The Cowboy Next Door

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Ryan has never disappointed me with any of her books.  I always laugh and cry and with her stories.  I have read almost everything that she has written and intend to read more!
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I just couldn't get into this one. It is very slow burn, and although I don't need full on intimacy 10% of the way through the story, I would like a little more between the main characters than what Sam and Penny had. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of Penny. I understand taking care of three brothers your whole life shapes you, but she was more like a 60 year old. I didn't really feel the chemistry between her and Sam either. There is basically no drama until the very end, and to me, that was too little too late. I don't need constant drama, but this story needed something more. I didn't read the first one in this series, but it didn't make me feel like I was missing something. Although I didn't love this one, I would read this author again. 
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers copy of this book.
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This book was fantastic,  It is has everything you would want from a book,  It made me laugh, cry and wonder what was going to happen next.  I Highly recommend this book it is an excellent read.  I cannot wait for Finn's book to come out.

Thank you Netgalley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for allowing me to read this title for an honest review.
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First, thank you for the opportunity to read and review this title.  Access to review copies is always appreciated.
Unfortunately, I have chosen not to finish and review this title.  I was not able to connect with it, and instead of finishing a title I was not connecting with, I have chosen to move on to another title.
Again, I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to the next title.
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Bad boy cowboy…

The Monroe brothers may have earned a bad reputation as boys but grown up they were oh so good! 

Sam was a rancher through and through yet all that hard, back-breaking work didn’t stop him from kicking up his cowboy boots and heading to town for some fun. Gambling was fun and profitable and he wasn’t going to apologize for it. Too bad Penny didn’t share that belief…

Penny loved her new job, her new home, even if it hadn’t been her first choice. Teaching may be on the backburner for now but the Monroes were so welcoming and offered her a life she never even thought of. It was fulfilling in its own way and the ranch was a beautiful, welcoming place. Too bad Sam did nothing but rub her the wrong way….

This series is all about men of the land and the women who loved them. Even if it didn’t start out that way! Given Penny’s past it wasn’t surprising she resented Sam’s carefree attitude to gambling. Of course that couldn’t stop the attraction she had for him – though she tried. Sam was irresistible with his sexy cowboy charm yet old-fashioned way, so I didn’t blame her one little bit…

This read was a slow burn with family and homestead providing the perfect backdrop. I loved the sweet feel to this story even as it dealt with harsh realities that life inevitably offered up. With drama dropped in to shake things up, Sam and Penny’s story was another great read in the series.
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The Cowboy Next Door is the second book in R.C. Ryan's Montana Strong series, but it's both the first book I've read in the series, and the first book I've read by this author, and what an incredibly nice read it was. Aside from the fact that the title has absolutely nothing to do with the story, there wasn't much that I didn't enjoy about this novel, and it gets 5 stars from this reader.

First, although I hadn't read the first book in this series, it worked just fine as a standalone; the inter-relationships between the characters are easily and thoroughly explained, clearly and succinctly. This series centers around three brothers, Ben, Finn and Sam, who shared their early lives with abusive parents, who then spent years separated while in the foster care system, and who agreed to find each other and run away together, which they did. One day, 16 years earlier, they broke into the home of Mackenzie (Mac) Monroe, seeking food, money and shelter, but they got a whole lot more than that. Mac had already lost his wife and child and saw something in these three troubled boys, ages, 12, 11, and 10, and he did something about it--he adopted them, raised them, and turned them into good, decent and strong cowboys and men, and they, along with some of his permanent ranch hands became a family. This novel is Sam and Penny's story.

