When Essex lifestyle blogger and fashionista, Gracie Elliott crash lands into the life of Colorado mountain man Koa Carmichael, fists, chemistry and sexual banter ensue. After sharing some sweet, emotional as well as laugh-out-loud moments, they find it impossible to deny that they might have just discovered what neither of them knew they were looking for.
CowSex, sometimes all you need is a little bit.
Gracie Elliot, 32, is bound and determined to take her Colorado vacation with her long-time live-in boyfriend or not. So when he bails, she goes alone. Only turns out she’s not hauled up in the snowy retreat by herself.
My expectations on this were way off what the story actually delivers. The blurb suggests a stranded together sexy, romantic comedy. Instead what I discovered is a tale about two people—one crazy and desperate, one with a lot of baggage, who find a reprieve from temporary loneliness and a way to scratch nothing more than an itch in a fling that realistically would go nowhere.
“Laugh-out-loud moments?” I didn’t read any. Culture clash is a big theme, but it came across forced. The ongoing conversations where Gracie rolls off with British terms he’s unfamiliar with and he acts puzzled felt contrived and grew old fast. It’s as if the author simply made a list of British vernacular and wrote the dialogue around it. (And Americans do know that hot tubs are also called spas and jacuzzis.) None of this was “flirty banter,” and I didn’t feel any “chemistry” between them.
I found Gracie simply obnoxious. Stubborn and entitled would be good descriptors too. The situation when she arrives was obvious long before it sunk in to her, and then she continues to treat Koa like crap even though it’s his own house. Only five chapters in and I was already starting to understand why her ex-boyfriend didn’t want to spend any time with her. And since it’s established that Koa has bad taste in women, his attraction to her wasn’t exactly a measure of her greatness. Not to mention, talking about your vibrator and toilet wipes to an almost stranger does not make for sizzling chemistry, and drugstore flowers and candy as an afterthought during a condom purchase does not make for romance. That leads me to the problems with Koa Carmichael, 38, as a romantic hero…
I wasn’t sold on them finding each other. If anything, they find exactly what they don't need. See Gracie, who runs a business out of England, wants a devoted man to settle down with and have kids. It’s why she broke up with her boyfriend. Koa has already been married twice and is the father of two kids. His backstory is angsty and lends itself to immature drama in the present. Koa also has an on-again/off-again fuck buddy he’s known since high school who would like to make something more of their arrangement. I felt bad for her because Koa was already getting intimate with Gracie when she calls. And at that point, I was done for with Koa as a book boyfriend. There was nothing to convince me he had any deep interest in Gracie other than as a sex partner and I certainly didn’t understand why she fell in insta-love with him all of a sudden. All I sensed was two people who confused the urge for sex with something more. I also suspected that Koa too had a drinking problem. Even more mind boggling was Gracie’s claim to “how perfect it all is” only a chapter after Koa all but forces her to not use protection, and they argue about it.
Told via Gracie and Koa’s alternating first person POV, I couldn’t stand either of them! For thirty-something people they both behaved immaturely and would have been better off getting their lives together separately. Honestly after the snow storm passed, there was no compelling reason for them to even be “thrown together” anymore. Be aware this is not a steamy stranded together erotic romance. A lot of the sex scenes are either fade to black or simply referred to and don’t occur till 70%.
A final aspect that lowered my rating—the presentation of women in this tale was quite bothersome. Gracie’s a hot mess and all of the other women Koa has been with are presented as conniving, manipulative, gold digging, cheating, alcoholic, and/or easy. Most were a combination. Gracie, while supposedly standing up for herself, resorts to their same level of trash talk and name calling. Words like cunt, prostitute, whore, bitch, and more are thrown around on multiple occasions. That’s not how intelligent, mature women, and certainly not ones with or around children, behave or communicate. It added a very crass tone to the story that was a huge turn-off. I closed the last page with a headache.
*It is the policy of the blog to not withhold or delay a review no matter the star rating. This is to help ensure that readers receive a fair sampling of reviews from all ends of the rating spectrum. However, readers should be aware that an email on behalf of the author was circulated to recipients of ARCs requesting that reviewers who did not enjoy the title delay their review till after October 2, 2017. Therefore, readers should be aware that reviews for this title were attempted to be suppressed and may not be an accurate representation of the title's reception.
“He scoops ice out of a drawer in the freezer and wraps the tea towel around it before heading back towards me and placing his makeshift ice pack gently on the back of my wrist.
“Hold this in place,” he orders. I do as I’m told—with a lot of concentration, this is something I am occasionally able to do.
I continue to watch him as he repeats his movements from earlier, only this time he slides the ice pack under my wrist.
He then proceeds to retrieve what I assume are a couple of painkillers from a pack he takes from the pantry. He hands them to me, and I put them in my mouth before accepting a bottle of water he pulled from the fridge.
“You drugging me?” I question.
“Yep. They’re magic pills that stop you from talking, but they only work on beautiful girls. Not sure if you qualify.”
“Oh, and he’s a fucking comedian as well as a first-aider. What other skills can you impress me with, Cowboy?”
He scratches at his beard and gives his head a slight shake. “You have a smart mouth for a little-bit, anyone ever tell you that?”
All the time.
“And you should quit with the cussing. It doesn’t become you.”
We stare at each other in silence for a few seconds, and I feel a bit mean for being rude. He didn’t have to help me out with my arm, but he did, and he did it with a gentleness that surprised me.
“So, where’d you learn the first-aid skills?”
“Played a lot of football, got a lot of injuries, learned how to fix myself up.”
“By football, I assume you mean that game where men wear lots of padding, run along carrying a wonky ball, knock other men out of the way until they reach a line, where they then proceed to throw down the wonky ball and score a point, or a goal, or something similar? Would that be the game you’re referring to?”
He folds his arms across his chest and leans back against the worktop opposite where he sat me.
“It would be the game that’s played something like the way you described that I’m talking about, yes.”
I nod and then shake my head. “Always puzzled me why you would call that football when so much of the game is played with the hands. The foot and the ball, rarely actually coming into contact.”
“Well, what would you call it?”
“Big men that are scared of getting hurt, so they wear lots of padding while they run, ball.”
“Now who’s being a comedian?”
“I’m female, so it’s comedienne.”
“What’s the difference?”
“We’re actually much funnier.”
That earns me a smirk, and I swing my legs while sitting on the worktop, basking in the satisfaction that I’ve almost made him smile.”
Lesley Jones (c) 2017