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The Cowboy (Bitter Creek #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,896 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Joan Johnston transports us to rugged present-day Texas - a place of wide-open prairies and unbridled ambitions - where two ranching families, the Blackthornes and the Creeds, are locked in a bitter century-old feud. Here, Johnston brings to life a breathtaking love story - between the Blackthornes' oldest son and the Creeds' beautiful daughter - a magnificent novel of pas ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 8th 2000 by Dell (first published February 1st 2000)
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Miss Kim
Jun 09, 2008 Miss Kim rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: suckers for romance series
Recommended to Miss Kim by: Cristel Combs
Shelves: 2008
This is my first Joan Johnston book, and I am pleased. I felt I knew and understood the feelings of each player in the story.

The Creeds and Blackthornes are the modern day Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. The families have been feuding for years over land, love, money… you name it. The Blackthornes are very wealthy, while the Creeds struggle on a daily basis just to survive.

Callie Creed and Trace Blackthorne fell in love while in college and kept their relationship secret. Then a tragic accident happened
Lover of Romance

Trace Blackthorne grew up being taught to go after what you want. In college he fell in love with Callie Creed, a daughter of a man who is his father’s enemy. Their families have been in a century old feud. One that has festered over the years. But when an accident from his brother harms Callie’s brother, their relationship takes a turn for the worst. Callie knows her family needs her, but Trace wants to leave his family and make his own way. Callie chose her family over Trace and he left
Jul 03, 2012 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenn by: Read along with Bethany
Blackthornes and Creeds have a long standing family feud. Although at one point, generations in the past, they were related through a marriage of a Creed to a Blackthorne. However this doesn't matter as the feud is long standing and very strong with the current generation.

Trace and Callie, who are 4 years apart, have liked each other from a distance. Once they get to college they date and fall in love. A tragedy strikes and it tears them apart leaving one of them with a major secret that the ot
Kym McNabney
May 23, 2012 Kym McNabney rated it it was amazing
Okay, let me just say if you don't have time to read, don't even open up this book. Why, because you won't be able to put it down!!!

I love Joan Johnston's books, and this one was no exception. Right from the very first page I was hooked, and every page after, right to the very last.

I zipped though this book in only a few short days, and I'm not a fast reader, have three young kids, work part time, etc., otherwise I probably would have read it in one sitting. I had a very hard time doing anything
Apr 21, 2016 Jules2016 rated it did not like it
Wow, this book was absolutely fucking terrible! It had everything I loath and detest in romance novels: whiny, rude kids who never shut up, an idiotic, judgmental and unsympathetic heroine who runs hot and cold and has zero common sense, One dimensional secondary characters with predictable villains, One sided romance where the hero acts like a pathetic dog groveling and begging for the heroine's love and affection while she constantly rebuffs him, speaks badly of his family and runs away from h ...more
Sep 30, 2011 Christine rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
The biggest problem with this book: NOTHING CHANGED. The problem in the prologue is the exact same problem they have in the last chapter, but suddenly, after a bunch of random stuff happens, they can live HEA now. The characters themselves made no moves towards greater self understanding, they didn't compromise, they didn't even fall in love...they were IN LOVE in the prologue!