Mary Pat, the kindhearted county social worker, visiting nurse and home-school advisor, is the one who brings Penny to Mac's ranch. Penny and her 3 brothers lost their parents at an early age, leaving Penny Cash, the oldest sibling but still in her teens, to raise her younger brothers with the help of an aging aunt, who moved into their home in order to keep the siblings from being separated and moved into foster care. Penny's dream was to be a teacher, but with 5 people to support, clothe, and feed, as well as keeping a roof over their heads, meant that attending college and getting her teaching certificate while working two jobs, plus looking after her ailing aunt and rambunctious brothers, took her longer than most, and she came to Haller Creek because she'd been about to embark on her first job as a teacher. When the teaching position she believed was hers was given to another, she met Mary Pat, who brought her to Mac Mackenzie's ranch, to work as a housekeeper and cook, something she had plenty of experience doing. Two of Penny's three brothers joined and found careers in the Army, and the youngest brother, Curtis, just turned 21, and wasn't very good at staying in touch. Penny desperately needed this a job, and a place to live until somewhere down the road, another teaching position opened up. 

From the beginning, Penny and Sam strike sparks off each other, and Penny sees in Sam, a handsome, sexy, charming flirt, who spends all his free time at the local bar, drinking, carousing and hustling at the pool table--making him seem all too much like her own father, whose drinking and gambling addictions left Penny and her siblings penniless but for the mortgage-free roof over their heads. The very first time Penny accompanies the family to the local bar, she notices her youngest brother, Curtis, in the back room, at the pool table, drinking and playing for money, and losing. He's been working at a nearby ranch and doesn't appreciate her interference. She's devastated to see him following in their father's footsteps, but there's nothing she can do or say that will change him--all she can do is worry, and continue working at the ranch. Because she was used to being in an all-male household, she fits right in, and impresses the heck out of the Monroe men and their ranch hands with her cooking, her hard work, and her kindness. Fighting her attraction to Sam, who can't seem to overcome his attraction to her, becomes both a blessing and a curse, since he's pretty hard to resist. But when Curtis loses way more money than he can come up with to a major pool hustler, gets fired when he asks his ranch boss to advance him the money, and then flees, he unknowingly puts Penny's life in danger. 

What started out as a heartwarming, sweet, and somewhat sexy romance about a family running a rural Montana ranch, soon turned into an excellent novel of romantic suspense, and although some might complain about not much happening during the first two-thirds of this novel, what it did offer was a close look at the daily life and operation of a cattle ranch--all the work involved in keeping the ranch running smoothly, and the deep interconnections of a blended family and their neighbors, and gave this reader a realistic look at the risks and rewards of choosing such a life and livelihood. I loved the kindness and consideration of all the characters in this novel, and their commitment to both the ranching life and to each other. 

Yes, this is a romance novel, and yes, there's an HEA ending, but what I liked most about this novel was the slowly building relationship between Sam and Penny, and between Penny and the rest of the family, their willingness to sacrifice their own dreams and safety for the greater good of all concerned, the interesting interplay between Mac and Mary Pat, which may or may not be explored in upcoming novels in this series, and the sheer human kindness and decency of these characters.

For this reader, The Cowboy Next Door was a winning combination of good writing, good plotting, good storytelling, and well-developed characters with emotional depth and maturity. I'll be backtracking to read the first novel in this series, and am eagerly awaiting the next.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
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THE COWBOY NEXT DOOR is exactly the type of Modern Western Romance that I’m drawn to time and time again. Both Penny and Sam have past issues to get beyond to find their own personal happiness together, a strong sense of family, an acknowledgement that something has to change in a life in order to get that happy ending and a slow burn that heats up the pages, the kind that leads to a truly lifelong happy ever after.

On the surface, Penny and Sam might seem to be opposites but at their core, they have so much in common. He’s determined to grab hold of all the fun and enjoyment in life possible because it might be snatched away at any moment. She’s had to be the adult, the strong one as she raised her younger brothers and had no time for much of anything beyond family and studying for her teaching degree. Now these two will find that with a little trust, some give on some subjects, a strong sense of family, love worth fighting for and a future that can bring them everything they believed they would never need is within their reach… but they’ll have to work for it, trust each other, fight together for what could be their future.

I was easily caught up in THE COWBOY NEXT DOOR. This story is full of believable characters facing real-life situations, secondary characters that help bring the story alive and who will or have had their stories told one day. I loved Mac and what he did for these brothers, without his love, discipline, and encouragement they would not be the men they are today. If there is a hero in this series, then, in my opinion, that man is Mac.

