Dexter: Honorable Cowboy (Harlequin American Romance #1314)

Dexter: Honorable Cowboy - Marin Thomas I can't help but think that Ms. Thomas had a Harlequin trope shopping list when she set out to plot this book.-Secret baby? Check.-Twins? Check.-City girl falls for country boy? Check.-Childhood friends become lovers? Check.-Domineering multi-millionaire father? Check.-Dry humping on a mechanical bull? Bonus.Dexter Cody is the good twin always picking up his brother Dusty's slack. When something needs doing, be it on the Cody family's massive ranch or in life in general, Dex makes it happen. Family loyalty is first and foremost for him, so he finds himself in a bit of a pickle when Dusty's old high school sweetheart shows back up in town after living in California for years. Dexter may still harbor a crush for the pretty Josie Charles, but she's got a little surprise for everyone.Josie, afraid of the powerful J.W. Cody, never told Dusty that their random hookup almost 5 years ago resulted in a little boy named Matt. In town to look after her father when he has a heart attack, she figures it's about time to straighten out the mess she's made by keeping Matt a secret. When Dusty takes off to Canada to think things over, she ends up spending time with her old friend Dex and wondering if maybe she had picked the wrong twin all those years ago.So, by all rights this book should have been terrible. Since this is part of a 5 or 6 book continuity, the plot is busier than a 1970s sofa with sequel bait, past and future protagonists and family intrigue. Somehow it stays fairly entertaining. Dex is charming with little Matt, taking him fishing and teaching him to ride a horse. The chemistry between Dex and Josie is well, not sizzling, but still palpable. She's no-nonsense and assertive where he's deferential and timid, and he's responsible and self-sacrificing where she's a bit selfish and procrastination-prone. They're like two interlocking puzzle pieces.Unfortunately, the conflict annoyed the piss out of me. Dex wants Josie something fierce, all but nailing her on the mechanical bull, but won't agree to a relationship with her because he thinks she should marry his brother, who's Matt's father. One, the 1950s were 60 years ago. Two, Josie is a grown woman, not some sort of underling to be moved around at will. When she said she wanted nothing romantic with Dusty, that should've been the end of it. All Dex's refusals did at that point is make him look like a sanctimonious prig who didn't think too highly of women. That's not something I admire in a hero.So maybe this is a 2.5 rather than a solid 3. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but it was pretty preposterous.