REVIEW: Last Dance with the Texas Bull Rider (The Stars of Texas Book 3) by Rebecca Crowley

Must read

Book Reviews / C- Reviews / / / / / / / / No Comments

She was always the ‘perfect’ Star—until she fell…

Jessa Star danced her way to the perfect ballet career, and when injury cut it short, she returned to Last Stand, Texas to open a dance studio—the perfect back-up plan. She’s convinced everyone she’s perfectly happy and perfectly fulfilled, and she’s confident the secret that could blow up her life is perfectly concealed—until her wildly imperfect bull-rider husband careens into town.

Happy-go-lucky Caleb “Calamity” Ross may not be a top-tier rodeo cowboy, but he doesn’t mind. His life on the road is fun, free, and fast enough to outrun his toxic upbringing. But when a bad wreck at the Last Stand Rodeo puts him in the hospital, he wakes to find his runaway bride by his side—the one woman who might matter enough to stop him in his rambling tracks.

Their marriage was a joke, but there’s nothing funny about their connection, or the threats they pose to each other’s futures. The clock is ticking on their wedding bells, and they’ll have to decide whether to say ‘I do’ again—or say goodbye.

Dear Ms. Crowley, 

In a series, there’s usually one book that doesn’t work as well for me and unfortunately, this is it. I just didn’t buy it. There are a lot of balls being juggled in the story and though the actions of the characters mostly made sense based on the background they were given, I didn’t care for the way things played out. 

Jessa Star is a perfectionist who ruthlessly controlled herself and her dancing in order to try and achieve the level of professional success she sought. When she realized that wasn’t happening, she returned home, researched like crazy and then started a dance studio which is doing very well. Her goal is to make her dance students happy rather than push for perfection. Caleb “Calamity” Ross was raised in a strict Baptist home in eastern TN but when his family couldn’t be satisfied with him – and told him that but in harsher terms – he left and joined the bull-riding rodeo circuit. Two years ago, these two met and impulsively married. Then Jessa walked away. Now Caleb needs help after an injury and Jessa feels enough responsibility to let him stay with her. Is there a second chance for them or not?

Well straight out of the chute I had issues with this set-up. Jessa is hyper self-controlled and left the world of professional ballet with the intention of opening her dance school but on a blow-out vacation in Hawaii she meets fun loving Caleb and – sure, why not?? – gets married. Nope, I didn’t buy that this was something she’d do. And I never could stop wondering how Caleb afforded airfare out to Hawaii either. Then after a few days she walks out on him with no message, no nothing. Sweetheart Caleb seems to just accept this. Later in the book he tells her that she deserves better than him but frankly I never accepted that she was worthy of Caleb. 

There is one thing done well here. Jessa’s personality has been formed by being the opposite of her wild hellion twin sister. She’s been tightly controlled for years and lived through a profession which frequently tells its members that they’re not good enough, not worthy enough to dance lead, and criticizes them all the time. Caleb’s (sounds like fundamentalist) Baptist family basically did the same to him with added dollops of sinfulness and going to hell if he put a foot wrong on their tightrope of worthiness. Seriously the two of them could use a bit of therapy or vast amounts of group hugs but they do sort of understand where the other is coming from. 

That still doesn’t excuse the fact that Jessa kept her marriage – her marriage! – a secret from her sisters and father for two years. Then when poor injured Caleb wakes up after a night in her home (and what doctor would let him leave the hospital with a severe concussion and not give a caretaker strict instructions to check him every hour or two?) Jessa starts laying her house rules on him including about the guest bathroom soaps and how to hang the guest towels. Really Jessa? Relax about the soap. 

Later, when it counts, Jessa also makes a decision about their marriage without talking to Caleb about it. No, make that two decisions. All I’ll say is that she’s lucky he’s so sweet and sweet on her and everything comes out okay. That is everything is hunky dorey after Caleb collapses in a fit of despair about how unworthy he is and precipitates the third act breakup. When they get back together, I’m still not 100% on board with their future. 

Listen, I do like how competent Jessa is as a dance teacher and small business owner. I like that Caleb thinks seriously about the dangers of his profession as a bull rider. Yay that the Star sisters pretty much have each other’s backs and also yay that Jessa calls their estranged aunt about her attitude during a visit but this one sort of put my back up from the get-go and I never quite was able to settle down into it. C-          


AmazonBNKoboBook DepositoryGoogle



Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 25 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there’s no TSTL characters and is currently reading more fantasy and SciFi.

More articles

Latest article