The second biggest problem with this book: Heroine doesn't tell hero she's pregnant with his child. Ugh! I almost put i
Jan 07, 2012 Jolene rated it it was ok
I was pretty much stunned and engthralled when I read Comanche Woman, the very first novel I had ever read by Joan Johnston. You could even say wowed. But then, I also happen to be a sucker for historical romance, so I'm sure that played a part in my being enamored of it. The Cowboy bummed me out. It was a minor build-up with a belly-flop ending. Not to mention that the main character is SO frustrating that I think I sighed in exasperation throughout the story. She can't decide what she wants fo ...more
Heather andrews
Nov 10, 2013 Heather andrews rated it it was amazing
Trace, I loved him, even in the prologue, "Trace rose, letting the sheet drop. "So? You can come live with me." He gets possessive and the feelings that were there years ago are still there, "and he gave you a son," Trace accused, "that should have been mine. Mine, Callie, not his." He's really good with kids and that's when I fell in love with him more, "Trace held out his arms, and the little girl came running to him. He gathered her up and felt her soft breath against his throat as he patted ...more
Tonya Lucas
Jun 27, 2014 Tonya Lucas rated it it was amazing
Love love this book, can't wait to read more @ Bitter Creek! Joan Johnston knows how to weave a tale of tribulation, greed, deception, & love Into a masterful and intriguing story. This
Is the 2nd time I've read this book and if you haven't read it, you need to grab a copy enjoy her exceptional story. 5 Stars and it will leave you with a book hangover.
Apr 25, 2008 Christel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Contemporary romance readers
Shelves: joan-johnston
Trace Blackthornes and Callie Creed Monroe's story. THis starts the 4 book Bitter Creek Series. Excellent beginning. The characters are well developed and the story is enthralling. You just have to keep the substories seperated from one another. The author really knows how to weave a tale and keep everything in perspective.
Nov 22, 2011 Trewen rated it it was ok
Callie and Trace are two of the most frustrating characters I've come across for a while.
She blames him for a choice SHE made long ago and he bullies her into getting his way.
And the hate that was fostered in Callie's home was gross.
I doubt I'll finish the series.
Not my style.
Nov 23, 2012 Chris rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance
Callie got on my nerves. She kept making bad choices, insisting she was being responsible while not taking responsibility for anything. And forced sex isn't romantic.
Andrea Hussey
Feb 04, 2013 Andrea Hussey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
We jump straight in2 fam. probs. Her brother might not mak it&she was a blubbering baby&he seemed like a jerk.
Case in point: “Wut the hell is wrong, Callie?”
Is that wut u say wen sum1s shaken up? &she’s all, “There’s b-been an accident.” “He b-broke his neck.”
It’s annoying&pathetic. Callie proceeds 2 stutter&sob her way thru it.

“ur brother Owen was the 1 who tackled Sam. ur brother Owen is the 1 who broke his nek.”
Idt u had 2 specify that Owen is his brother. He nos who his
♥ Vonda M. Reid ♥
Overall Rating: 4.75
Action: 3.0 / Emotion: 4.5 / Romance: 5.0 / Sensuous: 2.0 / Suspense: 3.5 // Laughter: 0 // Tears: 4 / Teary: 1

The Cowboy: 4.75:
Joan Johnston has a wonderful gift when it comes to telling a story. Thus, it comes as no surprise that The Cowboy, the first book in The Bitter Creek Series draws the reader into the lives of the characters that walk through the pages of this book and keeps readers engaged until that very last sentence.

Hero: 4.75:
Trace Blackthorne: A steadfast hero
Dec 16, 2016 Bookangel rated it did not like it
What can I say... the heroine was awful. Trace actually seemed like a decent guy actually cared about this moron but Callie was awful. She was a disgusting miserable excuse for a person . And why did she keep acting as if his family was horrible when she married him and everyone besides Blackjack seemed to want to be friends and family with her. She's just straight up awful. For nearly the whole novel I kept praying Trace would leave her and take the two children who actually appeared to like hi ...more
Julie Barrett
Dec 01, 2011 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cowboy by joan johnstone
2 families have a feud, The main from one hooks up with a girl from the other.
11 yrs later they are brought back together again.
Lot of things that happened in the past are brought to the forefront and the ones involved now
find out the truth of what really transpired and why things happened the way they did.
A lot of misunderstandings along with her and he finding out about their parents misgivings takes its toll.

She packs a picnic lunch and sends her parents out to the
3.7 Stars. Public Library 12/10/14. I've read a couple of books from the "Mail-Order Brides" series so it was fun to meet the decedents of those Creeds. The Blackthornes and Creeds feud is still going strong a 100 years plus later. I had been hoping that the Creeds situation would've of changed but their still down and out while the Blackthornes are King of the hill. In this story the two oldest children from the families fall in love but tragedy and obligations tear them apart. If you liked Ms. ...more
Dec 28, 2007 Joy rated it really liked it
I don't recall why I bought this book back in 2007. The only thing I can think is that I may have FOUND it somewhere. It was in like new condition and, looking for some reeeeeally light reading, of the "I only need a distraction" type, I pulled it out of the bottom of my "to read" box. It's fiction and about a couple of college-age Texas kids who give in to their hormones and end up furthering a decades-old hatred between their families.

