REVIEW: Texas Reckless Cowboy (The Stars of Texas Book 2) by Rebecca Crowley

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He’s the bad boy she needs to help her lay down the law…

Assistant District Attorney Georgia Star is on the ballot in Last Stand, Texas to finally take the top job—but popularity has never been this overachiever’s forte. When her big-city outsider opponent begins wooing her constituents with lies, Georgia knows she has to stop playing nice. She turns to the infamous Cy Powell for advice, but his provocative solution might be worse than a defeat.

Cyrus “Cy” Powell is a property mogul, rancher, and entrepreneur—and a scion of Last Stand’s most notorious criminal family. Despite his legit success he’s never outrun his last name, so when Georgia asks for his help, Cy decides a fake relationship is the perfect pretext to infiltrate her world.

Dating Cy will connect Georgia with her voter base, and squiring Georgia through her influential social circles will polish Cy’s reputation and facilitate his latest business deal. Their chemistry is undeniable, but as the election looms, they’ll need to decide if their fake alliance is real and where their loyalties lie.

Dear Ms. Crowley,

Tropes, tropes, get yer tropes here! Small town, friends to lovers, bad boy, across the tracks, fake relationship, (a slight touch of) enemies to lovers, Jewish women in Texas. Wait, what was that last one? It’s the second in The Stars of Texas series about four sisters who are slowly getting back in touch with family and falling for friends in Last Stand, Texas where 150 years ago their Jewish Austrian great … Grandfather put down roots and established himself in a new land.

Georgia Star the ADA in this district is doing what she’s done since getting a job in her hometown – seeking justice rather than trying to be popular. She knows she’s made a few enemies along the way but she’s tried to do her best for everyone she’s seen in court. But now a Hot Shot from out of town has arrived to campaign for the position of District Attorney which Georgia knows is just for show until he can move on to bigger and better political things.

Cy Powell is a certified bad boy from a bad family. The local cops even called the Powell homestead “DFW” (after the largest airport in Texas) since so many of his relatives are frequent flyers through the justice system. Cy uses his reputation for his own purposes but it’s also one he’s been trying to outgrow since he can’t seem to outrun it.

Cy’s (legit) business partner suggests that Cy needs to put in some face time with major bigwigs for the land deals that they’re trying to swing. Looking for someone to give him credibility, Cy devises a plan. If Georgia will be his fake girlfriend, he’ll help her campaign among the outcasts, bikers, rednecks, and other working class rural people of the area whom Hot Shot has spurned. Can Georgia and Cy keep it private and professional until after the election?

The deal that Georgia and Cy have worked out makes a bit more sense to me than other fake dating scenarios. Georgia is really, really bad at campaigning for the position of DA. Cy is really good at hiding his pain and anger at how and what the town thinks of him. She provides the credibility that helps him with the fancy stuff he needs in order to get on the inside of property development deals and he delivers the votes of the barflies and Hermanos Guapos motorcycle gang for her election. To her credit, Georgia does think about this a bit but then decides that telling one little white lie to save her hometown from the city slicker with fancy boots who thinks he can just swoop in for a few years and pander to a few interests then exit to bigger things is something she can do.

For all that they appear as opposites, Cy and Georgia are actually very similar inside. Both feel responsible for family members. Georgia for her three younger sisters and Cy for his younger, feckless, brother. Both also feel like outsiders. Cy because of his ramshackle family and upbringing that caused him to build walls around the trust that he gives to no-one and avoid the pain that giving love would bring. Loyalty is a currency that Cy trades in. And Georgia for her religion and her single-dad father who couldn’t take her to school things which isolated her from peers while she was growing up. Georgia had thought that antisemitism was a thing of the past and not something to affect her in this day and age. To discover how it had shaped her mother’s life is a shock.

Georgia was parentalized at age seven when her mother died. She champions the underdogs and works for real justice for the three counties for which she works. Which might actually work against her in the election as twisted by her opponent. Cy dispenses much needed advice about money and navigating government paperwork to those who have no one else to turn to. They both help their community.

Georgia and her sisters are digging deeper into and having to mentally deal with the antisemitism that separated their mother from her family when mom married their dad and converted. This began in book one, played a minor role here – except for when Georgia out and out calls out a relative for not keeping up with Caroline Star after the family cut Caroline off for marrying a Jewish man. Cy is worrying about his younger brother who might be mixed up in something that threatens the local community.

I liked the way that their similarities bring them together over dealing with the threat to the community. Then I like how this turns into a realistic third act breakup that temporarily pushes them apart. They act in ways that are authentic to how their characters have been built on page. Bonus points that after the initial dust settles, they think about what’s happened, what they want, and, after not storming off nor vowing that they’re done with the other, they offer apologies as they work things out. And though I can take or leave epilogues, this is a nice one. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. B+


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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.

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