Howdy Ma'am (Bullrider Series #1)

Mary J.
ISBN Number: 

WESTERN:   Velia Armano lives in a violent, abusive relationship with her drug-addicted husband. Finally seeing where her marriage will end and plucking up the courage to leave, she resigns her job and heads to Tucson, Arizona, leaving her husband and her parents behind in Chicago. A travel photographer, Velia opens up a small business shooting weddings, children and selling photos to a stock photo company. Caulder McCutchen tours the bull-riding circuit and has high hopes of winning the championship in the coming year. Photographing his year in images is also a good way to broaden his profile. When Velia takes up the offer of traveling with Caulder it's also an opportunity to put her past behind her.

Though this is a fairly standard romance in many ways, it also has some pleasant surprises. Firstly, the hero's career. There are not too many romances that have either rodeo or bull-riding heroes. Details of the bull-riding circuit and the sport added authenticity. Secondly, the romantic relationship itself was written plausibly. Despite the initial attraction, their relationship progressed relatively smoothly and though Velia especially was hesitant to move onto another relationship, neither of them shied away from confessing their love. This makes a very enjoyable change to the usual romances. However, it was hard to believe that neither Velia's father nor the men who had protected her all her life were unaware of her husband's abuse. Or, that when she left Chicago her father (given his position), didn't go after the husband. The prose was also fairly average. Still, happily recommended for readers especially who enjoy sports-themed romances and contemporary cowboy westerns.

Jill MacKenzie