Thomas Nelson|October 2, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-59554-803-0
Only one pair of boots and the cowboy wearing them can get Annie out of the mess she’s in.
Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column – and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is…Annie’s never been in love.
Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies man, Dylan Taylor: She’ll work his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters.
Working closely with Dylan is harder than Annie imagined, and she quickly realizes she may have misjudged him. But her unwavering conviction that cowboys are nothing but trouble has kept her heart safe for years. And she can’t risk getting hurt now.
The more Annie tries to control things, the more they fall apart. Her feelings are spinning out of control, and her sister’s antics are making life increasingly more difficult. Annie knows she needs to turn the reins over to God, but surrender has never come easily.
When Dylan reveals his feelings for her, Annie doesn’t know what to trust – her head or heart. The trouble with this cowboy is that he might just be exactly what she needs.
“…a story filled with romantic tension. Hunter’s well-developed characters and plot twists make for a delightful and inspirational journey.” – Publishers Weekly
Twenty-four-year-old Annie Wilkerson was sitting in the Chuckwagon restaurant waiting for her date, John Oakley to show up, he was a banker. While she waited in swaggered Dylan Taylor, the town’s smooth talking ladies man. Dylan immediately struck up a conversation with Annie who wasn’t the least bit interested in him. After some kidding and snide comments back and forth, Dylan asked Annie if she’d come and take a look at his best horse, Braveheart, who’d just been diagnosed with moon blindness. Annie quickly declined reminding Dylan she wasn’t a vet, only a premiere horse trainer and offered to provide him with the name of someone who could work with Braveheart but he declined saying he wanted Annie to take a look at him. Annie was a sucker for a horse in distress. Just then, John walked in and the conversation was over but not before Dylan said: “Annie, talk to you Monday”, then pointed at her while winking and said: “And don’t think I’ve given up.”
Later that evening, Annie stopped into the Mocha House to get her coffee expecting to see her twenty-year-old sister, Sierra standing behind the counter but instead found the owner, Tina Lewis. Tina explained that she’d had to fire, Sierra two days before for not showing up for shifts and for sometimes bringing her four-year-old son, Ryder with her. Annie was instantly worried as she and Sierra lived together and counted on her part-time income to pay for household expenses. She immediately went home to face, Sierra who’d already lost two previous jobs. Sierra was attending school part-time to get her journalism degree so she could take over Annie’s column in the magazine that their grandfather had started and Sierra only had one semester left of school. Just then, Annie’s cell phone rang and it was, Midge from the magazine calling Annie to tell her they’ve been forced to do some “restructuring” and that Annie’s column was being cut as the number of folks writing in to ask questions about horses and training had drastically decreased. The biggest contributor to this was the fact that people now just used Google and Wikipedia to ascertain responses to their questions. This news hit Annie hard as, Sierra was supposed to graduate with her journalism degree and then take over the column in Montana Living and shifting the column to a topic better suited to her. Now she and Sierra had lost another form of their income. Then Midge offered her an alternate job with writing a “lovelorn column.” Midge went on to say the pay was the same, and they’d call it ”Ask Annie.” There was no way she could turn down the offer as they needed the money, so she graciously accepted and thanked Midge. After the phone call ended, Annie was extremely worried about how she was going to respond to questions about love and relationships when she herself had never been in love.
Sunday morning arrived and for the third week in a row, Sierra was refusing to attend church with Annie. She didn’t understand, Sierra’s sudden lack of interest in church but knew it was “symptomatic of a faltering spiritual walk,” but didn’t know what had caused it. Annie missed the days that, Sierra was full of godly passion and if anything, “she should be seeking God’s help now with no job in sight.”
After church, Sierra sat down with Annie to help her with a response to her first “Ask Annie question for the magazine. Sierra’s answer was simple – tell the woman to give the guy the boot because he cheated on her – simple. Annie, however, felt that was wrong since they had a child together and weren’t married. Sierra said giving him the boot now would save her from divorcing him later if they married, but Annie said “you know how God hates divorce.” Annie just didn’t have the heart to advise a woman to break-up with the father of her child and what if she steered the woman wrong? Annie decided she needed time to pray about it, as the column wasn’t due until Wednesday.
The following day cowboy, Dylan Taylor showed up at Annie’s door once again pleading with her to come and help his horse, Braveheart. The last thing Annie wanted to do was spend time with Dylan but his begging and pleading was breaking her down and she hated to see the poor, Braveheart suffer anymore. Dylan said he would pay her whatever she wanted although he didn’t really have the money to be making that kind of offer. Annie thought for a few minutes then it suddenly dawned on her. She told Dylan she’d do it on one condition, that he help her with her new love and relationship column since Dylan had had so much experience. She said it would be a straight trade with equal time and Dylan readily accepted her offer. Annie felt confident she could handle Dylan’s “flirtatious ways just fine” but also knew deep down in her heart she’d just “signed up for all kinds of trouble.” They would meet every Thursday for Annie to work with Braveheart and when she was done they’d work on her responses for the column.
As the story continues, Annie tries hard to mother, Sierra along what she thinks is the correct path her life should take. Annie continues to have this good-bad, love-hate relationship with Dylan but the story turns into the most sweet, loving, humbling, romantic, ingratiating tale I’ve ever read. And most of all, there is a hugely unexpected twist in Sierra’s life that is going to knock your socks off!
The Trouble With Cowboys, I think, leaves us with the message that no matter what we think our lives should be, or what we want or feel we need, or no matter how much praying, asking, begging of God we do to provide us with what we ask for, it just isn’t going to happen. God is in the driver’s seat in each of our lives and it is His will that thy will be done.
I totally fell in love with the very well developed characters in this novel and with the story itself and plan to read it again as I enjoyed it that much. I read it in one sitting and I’ll definitely be passing the title of this one onto all my friends. Excellent!!
I’d also like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book. The comments expressed in the “My Review” section above are purely my own and I received no monies or any form of compensation whatsoever for those comments.