Joe was Dutch’s best friend. He is an ex-champion bull rider, but after getting injured, he retired and used his winnings to buy the ranch that his parents owned. Joe had been married to Becca, another rodeo worker, but they had only been married two years when she was killed while barrel racing. After his wife’s death, he met Dutch, who got him involved in becoming a cutting horse cowboy. Dutch’s friendship and his work had taken his mind off of losing Becca. That was two years ago, but he is still finding it hard to move on. Since her death, he has been unable to find interest in any other female. But now that Dutch is gone, it is like a double whammy. He doesn’t know if he can get over the deaths of the two people he had loved so much. Dutch had asked him not to contact Mariah until after the funeral, which is what he did. Three weeks before his death, Dutch had traded a prize horse for the rundown cabin and barn on a small piece of land adjoining Joe’s ranch. Now Joe in involved in working with the horse, Miracle, for an upcoming competition that Joe is sure they can win.
When Mariah arrives at Joe’s ranch, she mistakes it for her father’s ranch. She is shocked to see the naked cowboy wearing a Stetson, sitting in a golden horse trough and tries to run him off. But the cowboy is Joe and although he has no idea how he came to be nude in the trough, he lets her know the place belongs to him. He points her to her father’s ranch, but he is shocked at the instant attraction he feels for her. He is not ready for this. After all, he couldn’t bear to lose someone else close to him. So he knows he must get her to leave Jubilee, the small town where he lives.
Mariah is not surprised to see how rundown her father’s cabin is, despite her hope that things would be better. Initially, she decides to just stay in Jubilee until after the competition when Joe can buy her out. However, she begins to see this as her chance to start up her own wedding planning business, as she meanwhile tries to ignore her attraction to Joe. After all, men have always let her down. But she can’t help how she responds to that handsome cowboy. Can she convince him that love can strike twice in one lifetime?
A touching read, THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE, the first book in phenomenal author Lori Wilde new JUBILEE, TEXAS series, is passionate, witty and packed with emotion. Joe is having trouble getting over the deaths of his wife and his best friend. Due to this, he is afraid that he may be attracted to Mariah because she resembles Becca in some ways. He also fears losing someone else dear to him. Mariah has never been able to trust the men in her life and is used to adjusting herself to fit in wherever she goes. Now all she wants is to be herself, have her own wedding planning business and find love. The chemistry between these two is instantaneous and combustible. Although the city girl and country boy seem mismatched at first glance, they are actually perfectly suited as readers will discover. Brimming with passion, sexual tension, humor, clever banter, life’s tragedies, hunky cowboys in Stetsons and romance, this book will have you laughing one moment and close to tears the next. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a truly enjoyable read and I look forward to Ms. Wilde’s next novel.