Though he didn't know it at the time, the moment Kit Montgomery met Ashton Robertson, while visiting her brother, he captured her heart. Ever since then, she's been dreaming of a future with him - a future that will never be hers, because she's been told by a physician that she's dying. In an effort to fulfill his beloved sister's wish and give her a happy memory to sustain her in her final days, Ashton's brother, David, approaches Kit, asking him to marry her in name only, so that she can experience a wedding day. When Ashton discovers David's plan, the last thing she wants is for Kit to marry her out of pity or a sense of obligation to her brother. But she's surprised to find a freedom in his company that she's been denied all her life due to her frail health. Kit is everything she could want in a man, but his heart belongs to another - a woman who died years ago. Ashton longs to spend her final months with Kit and make their pretend marriage real. But how can she consign Kit to the same fate he already suffered with his first love?
Kit Montgomery is an English lord who was sent to Texas after the death of his one true love - a woman who had been married to his identical twin brother, the heir to the title. As she lay dying, he made a fateful decision that has haunted him ever since. Knowing something of his past, David thought Kit would be sympathetic to Ashton's plight and amenable to his plan, but in reality the request reopens the wounds on Kit's battered heart. Despite the pain it brings him, though, he finds it impossible to say no. The ethereally beautiful Ashton tugs at his heart in ways he never expected and the childlike joy she takes in simple things captivates him. Soon he finds himself falling in love and wanting to give her everything her illness and her overprotective family have denied her. But the past still haunts Kit and the thought of losing Ashton the same way he lost his first love places him in a special kind of hell, which only motivates him all the more to find a way to keep her by his side.
Thus far, I've loved everything I've read by Lorraine Heath, and Never Marry a Cowboy is no exception. It was a wonderful wrap-up to the Rogues in Texas, and my favorite of the series. This final book features, Kit Montgomery, the last of the three English nobleman friends who were sent to Texas to earn their way. Grayson and Harrison each lost their hearts in turn to Texas ladies in the first two books of the series, but Kit has vowed never to love again. The one time he allowed himself to love, it turned out disastrously and broke his heart into a million pieces. But he didn't count on a frail woman who has been told she's dying to capture his heart once more. Ashton's brother, David, caught her trying on her mother's wedding dress and read in her journals that she had a crush on Kit, who had visited her family only once, but had captured her imagination and her heart during his short time there. Thinking it will provide Ashton with her dying wish, David asks Kit to give his sister a marriage in name only. This leads to a great deal of complications for this tortured hero with a heart of gold. I absolutely loved Never Marry a Cowboy. It's a sweet, emotional, and sensual read that gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies and left me with a smile on my face.
When I first saw hints in the previous book, Never Love a Cowboy, of just how tortured and vulnerable Kit was, I knew he was going to be a great hero, and he definitely didn't disappoint. Kit is the second-born of identical twins, who never felt like he could live up to his father's expectations. He was a weak and sickly child, so he worked twice as hard to earn his father's respect but never really had it. Then he and his identical twin brother Christopher fell in love with the same woman, but since Christopher was the oldest and the heir, he is the one who ended up marrying her. Then Clarisse became seriously ill. Unable to deal with Clarisse being in unbearable pain during her final hours and knowing that Kit would want to say goodbye, Christopher sent for Kit, who secretly overdosed Clarisse on pain medication and then held her in his arms as she died. What he did has tormented him ever since, yet he knows he would do it all over again. It broke his heart so badly he vowed never to love again. Now he lives in Texas where he was sent by his father, and after trying his hand at picking cotton and driving cattle, he's finally settled in as the new marshal of the little town of Fortune, where he and his friends live. Kit is more or less walking through life in a blur, unable to get over his lost love, when David comes calling asking Kit to marry his sister. Getting involved, even in a pretend marriage, with a dying woman is the last thing Kit wants to do, but when he sees Ashton again, he's drawn to her ethereal beauty. After spending a day with her and seeing the childlike joy she takes in such simple things, despite her illness, he knows he can't deny her this final wish. But the more time he spends with Ashton, the more he wants to give her and make all her wishes come true, yet the guilt over what he did to Clarisse still haunts him, making him hold back a part of himself from her.
