Cover Image: A Thorn in the Saddle

A Thorn in the Saddle

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Member Reviews

It's Jesse's story!!! I was so excited to be approved from Netgalley and Kensington Books to receive an ARC of this book. Opinions are my own.

This book follows the oldest of the Pleasant brothers, Jesse and it's the last in the series, so there are a lot of old friends from prior books we get to check in on. This entire series has been a cast of characters, all of whom needed their own spin-off series. 

I really enjoyed this book, both MCs are lovely and their relationship, was uncomplicated, with their challenges coming from outside their relationship. Much like other RW books, these characters are fully developed and honest and loving to each other. I always appreciate the acceptance of characters for what and who they are. Also, bonding at Target!

The story moves pretty quickly and I did find myself wishing for the pace to be a little slower, but that's just me. 

If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and read this charming (no pun intended) series. 

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Well-rounded and engaging story. I admit I was a bit skeptical if Jesse could redeem himself because his first few moments were a bit intense but with a push from Lily-Grace, he knew what he had to do and he followed through. They both had different fears and they both were able to face them with the support of the other. 

Thank you Kensington Press and NetGalley for the ARC!
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this is a great story. I think all the people excited for Jesse's book will be really excited for this.
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This series has made me so happy this year, and the final installment was no different. I was SO excited for it, because I love Beauty and the Beast (like, really love - even the live action adaptation. Like, one of my wedding songs was from the live action adaptations.) and this was such a smart and unique Beauty and the Beast retelling. No abductions or Stockholm syndromes here. Instead, this retelling asks the questions: What if the Beast freaks out on Belle’s father, and Belle tells the Beast to get some therapy, and then he DOES?!

[Some spoilers ahead]

I love how much this book is about people working on themselves, and not just the two MCs, Jesse and Lily-Grace. Much of the surrounding cast is also working on improving themselves and their relationships. There is so much that I loved: Therapy! Not going after that Congressional seat if it doesn’t make you happy! Not wanting to return to tech if it doesn’t make you happy! Putting in the work to form adult friendships! Dealing with parental issues! 

Outside of Jesse and Lily-Grace’s relationship (which is very, very hot), they both go through beautiful journeys of facing their respective fears and discovering what they are passionate about in life. 

From a Romancelandia Criminal Justice Reform perspective, there’s also some crime (from the Gaston character) but his punishment does not seem overly punitive and he is instead dealt with by his own karmic retributions. 

I’m going to miss the Pleasant family so much (probably especially their grandmother and matriarch) - I can only hope they make some side appearances in future works!
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I thoroughly enjoyed Jesse and! Lily-Grace's story. I appreciated that both were aware of their issues and were taking concrete steps to addressing them. Their relationship developed organically, and I loved that they were open and honest about their feelings and communicated them to each other. I also loved that this story highlighted successful black families who were in business arenas that are not necessarily associated with being black. The family dynamics were also great, as both of our main characters had supportive families.
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Really enjoyed A Thorn in the Saddle and seeing what makes Jesse tick-- he was a real butt-head in some of the previous books, so I'm glad to have gotten some insight. Lily-Grace is a very pragmatic and headstrong character and I'm happy we see her steps for her choices and see her stick to her guns when she knows it's important. Their chemistry is through the roof and seeing it play out was delightful. I will say, the summary is a bit misleading because I feel like Jesse's possible foray into politics is a very small part of the story. This whole series has been a fun look into the modern cowboy and I hope that even though we're done with the brothers that we get to see some books from a few of the side characters (like, cuz and the vet? we gotta have it. I need it.) Can't wait to see what Weatherspoon gives us next! 

On an editing note-- there were quite a few grammar and syntax errors (ie: Lily-Grace is sometimes LilyGrace or Lily Grace; y'all is spelled "ya'll" multiple times), but I'm hoping those can be cleaned up before its official release in October.

