Friends become more in this romance with a matchmaker bent on finding dates for the cowboy she believes doesn’t return her love.
It’s been almost fourteen long years since two teens made a pact to marry each other if both remained single at thirty. But the nearer the time comes, the more Lauren Yanovich steps up her matchmaking game to let James off the hook. Not that he likely remembers.
James Carmichael has been waiting forever, praying Lauren will be waiting for him. But, just when the end is in sight, she begins dating someone else, and his hopes crumble.
What’s a cowboy to do when the love of his life insists they’re all wrong for each other?
I enjoyed reading The Cowboy’s Mixed-Up Matchmaker, Book 2 in Valerie Comer’s Saddle Springs Romance series. Friends-to-more is one of my favorite romance tropes, and Lauren and James were both reluctant to risk their hearts and reveal their more-than-friends feelings to each other.
Lauren has unfortunately inherited her mother’s meddling ways. Being the local vet, she knows who the single cowboys are that, in her opinion, need help finding a wife. James is her number one matchmaking target because their thirtieth birthdays are looming and their teenage pact to marry each other if they’re both still single weighs heavily on her mind. She thinks James has forgotten about the pact and, if he was interested in her, he’d surely have made a move sometime in the last fourteen years… Therefore, she’ll fix the situation by finding him the perfect wife.
James is the shy cowboy who doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. Lauren’s matchmaking attempts drive him crazy and fuel his insecurities. His feelings for Lauren run deep, but like Lauren he fears rejection and doesn’t want to jeopardise their friendship.
Everyone in Saddle Springs knows James and Lauren have eyes for each other, and would make a great couple, except, of course, James and Lauren. Despite encouragement from friends and family they both just can’t bring themselves to make that all important first move.
At times James and Lauren were infuriating to journey along with as they danced around each other and their feelings. That said, this relationship dynamic is the charm of the friends-to-more trope when the couple have been good friends for way too long to feel comfortable going outside their just-friends comfort zone.
I also appreciated the strong faith element in the story. I liked how both James and Lauren opened their Bibles to seek answers to their problems. James was adorable from the start, but Lauren was a bit prickly. Once I understood Lauren and got to know her, I was cheering for her and James to finally get together and I enjoyed their rocky ride to their happily-ever-after.
The supporting cast of characters in James and Lauren’s family and friendship circle add a delightful small town community setting that I love in cowboy romance series. I highly recommend The Cowboy’s Mixed-Up Matchmaker to readers who enjoy cowboy romances with a strong Christian message woven into the story.
Read a free sample at Amazon.