- Title: Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley)
- Classification: Adult Fiction
- Genre: Contemporary Romance/Cowboy
- Format: Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Forever (April 30, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 1455515191
- ISBN-13: 978-1455515196
- Author's Website: http://www.janegraves.com/
Some say it takes a village to raise a child, but in truth, it takes only one. With luck, that person is the right one, but sometimes they're not. A 'village' can, however, help to raise a child, but in truth, only one person can ensure whether that child will be a good person or a bad one and that person is the child itself. Events and people may mold and shape us, but we have the ultimate say in how we turn out. Such was the case for Luke Dawson. Once known as a bad seed in Rainbow Valley, the 'village' he lived in had failed him. Condemning him not only for his sins, but those of his father. The odds had been stacked against him from almost the moment he was born. Years ago he finally realized it and came to conclusion the only way he'd be able rise above the bad reputation he'd garnered over the years was to move to some place where no one knew him or held any preconceived notions about him. It had been eleven years since he left Rainbow Valley, and he'd never looked back. Now he's returned for his father's funeral and to lay to rest the ghosts of his past.
Eleven years ago Luke and Shannon had gotten to know each other. To Luke, their friendship had meant the world. He'd allowed her to see the real Luke. Something he had never let anyone else glimpse before, and she seemed to like what she'd seen. But in one night everything had changed, and the one and only person he'd ever allowed himself to open up to and become close to had betrayed him in a way that she could never have, at the time, understood. That very night he'd pack up all that he owned in the world and left town in search of a better life. When he'd come back to lay his father to rest, he had never expected to find her still here. He'd never expected the feelings he'd had for her to resurface. He never expected they'd get a second chance to get things right.
Luke Dawson was once as wild, rebellious, and troubled teen. His reputation had him tagged as trouble with a capital 'T', and if there was trouble to be had, he'd most likely be in the center of it. Over the years, he's tried to come to terms with his past and put it behind him. In the years since he left, he's cleaned up his act and has established himself as one of the best bull riders in the country and is favored to win the World Championship. After his father's funeral, he decided to take one last look at his boyhood home. His father being drunk more often than sober had left the place in disrepair, and as Luke attempted to enter the building he'd fallen through the floorboards injuring his knee. With the hospital bills eating up what little savings he had, he'd been forced to stay in Rainbow Valley to recuperate, and the only suitable job open to him was working at the local animal shelter which Shannon North runs.
Shannon remembers Luke just as much as he remembers her. She's reluctant to take him on at the shelter, but as she's desperate for help, she finally caves. Luke's homecoming brings back old memories and slowly, as the two work together, Shannon sees glimpses of the boy she once knew, and the man he's become. There's more to Luke than meets the eye. Once again she's torn between what she's beginning to feel for Luke and what her family expects of her. With Luke declaring he'll be leaving town just as soon as his leg heals, she's doubly conflicted about whether a relationship is worth starting. With Luke making it clear he wants her, she finds the sexy cowboy with the hidden soft side hard to resist.
Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I absolutely adored Luke and how we slowly find out what happened between him and Shannon's in the past. I loved the way the two bantered via song titles. It was very cute. I enjoyed how each had issues from their past which needed to be resolved before their relationship could move forward. I liked finding out about Luke's tragic past which explained so much. I have to admit I'm a sucker for a tortured hero and Luke's past endeared him to me. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.