The bulk of the story takes place in present day and they m
Jan 28, 2017 Marcia rated it really liked it
I disliked Callie from the Prologue. She knew when she began her relationship with Trace, that their two families have had a feud (with a few unions in between) since the War Between the States, so tearfully breaking it off after hearing her brother Sam was paralyzed in a football practice accident by Trace's brother without telling him that she was pregnant with his child was the act of a coward. Trace is heart broken and takes off, but then hears that she has married, he disappears for 11 year ...more
Elise Wilson
Jan 25, 2011 Elise Wilson rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because of the positive reviews and the fact that it was on the NYT bestseller list. It is a well-written story, though I think the plot is a tad bit melodramatic. I did like the overall storyline of Trace and Callie coming from feuding families, yet managing to fall in love -- and attempt to overcome obstacles. I liked Trace's character better than Callie's. He seemed more mature and ready to forgive. I tried to put myself in Callie's place and see the family and intimate ...more
Josette Reuel
Sep 28, 2013 Josette Reuel rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this story, but the listing of horse names and lineage was over the top and took away from the story for me. The family against family storyline felt overdone and unrealistic for today's society. There were concepts that weren't followed through or explained that I felt may have helped the story. At times it felt like too much going on. As for the angst between the hero heroine, it was very unrealistic to me. I liked the hero, but hated the heroine. Her whiny attitude whe ...more
Evanlea Author
Aug 05, 2013 Evanlea Author rated it it was ok
Shelves: own_read, paperback
I really wanted to like this story, but the listing of horse names and lineage was over the top and took away from the story for me. The family against family storyline felt overdone and unrealistic for today's society. There were concepts that weren't followed through or explained that I felt may have helped the story. At times it felt like too much going on. As for the angst between the hero heroine, it was very unrealistic to me. I liked the hero, but hated the heroine. Her whiny attitude whe ...more
June 2016
For contemporary romance/western, Johnston knows how to hook you. Romance, suspense, anxiety, a bit of a thriller, all the drama, everything that keeps you flipping the pages. Trace is a wonderful alpha male, sure he makes mistakes but damn. Callie, I feel for her, but sheesh, can we say "RUG" she just lets the men in her family walk all over her. My reread defiantly made me remember why I like Johnston's take on modern romance in texas

May 2014
okay i wasnt sure if i would like this one,
Mar 10, 2011 K rated it really liked it
This is book one of a series, the cowboy, the Texan, and the Loner. The story of the Blackthorne's and Creed Family's and of a love that is almost impossible for Trace Blackthorne and Callie Creed which started in High School.Two Ranching Family's with a long standing feud.

On the Creed and Coburn family side, its_Lone Star trilogy,_Frontier Woman,Comanche Woman and Texas Woman.
Its a style of writing that moves along and makes you want to know more of the ranching and people in the story and wha
Jun 17, 2014 Caro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This was a good book. The plot was good and this was written pretty well. I like the twists that were thrown in too. However...the characters weren't my cuppa joe. I basically wanted to bang heads the entire time I was reading, especially the leads. About halfway through I was just wanting to read to see what happens (personality-wise) but the twists kept me reading. By the end I was thinking...finally! It has a good HEA though. A book more for passing time than anything else really, but not too ...more
Recreational Reader
Jun 17, 2013 Recreational Reader rated it really liked it
Shelves: western-romance
This was a tough one to rate.... I debated giving it 3 stars and at one point I almost set the book aside and stopped reading it. It's not that that writing is bad it's that the plot was problematic for me. Too many inconsistencies. That being said I liked the writing style and the main character (cowboy) was really likeable so by the time I finished I decided to give it 4 stars. But there are problems with the plot and the heroine is very annoying....
Dec 19, 2016 Bunga rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cowboy
Sempat kecele. Saya kira ini historical romance tema cowboy, trnyata settingnya jaman modern. Tapi biarpun begitu buku ini critanya baguuussss... Saya langsung jatuh cinta sejak halaman pertama. Plotnya sih tentang CLBK dan dicritakan dgn cantik & gak maksa. Saya paling suka plot CLBK, second chance & ada tokoh anak-anak kecilnya. Top abis.
Sep 27, 2013 Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Family duty vs one's desires battled it out in this book. There were informative nuggets about ranching scattered through the pages. Many of the dangers ranchers face were depicted. Plenty of characters kept the story interesting and several intense scenes had my mind racing. I liked the differences in the family dynamics and including children gave the characters more depth.
Jenny Trang
Nov 09, 2008 Jenny Trang rated it really liked it
A dramatic, romantic novel.. My favorite genres! I loved this book and read it in a few days during the summer. It was on the New York Times Bestseller list, so I guess that's why I picked it up in the first place. This book kind of reminds me of The Notebook. Anyhoo, it was a real page-turner and a worthwhile book.
Jaime Jones
Sep 29, 2013 Jaime Jones rated it liked it
I don't know .... It was ok but I enjoyed the prequels more. I thought Callie was stupid to hide Eli from Trace and the animosity for each family made me crazy, plus the love scenes were very rushed! I might read the next one just to see how the series progresses. I typically don't like at least one of them.
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Joan Johnston (born Little Rock, Arkansas) is a best-selling American author of over forty contemporary and historical romance novels.

