THE COWBOY AND THE PRINCESS – Lori Wilde
Avon
ISBN: 978-0-06-204777-9
August 2012
Contemporary Romance

Jubilee, Texas – Present Day

And they lived happily ever after…

Wait. Not quite. Princess Annabella of Monesta is scheduled to enter into an arranged marriage to a prince in six weeks, but she wants to experience life a little before she does. However, her father and stepmother would frown upon her doing anything considered “common,” so while visiting Texas, a friend helps her escape her ever present guards.  Now calling herself Annie, she ends up on the side of the road in the rain, where horse whisperer Brady Talmadge picks her up. Or rather, rescues her…

Live by rules and you won't get in trouble…

Brady follows a set rule of principles and he is just about to break several of them by picking up the pretty woman alongside the road. But something about her tugs at him and he soon offers her a ride, a meal and a temporary place to stay. Annie is tightlipped about how she ended up where she did and makes it clear she has secrets, and Brady is sure he has lost his mind even getting involved with Annie. They end up in Jubilee, where he has a job and friends, and Annie decides to stick around. As Annie and Brady settle into a temporary life, he grows more puzzled by a woman who clearly isn't American and loves the simple pleasures of life—like attending a carnival. Brady can't promise Annie a permanent relationship, even as he grows more attracted to her. But why are there men in black looking for her?

A return to Jubilee is in order for fans of Lori Wilde as we revisit the characters from THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE. Brady is on his way to Joe Daniels's ranch for a job soothing a horse when he is waylaid by hitchhiker Annie during a downpour. Brady would have driven past, but one sight of the straggly waif alongside the road has him stopping to assist her. She's scared and closemouthed but is still someone he finds himself attracted to. While he hadn't planned to let her stay with him in his trailer in the truck, he does. Something about her pulls him in and makes it hard for him to walk away. Brady and Annie arrive in Jubilee and Joe and his wife take a shine to Annie and offer her a job and a home and, well, it appears Brady's time on the ranch just got a bit more complicated. He can't offer Annie anything besides a roll in the hay, and since she isn't exactly experienced, it makes for some long cold showers…

Annie loves Texas and is thrilled to spend some time on a real Texas ranch. She knows she can only stick around a few weeks before she has to go back to her former life as the bride for the prince picked out for her. She has cut off and colored her hair so she no longer looks anything like the princess. The formal statement given to the press about her “absence” is that she is ill, so Annie only has to keep an eye out for royal palace guards who are frantically searching for her. Meanwhile, she enjoys life in Jubilee, soaking up the atmosphere and partaking in Texas activities, such as a rodeo, for the first time in her life. But as the days pass, the closer it comes to having to say goodbye to her new friends… and Brady. The time in Jubilee has brought them closer together...and falling in love.

THE COWBOY AND THE PRINCESS is a mix of humor, emotion and the realization that you can't let life pass you by. Annie is enjoying the freedom from royal demands, and Brady is beginning to see that life on the road isn't as fun when you have a woman waiting for you at home. The romance starts out hot, but simmers to a slow cooked delicacy. Annie wants to remain in Texas but feels obligated to fulfill her future obligations. Will she decide, instead, that Brady will be her destiny? Sit back a spell and kick up your heels as you enjoy this nicely done tale.

Patti Fischer