ARC Review: How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward

Format: E-bookhowacowboystoleherheart
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Romance, #4270
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Clay Gregory
Heroine: Megan Briggs
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: October 1, 2011
Started On: September 21, 2011
Finished On: September 22, 2011

I have identified with the fact that Donna Alward writes romances that practically seeps with bittersweet emotions until towards the very end which of course delivers the reader with a happily ever after that is that much sweeter because of the fact. Though not highly sensual in nature, Donna Alward still manages to deliver sexual tension of the toe curling variety amidst all the deeper and messy emotions she makes her characters confront, and that is one reason why I would continue to read her books.

How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart is deceptive in the way its title and blurb are presented. Deceptive I say because I delved into the story expecting a light and fluffy read which would make me feel on top of the world towards the end. However, from page one, you learn that Megan Briggs (Meg) is a survivor of breast cancer, having had one of her breasts removed because of the ravaging disease. She had left her hometown in Larch Valley behind to pursue her treatment and a year on, she is back home determined that she would put away her silly dreams that features her rugged and sexy cowboy neighbor who happens to be her brother’s best friend.

The last time Clay Gregory had talked to Meg it had ended up in a huge verbal confrontation that had concluded in them going their separate ways; Meg for her treatment and Clay to resume his day-to-day life unable to face the fact that someone he cares deeply about has to go through the very same thing that had killed his father and torn his family apart. Clay is a man who holds true to his belief that love and marriage are facets of life better left untouched and is determined that none of that would ever have a place in his life.

When Clay encounters a recovered Meg, she is so much different from the sweet woman he remembers. This Meg stares at him with eyes full of fire, defiance and the will to live her life on her terms stamped all over her face. And  though Clay feels small stirrings of something akin to desire for Meg the stubborn little chit who had always stuck like glue to him when he was growing up, Clay has no intention of acting on any of those feelings that makes him squirm, that is until Meg does a number on him at his aunt Stacy’s wedding which has Clay rapidly reaching out for his crumbling iron-clad control.

Though Meg tries to crush the tendrils of hope that unfurl whenever she is around Clay, the constant misunderstandings that leap out due to their different attitudes towards life and the stuff that scares them both makes it inevitable that a relationship between herself and Clay would never survive the many a tough times that may come ahead. But with Clay equally determined to prove otherwise, it is a battle of wills these two embark upon which makes their ultimate surrender that much more meaningful.

I have to admit that even though there were parts of the story that worked for me such as the tendrils of sexual tension between Meg and Clay that was delicious and heady as they come, to the side characters such as Jen and Tara who all seem to have quite interesting stories of their own to tell, there were certain elements within the story that didn’t quite make the cut for me. I didn’t quite warm up to either Clay or Meg though there are bits and pieces in their characters that makes them endearing and appealing at times. I can’t quite put my finger on why it was so with Clay but with Meg it was the way she wanted to prevent anything from happening between her and Clay because she didn’t want to put Clay through the emotional turmoil of a remission of the cancer which is always a possibility with cancer survivors. The way she makes the decision for Clay without even contemplating the rapidly changing feelings between them didn’t seem to sit with me quite that well.

Even then, I found myself pulled in with the constant whirlwind of emotions that courses through Meg as she tries and walks ahead into a future that is an uncertain one. But her determination and courage through it all just amazed me and I was rooting for her all the way through those moments. Light hearted and fluffy is certainly not what this romance is about, but engrossing and a good deal of emotion it certainly delivers and I would recommend this one for fans of Donna Alward.

Momentous Scenes

  • The moment Clay lays eyes on the altogether made over Meg whose beauty and lure at that moment just shocks him to the very core! *Sigh!*
  • The first kiss. Sizzling hot!

Favorite Quotes

She unlocked the door, but before she could turn the knob his hand covered hers. She turned and froze.
“Clay,” she warned, but it was too late.
His arm came around her, lifted her feet clear off the floor as he kissed her: hot, demanding, and all encompassing.
His mouth was soft, hot and devastating. Megan let the shock ripple deliciously through her as she clutched his shoulders. There was a small thunk as the house key dropped to the step. Even through the layers of his tuxedo and her coat Meg felt the hardness of his body against her.

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