Joshua Ludington is slow to trust. After being betrayed by the woman he loved, he vowed to take a hiatus from dating. But when Lucie Cooper drives onto his family ranch, he finds the beautiful chef hard to resist.
Lucie Cooper is at Cupid Ridge Inn to do a job. They need an interim chef for their dude ranch guests, and she’s determined to fill that position. When she runs into handsome cowboy Joshua Ludington, at first she’s excited to show off her cooking skills. Soon, though, it becomes apparent that what she’s feeling for him goes beyond gratitude for the job.
Although Lucie knows Joshua has been burned, she’s determined to show this handsome cowboy that he can count on her. But Lucie is notoriously bad at keeping secrets, and working for the Ludingtons means keeping things quiet. She means well, but she might just destroy her new relationship before it gets off the ground.
Titles in the Cupid Ridge Dude Ranch series include — The Maverick Cowboy —♥— The Brokenhearted Cowboy —♥— The Scorned Cowboy —♥— The Sullen Cowboy —♥—
This is a romance that includes no swearing, no violence, and no sexual content (beyond a few light kisses).
Title: The Maverick Cowboy
Series: Cupid Ridge Dude Ranch #1
Author: Macie St. James
Genre: Modern Western Romance
Published: January 6, 2023
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Joshua and Lucie’s story kicks off the Cupid Ridge Dude Ranch series with a solid story, which is well-written, engaging, believable, and in some areas completely relatable. The Ludington family is going through a bit of a crisis revolving somewhat around the property and a feud that no one remembers quite how it got started generations ago. The Maverick Cowboy introduces us to many people important to the overall story and some will have their stories told during this series.
Joshua is quiet, steady, dependable and at the moment a bit emotionally fragile from a recent betrayal. Trust is the most important ingredient to him in a relationship and his trust has been shredded. So, he’s not looking for a romantic relationship when Lucie shows up at the ranch looking to apply for an interim chef position. They attended the same high school, and certainly aren’t strangers for Joshua noticed Lucie back then. But the instant attraction surprises him and for once, slow and steady go right out the window to the point where it should have been his sister who had the final say but he pretty much hired Lucie on the spot.
Lucie is one of those people that from the outside looking in leads a charmed life. She’s beautiful, always positive, a woman who sees the glass as not half anything but full until she finishes it. She has a successful streaming video program giving cooking hacks and while not quite enough to give her the independence from her parents that she craves it’s enough. Yet she needs more she needs to have working experience in the field she’s chosen in order to get those pay stubs that banks seem to require for mortgage payments or landlords for the ability to pay rent. Working as the interim chef at the Cupid Ridge Dude Ranch is the perfect job… plus she’ll be around her high school crush, Joshua. If Lucie has one drawback it’s her positive outlook, and her inability to keep from speaking her mind without much of a filter – if Lucie is thinking it she’s saying it.
Lucie and Joshua may seem like opposites, but they counter each other so well. And it’s not long before their attraction begins to blossom into something more. Yet there is more to the story of their lives that needs to be uncovered, things they’ve hidden so well for so long that acting as they do has become natural. There are layers to this couple that will slowly be revealed to us and to them, and my heart broke for them both in different ways.
I enjoyed The Maverick Cowboy so much. Joshua and Lucie are a couple that simply works, they have flaws and issues but at the core, they fit together in a way that a lifetime together seems the natural next step. I loved many of the secondary characters, got annoyed at others, and was downright furious with one. Their story has a realistic feeling that kept me flipping pages to see what they’d encounter next. If you love a well-written, thoughtful, believable romance with characters you’ll be rooting for then this one is perfect for you.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the author or author’s team via Booksprout. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent.*
Available for the Kindle as this title and series will be available for KU