*Thank you to net galley and the publisher for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
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There's so much to love about this romance. Can Rebekah Weatherspoon do any wrong? 

The story of  Lily-Grace & Jesse felt like a fun, warm, and occasionally very hot ;) snuggle blanket of a romance. 
The banter had me grinning, the story drew me in, and I just loved this wonderful end to the Cowboys of California series! We get to meet all the family, colleagues, and friends again, and get to meet some new ones too. 

I'll keep my fingers crossed for a spin-off series - Pretty Please!!! ;)
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This book was so unexpectedly sweet and I loved it. It was my first read by Rebekah Weatherspoon and I'll definitely be picking up some more books by her. The writing was great and the characters very multi-dimensional with flaws and fleshed out personalities. I love an inexperienced and shy hero and Jesse was just the cutest. Sure, he has a bit of a temper but as you get to know him it becomes obvious that there is a deeper reason for it.
Lily-Grace on the other hand knows exactly what she wants and goes for it, which I respect so much. I was a bit confused by her dom/sub preference and wish it had been fleshed out a bit more. It's mentioned that she had a very clear dom/sub relationship before Jesse, but it's unclear to me if she wants the same with Jesse. I think that should have been discussed but it's otherwise not an important point in the storyline.
While I really liked the book, the blurb is a bit misleading. Jesse's temper and his political aspirations aren't central issues, while the suspense storyline wasn't mentioned at all in the synopsis which is why I was a bit surprised when it came up in the book. 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I was so excited to read Jesse Pleasant's turn at romance. I love that Jesse didn't have to be perfect to find love, but that he did recognize that he needed to work on himself, and the role him going to therapy and working through his family dynamic had on the book. It was a great read.
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I love the Cowboys of California series and I’ve been waiting for Jesse story since book one. This was sweet with emotional depth as Jesse dealt with anger and emotional issues surrounding his family. Lily Grace was the perfect love interest for Jesse balancing his personality and inspiring him to come out of his shell. Also, these covers are 🔥🔥🔥🔥 Rebekah Weatherspoon is a must buy author for me now❤️
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The absolute perfect conclusion to the Charming cowboy trilogy. I really do not want it to end but alas, here we are. Jessie (the character) is a fan favorite and his banter with the equally matched Lily-Grace was EVERYTHING. THe "beast" in him was certainly tamed when he met her, their attraction to each other was undeniable. Even though I surely hated that he broke the dad's arm but he made up for it.

And the steamy sex scene! WHEW!!!!

