Bridgette Shaw lives a life focused on etiquette and rules. And her number one rule? No cowboys allowed in her tea parlor. However, when her childhood friend Cliff Masters begs her to give him lessons in refinement so he can impress his ex-girlfriend, Bridgette bends … just this once. But as she whips the rugged cowboy into shape, she can’t help but feel a growing connection between them.
Author Alys Murray knows romance. Perhaps more than any genre, romance relies on a series of tropes and common elements that appear in most stories. An irresistible hero. Romantic tension. A love-filled ending. And certainly all of these show up in Tea and a Cowboy. But Murray has a way of making even those moments seem fresh, original, and even daring.
A major cause of this success comes in the form of Bridgette Shaw, a curvy tea shop owner who’s as spunky as she is determined. Bridgette is the perfect heroine to guide this story. While she’s unafraid to stand out with a bit of polish in a ranch-focused town, she’s also incredibly vulnerable, struggling occasionally with her self-esteem and others’ opinions of her. Murray is unafraid to portray her as the complicated character she is, making Bridgette the true heart of this story.
And yet she’s entirely matched by Cliff, who oozes charm even if he is a little rough around the edges. In the opening chapter, he practically bursts onto the scene, and from there it’s a mad dash to make him presentable for his ex-girlfriend. Yet it’s not always easy … or what either of the two actually want. Cliff’s stuck in his old ways, and Bridgette can be abrasive in some of her actions. Yet there’s an immediate chemistry between these two. Murray writes quick and easy banter that feels natural. These characters read like the old pals they are, making for a highly compelling pairing.
Murray truly understands these two, and their believability makes for such an entertaining read. Their differences and the idea of Cliff becoming refined leads to plenty of laugh out loud moments. Ultimately, it’s their similarities and vulnerabilities that tie everything together, culminating in an ending that only Murray could write. Heartfelt, sweet, and even surprising, Tea and a Cowboy is a total triumph.
Title: Tea and a Cowboy
Author: Alys Murray
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: May 06, 2019
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the author.