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Once a Cowboy

(The Cowboys #3)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  3,241 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Brodie Hayes is a former rodeo star, now a rancher--acowboy, through and through. But when he finds outsome shocking news about the circumstances of hisbirth, he begins to question his identity. Luckily, privateinvestigator Alexandra Donovan is there to help him findthe truth about who he is. Along the way, he discoversthat even a man who thought he'd be alone for the rest ...more
Paperback, Harlequin American Romance #1151, 246 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Harlequin American Romance (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,241 ratings  ·  206 reviews

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Suzie Quint
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I enjoyed the first half, but in the second half, things started to irk me. The author put back story in the character's mouths and as soon as she did, it stopped sounding like dialog and started sounding like a scripted info dump (which it was). The hero also related his two best friend's histories so completely that I suspect there is a book for each, but since I now feel like I know all about them, I feel no need to read their stories.

I liked stories where the H & h take their time falling in
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Every so often I get the urge to read one of these super cheesy romance novels. It's like getting a pint of Ben & Jerry's -- you know it's just full of empty calories with no nutrition, but you can't help yourself from devouring it.

This wasn't AS bad as other dime-store romances I've read...but it wasn't exactly a stimulating read either. Alex was way too Mary-Sue (she's beautiful, an awesome detective, insanely compassionate, and has a wacky-but-loveable family!) and Brodie "I have to go find
Cate Meredith
Oct 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
I just don't enjoy category romances very much, but this one was okay. There were some mechanical problems with it, like clunky writing:

By late afternoon she had a lot of information on Brodie Hayes. He’d earned lots of accolades.

"A lot" and "lots" could have been - and should have been - edited to something more exciting. There were several of these instances, plus a lot of info dumping. And though I realize this was not a law book I had to smirk at this:

The DA had its own investigators, but wh
Brodie Hayes is a former rodeo star, three times world champion, whose life unravels when P.I. Alex Donovan appears on his ranch, asking him to consent to a DNA test. Thinking it's probably some woman claiming he is the father of her baby, he's shocked to his core, when Alex informs him of a woman's claim that Brodie is her son.

With the test twice resulting 99.9% positive, Brodie is faced with a hard choice and an even harder journey toward self-discovery.

I was surprised how much I actually like
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books-read
What happens when a baby is stolen from the hospital forty years ago and the mother believes she’s found her baby… Once a Cowboy. This is such a story, but it is more than that, so much more. I loved this story and almost read it in a single sitting, but sometimes we do need to get a little sleep….
Brodie Hayes is a world class bull rider and has the scars to prove it. As a teen he saw his dream and went after it, even though it wasn’t what his parents wanted but, it was his dream and it was wh
CJ - It's only a Paper Moon
Listen, you're not going to go into this book expecting a work by Hesiod but this short Harlequin romance does its job. Boy meets girl, they are attracted to each other, slow build-up, conflict, they realize they have feelings for each other, pushing away by one or both parties, misery because they live each other, and then the HEA. This hits most of those points pretty well. The reasons were valid, the family drama was real, and the two mains were clearly meant to be together.

I will say that I
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: western-romance
This book started out great - female P.I. and a retired rodeo star cross paths when she investigates whether he was a baby stolen at birth. The usual angst of "who am i?" follows and contrives to keep the lovers apart. The plot gets way too contrived as the book progresses, though - turns out the P.I.'s mother was not really her mother either, but a dying-of-AIDS-ex-girlfriend-of-mean-as-nails daddy. But for the terrible plot twists and sappy epilogue, this book could have ranked three stars. As ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Full of tropes and unoriginal. Also problematic ideas about needing another person to complete you, women being there to help a man heal from some trauma, amazing sex on the first try, everyone’s dream is to get married and pop out kids, yada yada yada. Additionally, apparently these people don’t own cell phones because they are constantly driving to one another’s houses instead of calling. There are moments where it’s clear the author is describing something that is unfamiliar to her, and it’s ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys romance
This book was your typical Harlequin Romance with a Hunk you can’t resist and a woman who is unlike any woman he’s ever met before ;op
The story was interesting if you can get over the fact that the results were very predictable and the lead female (Alex) is kind of stockerish, seriously back off lady! Which I found endlessly entertaining since Alex is supposed to be an ex-cop now turned P.I.

I loved Naddy the eccentric grandmother and her wild ways, and I would have almost given this book four s
Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms
This was a very sweet story, about a cowboy whose life suddenly was turned completely upside down, and the woman who made him aware that he wasn't exactly who he had always thought he was.

