"A Cowboy's Pride" continues The Rocky Mountain Cowboys series with a story about a Loveland. The Cade-Loveland feud is historic and infamous (think Hatfield-McCoy). The feud began when Everett Loveland was found with the dead body of Maggie Cade- and the priceless Cade emerald was missing. The Cades hung Everett for his supposed crimes and believed the Lovelands had sold their family heirloom for a fortune. The years ensuing included disputes over land, which allow access to the water- a key component for both ranches in order to keep their cattle alive.
Katlynn (formerly known as Katie-Lynn) comes from this small Colorado town and was formerly engaged to Cole Loveland. She now hosts the show "Scandalous History" where she investigates historical conflicts. The show is in trouble and might be cancelled- unless they can come up with a big draw for viewers. Katlynn reluctantly offers up her "in" to investigate the Cade-Loveland disputes- and maybe she'll be able to figure out who actually has rights to the water.
Cole Loveland is working the ranch, which is barely thriving due to the costs of water and other typical ranch problems. The bank will foreclose and take their ranch away. However, he is surprised when his father, Boyd, accepts the offer from the show to film on their land and get enough money to forestall the bank until they can come up with a new financial plan. With the shaky truce between the Cades and Lovelands due to the Boyd and Joy's impending nuptials, Cole is afraid of what the show will unearth- and the more recent history they might decide makes for good TV. He agrees to participate- if he can be involved in the investigation and work alongside Katlynn.
Working together, Cole and Katlynn/Katie-Lynn find their old feelings didn't just disappear and they still feel the same way they did when they were young, before Katlynn got a job offer in LA and they refused to compromise and broke up. The history of the Cade-Loveland dispute also takes some interesting turns as we learn more about Maggie, Everett, and the missing jewel.
The biggest draw of this story is the mystery of the past and what happened to Maggie and the jewel. It really kept the book moving quickly for me, as I was highly invested in this story. The tidbits from firsthand documents of the time were really great, and I wouldn't mind reading a series about Katlynn's show and the investigations they do! It was really fascinating, and I liked the search plus the bit of suspense about whodunit and trying to keep the past buried.
In terms of the romance between Cole and Katlynn, it was sweet but a bit of yes/no and back and forth. They have a lot of history, so there were quite a few discussions about that, and a lot of petulance and stubbornness from Cole (which I didn't think I'd see considering his awesome persona in the last book). Cole seemed to be so upset about the past (in which he was equally at fault) that he let it bleed into other aspects of his life, including fueling the feud (which I felt he was a big part of helping calm down in the past book). He wasn't quite the character I expected.
Katlynn went back and forth as Katlynn and Katie-Lynn in the book in terms of not only what others called her but what she was referred to in the text. I was looking for a pattern (e.g. she is Katie-Lynn when connecting to her roots vs the show), but it would change from one paragraph to the next without a clear pattern. I guess it was easier to view one or the other as a nickname. Katlynn was easy to like, and I enjoyed her perspectives. I also really liked how she came to have more body positivity and began to conform less to the Hollywood pressures/expectations. There were some nice messages there. She was more willing to work for a compromise than Cole (but not give up everything to the man), and I liked her strong character. However, I wasn't sure about the reasons she wanted to be on TV- she's great at what she does, and I felt like the feeling ignored bit wasn't necessary. However, she does show a lot of personal growth about that and finding her own desires for appearance/life as the book goes on.
As a heartwarming book, this was pretty clean and you won't find more than some steamy kisses. The ending was perfect, and I really loved chasing down the mysteries surrounding the Cade-Loveland feud. Overall, I enjoyed this new installment, and I am looking forward to reading more about this family and the Cades in the future!
Please note that I received a copy of the book from the author. All opinions are my own.