Also in this series: Sinful, Shameless
Series: Bitter Creek #1
Published by Dell on February 8th 2000
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 passion, vengeance, and star-crossed love.
Trace Blackthorne was taught from the cradle to take what he wanted. And he wanted Callie Creed. Eleven years ago, the feud between their families had torn them apart. But now Trace has come home, a ruthless hard-eyed stranger, making her an offer she couldn't refuse: marry him and save her struggling family from financial ruin. But the secrets of the past return to haunt them. And Callie is once again compelled to make an impossible choice - between the family who desperately needs her and the only man she has ever loved.
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. What Callie never did was tell Trace the truth, that she was pregnant. Now eleven years later, Callie’s family is struggling to keep their ranch, a piece of land their family has held for generations. And Callie refuses to let it go. When Trace returns home, after his father receives a heart attack, she knows that her heart is going to be put in danger once again. Because Trace being back in her life, is torture. Despite the events that have separated them, Trace is still determined to win Callie, and make her realize that their love for each other is worth any risk…
Trace Blackthorne, has never felt at home in Texas. He is the oldest son, and does stand to inherit Blackthorne ranch and all that goes with it. But that is the last thing that Trace wants. So when Callie refuses to leave with him, he leaves for Australia, and now is owner of a cattle ranch twice as large as his father’s spread. When he hears that his family needs him, he comes home for a visit. And seeing Callie again, widowed and her family in need, he is more than willing to use whatever is at his disposal to prove to her of his feelings and what she has sacrificed for her family. Trace is proud and commanding, he is driven and successful, he has compassion and knows how to please a woman in bed. His character was quite stimulating, and he totally had the alpha male commanding presence, but he also had some other traits that made him a fully balanced character that you fall for.
Callie Creed, has no wish to leave her family. She adores them and wears herself out trying to keep them afloat. The last thing she wants is to give their land to the Blackthornes. She has kept a secret from everyone except herself, that she has a son and the man that she married was never his father. Now widowed, she knows with Trace returned, that she is vulnerable to the feelings he could provoke in her. She knows that he will be furious when he learns that her son is his son and she fears he will take him away from her. Callie has quite the spirit, and she is fiercely protective of her family. I did have one issue, and I realize that it was part of the story, but I felt like she could have been a bit more backbone when it came to Trace. You see how much her family needs her, but she also lets them walk all over her, letting their bitterness take over what needs to be done. And the whole being pregnant and not being honest about everything, that bothered me a bit. But other than those aspects, her character was very likable and you see her evolve and grow in the story.
Plot and Story Line
The Cowboy is the first book in the series. I have read this series, but quite a long time ago, about ten years. So one of my goals this year, is to do a couple re reads every month and do a review. It was so fun to get back into this series, and as I started reading this, I came to the conclusion that there is a reason i adore this set up of feuding familes. And in all the feuding family series…this is my favorite of all time. It was also one of the first contemporary series I ever read, so that is also another plus. Its thanks to this series that I started reading Contemporary romance in the first place. This book starts off pretty well, and gives a bit of background information. We see other plots develop for other characters that will become future installments. The Cowboy is Trace and Callie’s story. And boy did I love them as a couple. In the beginning of the story, they are both hurting, still in love with each other, but there are so many other factors that keep them apart. The main reason you see is pride. Pride keeps them from accepting how much they care for each other and just letting their heart lead instead of loyalty to their families. There are some traumatic events that take place, and really adds a deep emotional rhythm to the story that keeps you engaged on every page. I tell you, this is the type of book that will keep you up at night, because the vivid detail and the beautiful work that Joan Johnston Creates is touching in its detail. The flow is pretty smooth, and the writing is so compelling, you feel as if you along side them feeling every emotion, and seeing every color and detail.
Now there are two different covers to this book. The first cover, the older one, is of a Texan sunset with a horse galloping across a field. The second and most latest, is the one I decided to put up. I don’t know about you all, but a bare man’s back with those strong shoulders, and sculpted muscles…and those jeans….(football pants have no contest with those jeans), his booty…so sexy I could squeeze it. 🙂 What do you think of it? Can you resist a sexy cowboy on a cover?
A riveting romantic tale of passion, personal discovery, and the test of true love…sensitive and powerful!!
“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.”