Samantha's Cowboy (Harlequin American Romance #1271)

Samantha's Cowboy - Marin Thomas Third in a series about the wealthy Cartwright family, Samantha's Cowboy tells the story of a woman suffering the after effects of a head injury and her attempts to establish her independence.When she was 16, Samantha Cartwright was kicked in the head by a horse. Now 32, she's still suffering memory lapses and nightmares from the trauma. Though well-meaning, her protective father and brothers have sheltered her through her early adulthood and now she's eager to prove to herself and her family that she can make it on her own. She's marched into Wade Dawson's office to demand her trust fund monies so she can establish a rescue ranch for abandoned horses.When Wade brings up her account and sees that all $20million has disappeared, he begins to play for time. He shows up to single-handedly dig a 60 ft well, pays for supplies out of his own pockets and does his level best to stall her from scheduling improvements on the ranch.The two form a close bond from working together on this ranch. Unlike the cowboys Samantha's grown up with, decidedly un-macho, beta Wade is patient with her confusion and mental lapses while still seeing her as a woman, instead of a little sister. Likewise, Samantha sees past Wade's geeky glasses and business attire and can appreciate the learning difficulties he's had as a dyslexic. They complement each other, Samantha the sweat equity rancher and Wade the patient paper pusher.The story is marred, however, by a number of frustrating cliches and plot holes. The story starts slowly due to an awful lot of series rehash. While it was nice to see what her brothers had been up to, it added nothing at all to the story beyond being cheap starchy filler.Wade's son Luke, from a previous marriage, is that frustratingly prescient child character that plagues many a romance. He's 8 and speaks like an adult, providing deep thoughts and touching moments throughout the novel.I felt Wade handled the misappropriated funds issue inappropriately. She truly dragged it out with more lying and omission than a hero should do. He wasn't at fault, and he comes clean eventually, but it was highly unprofessional and irrational behavior. Samantha's Cowboy is an enjoyable story of a woman facing her fears and standing on her own, but it's deeply flawed in some respects.