If you’re in the mood for a slow-burning love story, realistic characters to care about, some swoon-worthy moments, some laughter, a bit of suspense and an ending that will stop your heart… then you’re gonna love THE COWBOY NEXT DOOR.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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R.C. Ryan did it again with an outstanding story that leaves me wanting more. As well as looking forward to the next book.

I was drawn into this book from the first page. I couldn't put the book down.
As they say opposites attract. Sam and Penny are the opposite of each other. Penny and Sam characters had me laughing one moment and saying "Oh, How sweet" the next. It did have some intense scenes which added to the story.
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Holy cow did this book DRAG on. I swore by 48% the book was finished. The drama took forever to materialize, almost as if the author decided rather than end the book, let's expand it even more and finally add something to keep the reader interested. 

The story itself was cute, I especially loved how everyone welcomed Penny into their lives. 

** ARC received from Netgalley **
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The Cowboy Next Door is the second book in the Montana Strong series by R. C. Ryan. I did not read the first book, and I think each can stand up well on its own. However, returning readers are likely to have a better understanding of some of the secondary characters and enjoy seeing Ben and Becca's story continue. 

After weeks on the trail, Sam Monroe is looking forward to a hot bath, a home-cooked meal, and a real bed. In that order. But he's greeted by something even better when he opens the door to his family's ranch house. Seems the new housekeeper is a gorgeous young woman who cooks like an angel and wrangles his family like a pro. If only she didn't dislike him so much. Penny Cash is down on her luck, and the last thing she needs is a flirtation with a wild, carefree cowboy. Sure, he's funny and sexy, but they're as different as whiskey and tea. And she'll be leaving town as soon as she finds a full-time teaching position. But when trouble comes calling, Penny will find out how serious Sam can be when it comes to protecting the woman he loves.

The Cowboy Next Door is a solid story. While a contemporary romance, because of the location there was a slight historical flavor. I liked Penny's determination and strength, and how hard she worked to do right for everyone around her. I liked the idea of Sam's character, but I felt at times that he was not fully fleshed out. Readers learn about his past, and how he tries to live his life, but I was still left feeling like his character could have been more three dimensional. Penny and Sam are clearly attracted from the moment their eyes met, and I connected with Penny right away, even when I did not agree with her choices. On the other hand I felt like Sam was fascinated with Penny because he should not be, and because she was a challenge. While he did things to prove otherwise, it still felt off to me in some way. While he went to great lengths to protect her, and do the right thing for his family and her, it felt almost calculated at times. Too often he made decisions for her good or that affected her without discussion, which would have driven me crazy in her place.  Perhaps it is just my own personal issues that colored this part of his character, but it still irked me. As did the fact that once at no point in their private moments did anyone mention or use birth control- or I missed it somehow. Two responsible adults that had less than stellar childhoods should have at least spoken about this.

The Cowboy Next Door is a good romance with cowboy and small town flavors. There was also a religious undertone, but it only really made itself known a few times.
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Penney Cash was looking forward to being a teacher and when she left her home and everything she had which was not much she was disappointed when the job fell through. Now she has found a job at the Monroe ranch as the cook. Already working she has met everyone except the youngest Sam who has been gone awhile on the range and living in the range shack. Coming in with a beard and smelling like he has been gone for weeks they do not get along at first. The change after he shaves and puts on cleans cloths is only a little better. Slowly though the two of them begin to enjoy the banter that they have and begin to look forward to it. Everyone around them sees what is happening except for Sam. It is not until they get snowed in at the range cabin does everything between them really heats up. Now she only has to wait for him to make to big move but for some reason, he is letting her go. Read this book that has fun and romance and finds out what happens between them. A very good book.
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Mackenzie or Mac has adopted three young male siblings.He lives and works on a ranch.They help the cows give birth during the calfing season . The boys think it's gross.Years later Ben is a cop while others work on the ranch
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An Inspirational book of Family, love and Coming together.  R.C. Ryan gives us a book about Mac Monroe's second son Sam and the young lady he hired to be the housekeeper and cook at their Ranch. Sam has always been a wild one and it seems for the beautiful Penny Cash he may just change his ways.
Penny has always been studious and series, especially since she had to raise her brothers from such a young age.  When her youngest brother finds himself in a little hot water it's Penny who may feel the wrath.
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Book Review- The Cowboy Next Door by R.C. Ryan