Full review to come soon, both here and at (un)Conventional Bookviews.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it well enough, I liked a few of the characters and it wasn't horrible. The plot-line was unfortunately predicable from the moment you open the cover. But that's pretty much the case with cheese romances. ...more
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-during-2010
Good -- I really enjoyed it.
Betty Pickard
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having grown up with "America's Team" and Tom Landry from the '60s and '70s, I found this book delightful. It is a laugh on every page...wait a minute...every paragraph. Walt Garrison starts by giving us a glimpse of his early life in Lewisville, TX, not far from where I live. A thralling metroplis now, but during that time was a sleeply little farm fact the...Lewisville football team is known as the Fighting Farmers.
How did a boy go from these humble beginnings become a fullback for
Sandra Dagg
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once I started this, I hated to put it down! This is a great read, loved it from start to finish and highly recommend to anyone who likes Western Contemporary Romance. I have never felt the need to pick a book apart as to its construction or what it should be written like....I don't care, so long as the story holds my interest, and this one did. I read strictly for pleasure, I like happy endings and this book gave me one. Somebody wrote that the heroine was too that type of person ...more
I really loved this story.
I found the characters so real and funny. I loved everything and every one: Brodie the cowboy and former bull rider rodeo worldchampion, Alex and her lollipops, the way she is with her life and deal with a grumpy father : Buck and an unique grandma who made me laugh loud many times, his AUnt Cloe
I loved the pace of the story and the very interresting character studies, his parents (the old and the new family) but also, his friends/brothers forming the Amigos, the way B
The main theme of Once a Cowboy is that Brodie Hayes is first, last and always a cowboy. He is an ex-national champion bull rider, a rancher and loves his life.

Alexandra Donovan is a private investigator working as a 'partner' with her father, also an ex-cop, Buck. He thinks she is too soft and gets too involved with her cases but that is just how she is made as a caring and compassionate woman.

Alex takes a missing baby case that is forty years old and it turns out to totally turn Bodie's life u
Linda C
Alexandra 'Alex' Donovan, PI, is hired by the Braxton family to find out if Brodie Hayes is their son who was stolen from the hospital 40 years prior. Alex tries to be discreet in getting Brodie's DNA but a match forces her to confront him with the news, putting his whole life in question. The difficult period of figuring out what happened, adjusting, and forgiving brings Brodie and Alex into close contact as Alex attempts to help. This was a fairly predictable story but well handled. ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was good

I grew up with Harlequin books because my mother and grandmother read them. Its like going home for me. This one was great! The plot was intriguing and the characters likable.
Den Red
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I did not expect to enjoy this book so much as it isn’t my usual genre. ... If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to or
Pauline Frost
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this story where family matters. It was perfectly paced keeping my interest from the start. A twist to keep your interest until the end. Fast read.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Carole Martell
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't judge this book by its cover; a sweet story with well developed characters that is a quick pleasant breeze all the way to the end. ...more
Susan Parodi
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good romance novel. Not too mushy! Good plot, nice little twist in the falling action. I enjoyed it!
Apr 29, 2020 added it
Shelves: romance, 2019
I reviewed this for my YouTube channel, Op Shop Romance.
Barbara L January

Great book enjoyed characters. I like shorter books but this provided more development of characters. I would definitively recommend it.
Tara Lee
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(review originally posted on blog in March) I got Once a Cowboy by Linda Warren as a free Kindle read a while back. I have absolutely zero romance going on in my life so I figured why not live vicariously through someone else. Hehe. This someone else happened to be Alexandra Donovan, a private investigator who finds herself falling for the hunky cowboy who just so happens to be the subject of one of her investigations.

Helen Braxton comes in to Alex's office asking her to check out rodeo star Br
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance

This book is okay. The writing was very good. But I find the plot hard to deal with though I know things like this happen in real life. Not for me though.
Amy Denim
Oh how I love sexy cowboys. This may be the first cowboy romance I've reviewed, but rest assured it won't be the last.
Look at that cover model. I just want to lick him.
Retired Pro bull rider Brodie Hayes finds out from sexy PI Alex Donovan that he's actually the child of a couple whose baby was stolen from the hospital forty years ago.
Well, there's one I haven't heard before. I guess these days us romance writers have to come up with some new and interesting premises to keep it fresh. This one i
May 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
A bland book, in my opinion - it was a free ebook as a part of the Harlequin anniversary set, so I suppose I can't complain too much, but I saw the plot beginning and ending from a mile away - and that disappointed me. The story revolves around Brodie, a 40 year old retired rodeo star who finds out that he may be the missing child of a family whose son had been kidnapped as a young child. Alex Donovan is the investigator who not only breaks the news to Brodie, but also ends up falling in love wi ...more
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-books, 2010
ok dont judge before you read this! This book was a free e-book for my Nook! and I was sooo frustrated after reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series I needed stupid reads! The author was actually a pretty good writer, very detailed you felt connected to the characters (but was still cheesy as romance novels go) until you got to about 75% into the book...then the author was going for every stereotype imaginable for this one! The whole story is about a COWBOY named Brodie Hayes (I really li ...more
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Linda Warren loves happy endings. The Rita® nominated and award winning author has written 26 books for Harlequin, including SuperRomance, American and Everlasting Love. Drawing upon her years of growing up on a farm/ranch in Texas, she writes about sexy heroes, feisty heroines and broken families with an emotional punch all set against the backdrop of Texas. She lives in College Station with her ...more

Other books in the series

The Cowboys (7 books)
  • The Christmas Cradle (The Cowboys, #1)
  • The Cowboy's Return (The Cowboys, #2)
  • Texas Heir (The Cowboys, #4)
  • The Sheriff of Horseshoe, Texas (The Cowboys, #5)
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