This trilogy was the best. I still want a book about Lilah and her father (Please make that happen, Rebekah!!!)
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A Thorn in the Saddle is the third installment in the Cowboys of California series by Rebekah Weatherspoon. I have read selections from all of Ms. Weatherspoon’s other series and love her unique characters. I am not sure how I missed this series, but I am totally in love with Jesse Pleasant. Jesse is easily the most interesting character, in my opinion, that Ms. Weatherspoon has ever penned. He is the anomaly in a family of ranching charmers: large, painfully shy, scared of horses, insecure and reticent. His two younger brothers have forged relationships and have in essence moved on; Jesse is the gatekeeper…. the one constant holding the family and the business together and almost at the point where he has given up on love. He has put his heart and soul into running Big Rock Ranch, southern California's most exclusive luxury dude ranch.  Walking in on his grandmother during a tryst, he overreacts and causes the gentleman caller to injure himself.  Escaping from her long-term controlling lover and a hostile work environment, Lily-Grace Leroux has returned to heal and spend time with her father. When she discovers that he was injured when Jesse Pleasant, a former middle school classmate, startled him, she swoops in to give Jesse a much-deserved scolding. She chastises Jesse for his short temper but as they spend time together, she comes to appreciate the purity of his spirit and the humbleness of his love. Our two main characters demonstrated so much growth over the course of their story. It was so refreshing to see Jesse grapple with his feelings of inadequacy and to seek help from both professionals and laypersons. To keep us on our toes, we get some mystery and a bit of action from an unexpected source. I absolutely loved all the secondary characters…especially Jesse’s cousin Lilah and hope we get to hear more from her and her fake date, Dr. Fetu. Ms. Weatherstone, as always, has a deft touch when noting differences in her characters; both physical and emotional. Lily-Grace has vitiligo but under this skilled author’s depiction, it did not become a “thing” it was just a part of her like her hair or eye color. I totally enjoyed all aspects of this story!
Note: I received a review copy from the publisher through Netgalley
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Rebekah Weatherspoon is a master at writing a book that feels soothing to read. A lot of people have been waiting on pins & needles for Jesse's book & I wasn't one of them honestly, though I'll read anything Rebekah writes. I really enjoyed Lily Grace though and her friendship with Jenny. I liked that Jesse wanted to work on himself for Lily Grace.
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Jesse Pleasant knows he has anger issues which explains him man-handling his grandmothers beau when he accidentally walks in on them. This angers the injured partys daughter Lily-Grace who marches over to give him a piece of her mind. Jesse can't get Lily-Grace out of his mind and she finds that she feels the same when she realises he is actually the same shy person she remembers from school. I was floundering a bit at the beginning as there are a lot of family members this is probably as its part of a series. However, once I got past this I really enjoyed the chemistry between Jesse and Lily-Grace.
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A Thorn in the Saddle is a cute read. Jesse and Lily-Grace are a perfect match, they just don’t know it. I loved the scenes with his grandmother and her father because they added sarcasm and spice to the story. I loved the dogs too, since they took on personalities of their own. This is the first book I’ve read in this series and by this author. I’d recommend exploring more of her books.
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This book was a solid entry into the continuing saga of the Pleasant family. This is the third book of a trio about a family of Black cowboys and movie stars at the center . I love this atypical in fiction representation of an extended Black family living in rural CA.  With Jesse at the center the book really mirrored his personality, family first, very responsible and quietly sexy.  Jesse was a rarely seen take on Black masculinity and was a breath of fresh air as he loosened up a little.  His evolution was believable.  I also loved how this book wrapped up or continued many of the story lines from the first two parts.  It was a more than satisfactory ending to my time on Pleasant Lane. 

While Weatherspoon can write some racy novels this one is sweeter but still has some sizzle.  I wanted a bit more Amanda but maybe she'll show up somewhere else.
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This book Have wonderful characters and they have great chemistry and the story line is good . This book is a good read and this is my first time from this author but not my last .
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wow wow wow!!! what an ending! this is such a heart warming series and Jesse’s story, was no different. As a long time fan of Rebekah Weatherspoon, and of the Cowboys of California series, I’ve been anxiously awaiting Jesse’s story. From his appearance and over protective stance in the first book, he’s always had the energy of a man burdened with many things. A Thorn in the Saddle, ends the story of the 3 Pleasant brothers on such a hopeful, joyful note. Things I enjoyed from the book:
- funny moments ( names like DJ Clip Clop, the name of the bar the gang goes to, Big Gulch lol)
- Jesse as a grump is delicious 
the very mature way Jesse and Lilah-Grace communicate and resolve conflict 
- the not quite slow burn but pragmatic approach to the romance
- the family bonding and connection 
- the cinematic feel of the book, definitely hope this series gets turned into a show 
- this is a family with wealth and mostly easily resolved problems, major “traumas” are resolved after 8 months in therapy 
- sensitive and emotionally intelligent characters 

Things I didn’t particularly care for 
- the lowkey mean way people were with Jesse in the beginning of the book, it was weird 
- some of the dialogue was a bit off, like stuff I’d see on Twitter but not sure people irl would speak like that 
- Lilah Grace making a joke? about throat punching someone was a bit weird, maybe it was meant to be funny? 

