I Heart Cowboys
Wherever they may roam
I grew up on country music, so I'll just put that right out there. Montana, Big Sky Country, Herefords and horses, miles of empty highway, and best of all, cowboys in tight blue jeans and boots … oh, yeah. Cowboys have the western mystique goin' on. The heroes of the mountains and plains who ride in on a big horse (or pickup truck) and save everyone from the bad guys.
And the fun thing about cowboys? They are not just found in the American West.
Think about it. What makes a cowboy?
He's bigger than life, with more courage than other men. He's reckless and loves a good stunt, even if he may get hurt doing it—or maybe because of that adrenaline thrill! He can survive in his wild world and carve out a life for himself and his family. He has enemies, but he stands up to them, whether with guns blazing or fists flying. He has a peerless steed, pickup truck or even a flux capacitor. He's irresistible to women, but kinda bashful with the marrying kind. He's far from perfect—he makes mistakes, falls in with the wrong crowd, and is sometimes duped into taking the fall for a crime he didn't commit. He's a man with a past, but it can't destroy his true character, even though he may believe he's beyond hope.
We know, absolutely, that he'll win in the end. And he'll take us and his heroine on one heck of a ride.
Here are a few of the cowboys I've met lately in contemporary romance. Not all of them wear a big hat, but they all embody the cowboy mystique. And they can all hang their spurs on my bed post. Wait, I meant my e-reader. Yeah, that's what I meant.
Trace Montgomery in Beautifully Damaged by L.A. Fiore
Trace is a bare knuckle fighter from urban New York City. He has demons that would have destroyed a lesser man, but he's fought his way (literally) to wealth and status. His secret? He'd give it all up to save Ember Walsh. But while Ember may be a 'nice' girl, she's determined to ride to Trace's rescue as well. Can she heal this beautiful, damaged cowboy?
Jake McCallister in Bonds of Trust by Lynda Aicher
Jake's steed? A big Harley. His vocation? Dom. But this cowboy puts aside weariness with his lifestyle to ride to the rescue of a heroine who believes that she's unattractive and unlovable. After years of marriage to a man who didn't want her, Cali Reynolds wants to be swept off her feet, and shown how to blossom. Luckily for her, Jake saddles up. Can she rescue him from his blues?
Michael Kilbride in The Last Bride in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly
Finally freed from an Irish prison for a crime he didn't commit, this cowboy has lost his horse and his self-respect. Can he saddle up and gain it back? Perhaps, with the help of feisty school teacher Kylie O'Shea. But he's got an old enemy and a crooked sheriff (sorry, Gardai) on their trail as well. Bring your hankie. You'll be needin' one before this Irish ballad is sung.
Seth 'Ghost' Warren in Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn
Macy Rodgers is a cowgirl through and through, with little use for any tattoo artist with a smart mouth and a penchant for grunge rock (even one as hot as Vin Diesel). But Seth breaks down all the fences she's built to hide her fear that she'll never ride again, and she discovers that back in the saddle is where she belongs—in more ways than one. PS. Best hero dialogue ever. This cowboy aims for the heart.
Jack Morgan in Taming the Vampire by Chloe Hart
Liz Marlowe is one tough chick. She fights, she slays rogue vampires. But when a new enemy strikes the moonlit streets of her city, she must turn to the powerful vamp she despises (and desires) for help. Being a true hero in his own dark way, Jack allows this cowgirl to saddle him for a ride to the rescue. Wonder how you say 'Yeehaw!' in Fae?
Rodion Andreyavitch in Smoke and Mirrors by Marie Treanor
Nell Black is one of the few people in Scotland who speak Zavrekian. Thus she ends up translating for police and a handsome mobster. She's stunned by his Russian good looks, but not enough to help him steal from the Russian mafia. Until he throws her on the back of his horse (okay, it was a European car) and rides away with her. This story has more twists and turns than a lariat, but Rodion is a true cowboy, riding hell-bent to rescue Nell, and—in true Western tradition—find a lost treasure.
Web Isley in Lone Star by Josh Lanyon
Mitch Evans was a young Texan who had the courage to go after his dreams. Not only did he admit he was gay in a rural community, he danced his way to the peak of American ballet. But it cost him his heart, because cowboy Web Isley could not muster the same level of courage when they were young. Now Mitch is back, and Web is a Texas Ranger (holy longhorns, that's how I spell sexy!). Will they get it right the second go round, or is Mitch doomed to fail at this romance rodeo?
And finally, what kind of wrangler would I be if I didn't saddle up one of my own cowboys?
Stone Masterson, the hero of Heart of Stone has a rep as one of the meanest outlaws in the galaxy. But now he's gone straight, and he wants other space pirates off his home range planet. He's ready to shoot them to the moon when Rose Thorne pulls a laser on him, demanding to know what he's done with her brother. Can Stone keep her safe while he springs the trap? One thing's for sure, it's gonna be a red hot ride in his trusty cruiser.
How about you? Who's the best cowboy hero you've met lately? Does he wear a Stetson and a pair of Justin's or a corporate business suit?
The Romance Zone wants to know who you'd lasso and brand with a great big heart if you had the chance.
Columnist: Cathryn Cade writes red hot romance for Samhain Publishing. Her erotic paranormal romances will take you from Hawaii to galaxies far away, with heroes who are more than men, and heroines who are woman enough for any adventure. She loves to hear from readers, and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and email. Stop by her website at http://www.cathryncade.com for these links, and to see her complete book list, read excerpts and fabulous reviews, and sign up for her newsletter.