Beach Reading: Cowboy Edition

May 25, 2014

One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is having access to some very fine beaches.  I have a couple of favorites including Zuma Beach and El Portal in Hermosa Beach.  Nothing beats the funky vibe of Venice.  And if you are in the know, there are some pretty sweet secret spots here and there along PCH.

As soon as summer starts, bookstores and magazines chirp about "beach reading."  I think this is an important label.  It appears to give people who read Serious Literature an out to pick up something fun, sweet, and perhaps even sexy that they can stuff in their beach bags next to the sunscreen and the coconut water.

Of course, you and I know the truth.  We "beach read" all year long.  We take our beach reading to work on lunch breaks.  We take our beach reading on the plane to visit our folks for Thanksgiving.  We beach read while ice fishing on frozen lakes.

Since I enjoy such contrasts, when I actually do go to the beach, I like to take with me things that don't usually appear at the beach.  Like cowboys. 

Image from flickr.

Here's Alan Jackson's "Chattahootchee" to get us in the mood.




First up is a sweet short story by Adele Downs called "Kissing Her Cowboy."

Image from Adele Downs' blog.
In "Kissing Her Cowboy," Daisy, a cop looking to join a mounted police unit, takes riding lessons from Trey, a cowboy recovering from a bad injury.  Problem?  Daisy is afraid of horses, and Trey needs to use all of his powers of persuasion to gain her trust.  Downs' writing packs a wallop.  In a short amount of time, I felt invested in the characters, felt the pain of their emotional scars, and began to root for both of them.  Though there is no explicit sex, there is a lot of sexual tension, and boy howdy can the author write a kiss.

Image from loreleijames.com.
On the other side of the sexytime spectrum is an erotic romance novel called Saddled and Spurred by Lorelei James.  This is the first time I've read anything by James and it will definitely not be the last.  Here's the back cover copy.
This beauty is no greenhorn-and she's about to rope the man of her dreams.

Cattleman Bran Turner is left shorthanded during busy calving season when a bull tramples his hired hand. Rural Wyoming isn't exactly a hotbed of qualified candidates, and the only applicant for the position is the pampered town beauty, Harper Masterson. The curvy cowgirl gets under Bran's skin at every turn, but with no other options, he reluctantly hires her.

When sexual sparks ignite, down-on-her-luck Harper enjoys convincing Bran that not only is she capable of pulling calves, feeding livestock, and handling backbreaking ranch chores, but she doesn't mind getting down and dirty, either. Harper also discovers the hot-bodied cowboy isn't all work and no horseplay...and he's got more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

Bran will learn quickly that Harper is no country mouse-and that she might just have what it takes to stick around for the long haul.
I'm halfway through the book and I find Bran to be one of my favorite protagonists in a long time.  He's a bit of a mystery, more private and withdrawn than the swaggering cattlemen who appear to populate the town of Muddy Gap.  But James writes his inner monologue so richly that you can't help feeling his many feels, as they say on the internetz.

And he is a absolute beast in bed.  James writes incredible sex scenes. I suggest you set up your beach towel close to the water.  That way, if you overheat, all you have to do is take a plunge.

There you have it, the two books in my beach bag.  Happy reading!