I loved Kit to pieces for not only wanting to make Ashton's wish come true, but for insisting on going above and beyond. He's a very detail-oriented person who doesn't forget a single thing and treats her like a princess. Kit is so giving and loving toward Ashton even though he knows that the further he falls in love with her the worse his heart is going to break if she dies in six months as the doctor predicted. This motivates him to do everything he can to help her get better, and I loved how he coaxes her to eat more and encourages her to take long walks with him on the beach where they're honeymooning. His efforts pay off as she slowly gains weight and becomes stronger. I adore the way he pampers her and wants to give her everything he can to make as many beautiful memories as possible in the time they have left, so they will both have something to sustain them in her final days and beyond. Kit is a wonderful man who wears his heart on his sleeve, but at the same time, he's incredibly strong and brave in ways it would be easy for others to miss.
Ashton is a sweet, unassuming young woman, who has been sickly all her life. She nearly died the previous winter, which is why the doctor, who diagnosed her with consumption, doesn't expect her to live more than another six months. Because of her illness, she's been doted upon and protected by her family, rarely doing much outside the house. When Kit came to visit her brother in the previous book, she was very attracted to him and started daydreaming about a life with him, which she detailed in her journals. When she travels to Fortune with David, she has no idea of his plans to ask Kit to marry her. When she finds out, she doesn't want his pity, but after spending some time with him, she finds herself falling more in love with him, so that when he proposes, she can't resist accepting, even though she knows it's a pretend marriage in name only. But that all changes when Kit insists upon taking her on a proper wedding trip to Galveston, where they spend a month at the beach, thoroughly enjoying each other's company. Ashton may have been pampered and brought up in privilege, but she's no spoiled miss. In fact, she craves her independence and wants to experience a few firsts before her time comes. Despite supposedly dying, she has an unquenchable zest for life and wants to seize every moment of the time she has left. Because of Kit's first love dying, she doesn't want to cause him any more pain and fully intends to go back to her brother's in Dallas when their time at the shore is up but finds herself falling more and more in love with him. She basks in Kit's love until she discovers his darkest secret. Then she isn't sure how she feels about what he did. The part of the story surrounding her uncertainties and shying away from Kit was hard to read after the beautiful romance they'd shared, but every part of the story was important to them finding peace, redemption, and an HEA.
There are several notable supporting characters in Never Marry a Cowboy. Kit's brother, Christopher, shows up, unintentionally confusing the townspeople into thinking he is Kit, which was amusing. I really liked that he became a part of the story, because the two brother have such a close connection. They share that twins thing, where they can feel each other's emotions even with an ocean separating them, and they've always been close, never begrudging each other anything, even when they fell in love with the same woman. Christopher suffered, too, when Clarisse died, so it was nice to see him get a new happy ending as well. Gray (A Rogue in Texas) and Harry (Never Love a Cowboy) prove to be Kit's loyal friends to the end. I love the bond that these men share. We also get to see Gray's and Harry's wives, Abby and Jessye, as well as their ever-expanding families. It was also nice to see Kit reconcile with his father. Then there are the villainous outlaws who cause no end of trouble for Kit.
Overall, Never Marry a Cowboy was a splendid read that was full of the sweetness, emotion, and swoon-worthy romance that I crave in my reading. I truly felt Kit and Ashton falling in love from the very beginning and throughout the first two-thirds or so of the book. I just loved all the time they spent together, getting to know one another and coming to realize they couldn't live without each other. During this part of the story they're so loving and giving. Even though the distance that develops after Ashton learns the truth of Clarisse's demise is heartbreaking, it brings each of them to a deeper understanding of each other and their feelings, so it served a valuable purpose. For me, Never Marry a Cowboy was a perfect read and an equally perfect wrap-up to the series. Now I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing the next generation of these men's families in the Daughters of Fortune, which also includes Kit and Ashton's son, Devon, as the hero of the second book, To Marry an Heiress.
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