Overall enjoyed the book, the romance was sweet, not insta love, I guess slow burn since they were childhood crushes? Jesse and LG definitely had the energy of the couple that comes together for practical reasons and grow to like and love each other more and more as the years go by. I see them making it.
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I really enjoyed this third book in the Cowboys of California series, set on a SoCal, Black-owned luxury dude ranch. While this book probably works fine as a standalone, I should mention that I read the first two books in the series, which added to my enjoyment of seeing those characters again. Y’all, there are a lot of characters in this book, so if you haven’t read the first two books, brace yourself. 
This is meant to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling, according to the book description, but IMO we have more of a Beast v. Beast situation here—in a very good way. Jesse Pleasant, the oldest and largest of the gorgeous Pleasant brothers, basically runs the ranch in the absence of his parents, who are off being movie stars. Grandmother Miss Leona, matriarch of the Pleasant empire, is one of my favorite characters, but it’s basically up to Jesse and younger brother Zach to keep the dude ranch running, a task that involves looking after many cousins, in-laws, friends, etc. as well as a thriving business. Frustrated by family dynamics and tired of being taken for granted, at the book’s opening he’s considering an offer to leave the ranch and run for office. A few things stand in his way: his anger issues, and his hatred of public speaking. The former problem flares when he walks in on his grandmother making out with Mr. LeRoux, father of the book’s heroine, and wrenches the poor old guy’s arm in the process of throwing him out of the house. Needless to say, Grandmother is not pleased.
Neither is Lily-Grace LeRoux, home to recover from a bout of on-the-job sexual harassment and a breakup with her unsupportive boyfriend. She’s had it up to her eyebrows with men’s bad behavior, and she sets out to teach Jesse a lesson. Does she ever! Lily-Grace is smart, determined, wealthy due to her tech smarts, and delightfully snarky.
Lots of tropey goodness in this one: found/blood family, a date auction, a tasty slow burn, and a redeemable alphahole who gradually opens up to show his cinnamon-roll gooey interior. Plus a beautiful setting, horseys, and lots of humor. 
What I particularly liked about this tale:
•	the deep dive into family dynamics, a thread that’s been building throughout the series,
•	a hero who goes into therapy to deal with his anger issues, fears, and family drama/trauma
•	a clear-eyed, strong-willed heroine who displays humor and compassion at just the right moments
•	lots of personal growth in the protagonists and secondary characters
•	Did I mention horseys?
A very enjoyable ride/read, especially if you’ve read the first two books in the series. Highly recommend!
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I liked this book, but I don't feel like I loved it as much as the previous two. The reason for this, I think, is that there wasn't really enough plot to carry the middle part of the book.

At the beginning, it's incredibly dynamic. Jesse returns home to the ranch he runs with his brother Zach, only to get surprised that there is some guy who appears to be taking advantage of his beloved grandmother. He gets really physically intimidating around this point and the end result is that everyone in the family is kinda annoyed at him for it.

Actually, that's not limited to the family, because his grandmother's beau has a daughter around Jesse's age. Lily-Grace goes on to let him know in exact terms just what she thinks of him bullying a guy around her dad's age.

It sets up enemies to lovers really well.

Then, instead of a gradual shift from Jesse being a bit of a bear or an ogre, he just kind of starts anger management classes and falls into something very akin to insta-love with Lily-Grace.

Lily-Grace also has her own backstory, where she's just dumped her long term boyfriend/dominant due to the fact that he doesn't back her when she's been sexually assaulted by a work colleague. She wants to do something about outing this scum bag, beyond obviously just quitting that job so she's not in a toxic environment. However, both the issues stemming from the ex and the plans for what she wants to do to her ex-colleague kind of get relegated to the last chapters and the the epilogue respectively.

Which means that the only thing that's really going on in the middle part of this book is... these two hanging out together and liking each other.

It's not that it was a bad book. Just a bit of a plot and pacing issue for me personally.
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