Johnston was the third of seven children born to an Air Force sergeant and his music-teacher wife. She received a B.A. in theatre arts from Jacksonville University in 1970, then earning an M.A. in theatre from the University of Illinois, Urbana in 1971. She received
More about Joan Johnston...

Other Books in the Series

Bitter Creek (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Texan (Bitter Creek, #2)
  • The Loner (Bitter Creek, #3)
  • The Price (Bitter Creek, #4)
  • The Rivals (Bitter Creek, #5)
  • The Next Mrs. Blackthorne (Bitter Creek, #6)
  • A Stranger's Game (Bitter Creek, #7)
  • Shattered (Bitter Creek, #8)
  • Sinful (Bitter Creek, #9)
  • Shameless (Bitter Creek #10)
  • Surrender: A Bitter Creek Novel

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“I never got to take you to the prom. You went with Henry Featherstone. And you wore a peach-colored dress.”
“How could you possibly know that?” Callie asked.
“Because I saw you walk in with him.”
“You didn’t know I was alive in high school,” Callie scoffed.
“You had algebra first period, across the hall from my trig class. You ate a sack lunch with the same three girls every day, Lou Ann, Becky and Robbie Sue. You spent your free period in the library reading Hemingway and Steinbeck. And you went straight home after school without doing any extracurricular activities, except on Thursdays. For some reason, on Thursdays you showed up at football practice. Why was that, Callie?”
Callie was confused. How could Trace possibly know so much about her activities in high school? They hadn’t even met until she showed up at the University of Texas campus. “I don’t understand,” she said.
“You haven’t answered my question. Why did you come to football practice on Thursdays?”
“Because that was the day I did the grocery shopping, and I didn’t have to be home until later.”
“Why were you there, Calllie?”
Callie stared into his eyes, afraid to admit the truth. But what difference could it possibly make now? She swallowed hard and said, “I was there to see you.”
He gave a sigh of satisfaction. “I hoped that was it. But I never knew for sure.”
Callie’s brow furrowed. “You wanted me to notice you?”
“I noticed you. Couldn’t you feel my eyes on you? Didn’t you ever sense the force of my boyish lust? I had it bad for you my senior year. I couldn’t walk past you in the hall without needing to hold my books in my lap when I saw down in the next class.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
Trace chuckled. “I wish I were.”
“Then it wasn’t an accident, our meeting like that at UT?”
“That’s the miracle of it,” Trace said. “It was entirely by accident. Fate. Kisma. Karma. Whatever you want to call it.”
“Owen took a step forward, blocking Blackjack’s path. For the first time, Trace noticed Owen was wearing his badge above his heart. “You don’t want to make yourself any more of a suspect than you already are,” Owen said.
Blackjack made a dismissive sound. “Don’t pull that Texas Ranger bullshit with me, son. I diapered your bottom.”
“You’ve never touched a diaper in your life,” Owen countered.”
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