relationship between them, even a temporary one, can never work.   But the heart wants what the heart wants, and despite the disdain of Shannon's family and the cruelty of the people who remember Luke, staying away from each other proves just too hard to do.

At first glance, I thought, oh boy, here we go again. Good girl and the town bad boy have a thing, break up and reunite years later.  Ho, hum.  Been there done that.  However, not quite like this.  COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY is that same tried and true plot, there is no escaping that; however, the author's skill at character building and story-telling gives this novel a depth missing in many others.  None of the characters is one dimensional. Each person is built slowly, layer upon layer, until the true character is revealed.  Luke is not just your typical defiant young man in a small town.  His story is deep, compelling and tragic.  Shannon is not just the innocent young thing seduced by the bad boy.  She's a woman who has depth and issues just as most real people do.  The townspeople are not stereotypical either.  They are not all narrow minded busy bodies. Nor are they all picture perfect.  There are numerous characters that fill the pages, and each one is more than just a walk on.  The sheriff, while gruff, is not stupid, and while at first he is a bit leery of Luke, he isn't unreasonable.  Luke, after all, was pretty much a hoodlum when he lived in Rainbow Valley, so the sheriff's suspicion of him is grounded in fact not perception.  That is just one example, and I could go on and on describing various characters, but I'll leave the fun of discovering them all to you. 

For a novel filled with realistic characters, warmth and charm, grab a copy of COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY.  It's guaranteed to leave you with a smile.

Terrie Figueroa