This is the first time I’ve read this author and I was excited to jump into the story.  The situation that places Penny working for Mac is disappointing and the author reveals it immediately.  Penny is a hardworking, honest woman.  However, she was a bit judgmental and old fashioned for me.  For someone who had to give up her childhood to care for and raise three younger brothers, plus deal with her father’s gambling, she is very naïve.  She wasn’t my favorite character in the story.  
Sam was the cowboy version of a player.  He is charming and a total sweet talker.  Penny is instantly on her guard.  I would be too.  That was one instant I agreed with her opinion.  However, these two slowly gravitate towards each other which was fun to watch.  Neither one liked the idea at first.  Penny was extremely judgmental about his character.  That was annoying in the sense that after a while she needed to take her gambling blinders off.  Her focus was too narrow for the longest time.
Yet she is impulsive when it came to her brother and is adamant to make him change his mind.  She is stubborn and determined to make her views known as she “knows” she is right.  Ugh! I’m not arguing with her opinions but come on act like an adult instead of a teenager, throwing a hissy fit.
The idea of the storyline was good.  I like how she ends up there and placed in Sam’s path.  He needed something to shake his life up a bit.  Everything that the author throws in adds to the storyline.  How both main characters deal with the ultimate dilemma throw in by the author was fitting.  Neither gave up and refused to stop working at saving each other.  By the end Penny had shed most of her self-righteous beliefs and accepted those around her as they were.  So, by the end the author had won me over.  It was a great story.  I give it a 4 out of 5.
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Montana Strong #2 can be read as a standalone novel. Penny Cash comes to the area for a teaching job that falls through. Mac gives her a job as a housekeeper/cook for his ranch. Sparks fly between Penny and Mac's youngest son Sam. The story has a cast of characters that make up an unusual family. That family and Sam and Penny's chemistry makes for an enjoyable book. 

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open honest review.
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After enjoying the first Montana Strong book, I was curious about what would happen to the other Monroe brothers. Sam’s story didn’t disappoint.

This well written and fun book showed just how much love and respect can temper the extremes of personalities. Penny and Sam were the perfect counter parts to each other and I enjoyed watching their relationship blossom.

Add is a bit of suspense/intrigue and this was a strong addition to the series. The strong secondary cast gives glimpses of the family surrounding the Monroe ranch. It was nice to see bits of Ben and a Becca as well as getting to Finn a bit more. I am looking forward to seeing more of this family in Finn’s book!
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This is book 2 in the Montana Strong series and it features Sam and Penny. Penny‘s mannerisms, personality and beliefs make her seem like she’s from the old west. So much so that a couple of times I had to reread sections and make sure I was reading a modern cowboy romance. I loved Sam’s carefree attitude: work hard, play harder. When it came to ranching he was serious. I also liked the fact that for the first time in a long time, this cowboy was not ALL about the ladies. The romance build at a perfect pace. It was real and it was explosive!  The unexpected drama that played out towards the end gave the story the edge it needed. 

The family at the Monroe Ranch was beautiful. The characters were fantastic!  I’m looking forward to reading more about the Monroe Ranch family.
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I was a little conflicted on the rating because the ending was really good and it only took, I don't know, the entire book to get some action. Geesh.!! I was craving that climax and that conflict and I finally got it in a form of a daring escape.  I do not want spoil the story, so I will give the bare minimum. Someone had to escape from a dark place and that is all that I am going to say about that.  Anyways, here we are again with another rugged cowboy. Cowboys are my favorite and I feel as if the author did it right.  Sam was wild, hard-working, and a bruised soul who had to learn how to trust. Penny has a dream of becoming a teacher, but a bone was thrown into her plans and she ends up at the Monroe as a housekeeper/chef.  Penny had to raise three brothers and take care an ill aunt when she was just a teenager.  With Sam's inability to trust and Penny's dream at stake, will they be able to overcome their past and find true love?  Well, let's find out.

