When Sadie left Copper Ridge, she never thought she'd be back. The small town held too many bad memories and disappointments to ever make it feel like home. But after years of short-term leases all over the country, she thinks it's time to put down roots, and since the people who made Copper Ridge her own personal hell have long since moved away, she's willing to give the town a chance.
A successful therapist, she's used to helping others through loss and crisis, but now she's set on opening up a little bed and breakfast and finding a peaceful life that always seemed so out of reach. But there's nothing peaceful about Deputy Eli Garrett, the man who arrested her on her last night in town so long ago. His cold looks tell her she's still the same reckless troublemaker he put in cuffs, but the heat between them is saying something entirely different…
The Verdict: Sadie and Eli were a rather different kind of couple, each grappling with some pretty tragic pasts that continued to shape everything they did. They were both incredibly alike and complete opposites, and it made for an entertaining romance and interesting read.
Sadie grew up in an abusive home, a situation that came to a terrible head the night Eli arrested her. Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks and never telling anyone what her home life was like really affected her view of everyone, and more than anything, she wished someone had noticed and stepped in to save her. I imagine that's true for a lot who face that in real life — wanting rescue but not necessarily speaking up. Thankfully, she left that life and cut ties with her parents, but it made her wary of love, and she was more content with serial dating than trusting a relationship.
Eli was likewise affected by a pretty bad upbringing. His mother had abandoned them, and his father had found the bottle. A teenage Eli had stepped up and become the man of the family, taking care of his baby sister and keeping things together with his brother so they wouldn't be split up, and when his father died while driving drunk, Eli shouldered responsibility for that as well. He spent his life trying to maintain order and control, and he can't let go of anything long enough to let himself fall in love — something he's seen destroy the men around him.
Sadie and Eli are like oil and water at first. She's messy, free-spirited, and disrupts his carefully controlled world. She's renting an old house on his family's property, and that puts her in his path more than he would like. But despite their distaste for each other, there's a strong attraction that neither can deny, and they end up in a no-strings-attached affair that they both think they can handle.
Both characters were very resistant to falling in love and settling down, so it was great to see them slowly become a real couple, despite their initial intentions. The half-serious, half-sarcastic banter they shared kept things entertaining, but the real gem was in watching them begin to overcome their pasts and look toward the future, instead of simply getting by from day to day. There's lots of angst, of course, but it feels rather natural and makes the romance they share that much more meaningful, and Sadie's wild approach to life keeps things light.
Part Time Cowboy is a great read, filled with so much emotion, sizzling chemistry, and a well-earned happily ever after. I can't wait to read Connor's story in the next book!