First off, I liked Penny and Sam together because I like any woman that can tame a beast. Sam is wild, likes to take on poor saps at the pool hall, and sleep with random women. That all changes when he sees Penny and taste her heavenly food.  Penny is a hard worker, very motherly, and she comes to Haller Creek for a teaching job, but that job is, unfortunately, retracted. Waiting for a teaching position to become available, she accepts the position at the Monroe ranch as a housekeeper.  I really admired Penny, her huge heart and her caring nature.  She was grounded and was forced to grow up early to care for her family and that really gave her character softness and compassion.  If you read book one, then you know that Sam and his two brothers had a rough childhood before they were adopted by Mac.

There were some things that I loved and some things that I did not love so much.  I liked the chemistry between Sam and Penny, but I did not like the slow burn of their romance.  I became very impatient with the small pecks on the lips. I wanted the good stuff and the pacing was killing me!!!  This book did not have that small town feel that the first book had which was what I loved about the series in the first place.  The setting of this book only took place in two places which was the ranch and the restaurant in town.  I absolutely loved the family dynamic just as much as I loved it in book one.

I was really excited for this book and it didn't quite live up to my expectations. It was missing that small town feel and the romance was very slow.  There was no real conflict in the story and when the climax did happened, the story was almost over.  This book was a straight line right up until the 80% mark. In contrast, I enjoyed myself while reading this book and I enjoyed seeing Sam's character progress.  I recommend this book with a nice hot cup of tea. You will need the caffeine. :)
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I did not read Ryan's first book in the series, so I went into this book "blind", so to speak. Readers don't need to read the first book in order to enjoy this second in the series. It was a cute story with an innocent romance between Penny, an aspiring teacher, and Sam, a rule-breaking cowboy. When Sam begins to fall for Penny, he realizes it's time to reform his pool-hustling, late-night-bar-trolling ways. Their love is sweet and perfect for readers who like their romance PG-13.
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Montana Strong #2, can be read as a standalone. All things are quiet on the Monroe Ranch but it's about to get shaken up when Mac Monroe does a favor for a very dear friend. Mac hires Penny Cash on at the ranch to help out with cooking and cleaning when her teaching job at Haller Creek falls through. When Mac adopted Sam and his brothers over sixteen years ago he turned the three foul-mouthed troublemakers into ranchers. Sam Monroe took to ranching like it was something he was meant to do. Sam was in no hurry to settle down he was content to go out drink beers, hustle a little at pool, and sleep around that was until he walked into the house after three weeks out with the cattle and found Penny in his kitchen.

Penny was used to being in a household of all men, she practically raised her three brothers all by herself after their parents death, so she was prepared for what to expect when she started on at the Monroe Ranch. What she wasn't prepared for was how strongly attracted she was to Sam. A slow burn romance that builds their relationship before anything else. Both are hard workers who know the value of a hard days work but where Sam knows how to kick back and relax Penny doesn't. Penny has worked hard her whole life when she wasn't taking care of her brothers or her elderly aunt she was studying to be a teacher, it's been her dream for as long as she can remember. Penny discovers that her youngest brother is working on a ranch outside Haller Creek, she also finds out he's been betting and losing money playing pool and when trouble follows him Penny gets caught in the middle. Sam just found happiness with Penny and now he's will to put his life on the line to save her.

Overall, it's a contemporary western with a splash of suspense, just the way I like it. R.C. Ryan hits the spot with this heartwarming family relationship, sexy and smart cowboys, a picturesque setting, and a romance that burns slow but hot. Sam and Penny have a lot in common but just enough to keep it interesting. Finn said the dreaded famous last words of a single man, "I guess it's up to me to stay strong and resist whatever love virus is going around." *maniacal laugh* I can't wait for his book.
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