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A Thorn in the Saddle

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Set on a Black-owned luxury dude ranch with a fairy tale twist, the third Cowboys of California romance from award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon captivates with a modern take on Beauty and the Beast, as a brawny rancher and a brainy beauty find themselves in a beast of a predicament... Ranch owner Jesse Pleasant always felt too big for his desert town--literally--and Set on a Black-owned luxury dude ranch with a fairy tale twist, the third Cowboys of California romance from award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon captivates with a modern take on Beauty and the Beast, as a brawny rancher and a brainy beauty find themselves in a beast of a predicament... Ranch owner Jesse Pleasant always felt too big for his desert town--literally--and too brutish to fit in with his charming, cowboy brothers. After his temper gets the best of him one time too many, he's ready to accept the truth: he's cursed to be alone. But when the Senate selection committee comes looking for a man of his public standing, he knows this might be his chance to prove to his family and friends that he can keep his cool, all while giving back to his community. There's only one problem. While Jesse definitely has a mind for business, his people skills are more than lacking. Former tech consultant Lily-Grace Leroux has had it up to her hat with hot-tempered men who think they know what's best, especially a big headed rancher set on keeping her widowed father from dating his grandmother. But after Lily-Grace learns of Jesse's softer side during a painfully awkward showing at a community date auction, one thing becomes clear; Jesse Pleasant is not ready to run for public office. At least not yet. Against her better judgement, Lily-Grace offers to help Jesse learn how to connect with his prospective constituents. She never dreamed they would build their own connection, one destined for its own happily ever after...


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Set on a Black-owned luxury dude ranch with a fairy tale twist, the third Cowboys of California romance from award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon captivates with a modern take on Beauty and the Beast, as a brawny rancher and a brainy beauty find themselves in a beast of a predicament... Ranch owner Jesse Pleasant always felt too big for his desert town--literally--and Set on a Black-owned luxury dude ranch with a fairy tale twist, the third Cowboys of California romance from award-winning author Rebekah Weatherspoon captivates with a modern take on Beauty and the Beast, as a brawny rancher and a brainy beauty find themselves in a beast of a predicament... Ranch owner Jesse Pleasant always felt too big for his desert town--literally--and too brutish to fit in with his charming, cowboy brothers. After his temper gets the best of him one time too many, he's ready to accept the truth: he's cursed to be alone. But when the Senate selection committee comes looking for a man of his public standing, he knows this might be his chance to prove to his family and friends that he can keep his cool, all while giving back to his community. There's only one problem. While Jesse definitely has a mind for business, his people skills are more than lacking. Former tech consultant Lily-Grace Leroux has had it up to her hat with hot-tempered men who think they know what's best, especially a big headed rancher set on keeping her widowed father from dating his grandmother. But after Lily-Grace learns of Jesse's softer side during a painfully awkward showing at a community date auction, one thing becomes clear; Jesse Pleasant is not ready to run for public office. At least not yet. Against her better judgement, Lily-Grace offers to help Jesse learn how to connect with his prospective constituents. She never dreamed they would build their own connection, one destined for its own happily ever after...

30 review for A Thorn in the Saddle

  1. 5 out of 5

    JenReadsRomance

    Lily-Grace 4eva!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    I kept hearing buzz about this book and man it lived up to it. I wasn't sure about things at the start, Jesse totally disrespected his grandmother and caused her friend to get hurt. I actually loved that Lily-Grace took it upon herself to tear him a new one. As things went on it was interesting to see Jesse in a different light, to realize how much he was hiding because everyone was depending on him to run the ranch and his parents got the hell out of dodge the minute they could. The issues all I kept hearing buzz about this book and man it lived up to it. I wasn't sure about things at the start, Jesse totally disrespected his grandmother and caused her friend to get hurt. I actually loved that Lily-Grace took it upon herself to tear him a new one. As things went on it was interesting to see Jesse in a different light, to realize how much he was hiding because everyone was depending on him to run the ranch and his parents got the hell out of dodge the minute they could. The issues all of that caused. I liked that Lily-Grace's flip comment about therapy was something that Jesse took to heart and it made him see things in a different light. I also loved that Jesse didn't take the ass ripping Lily-Grace gave him and cause him to be bitter, instead he thought hard on things and even reached out to Lily-Grace. At the start of their relationship things were a bit weird, both were brutally honest and they hit on some very personal, intimate things, but it worked for them. It caused talk to be a big corner stone of their relationship, a great thing. Both of them really influenced the other to face fears and make changes in their lives too, all of this an lots of sexy times too. The end of the book had me smiling, loved that these 2 found their HEA and that things on the ranch are so much better for everyone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I've been waiting for Jesse's book! Jesse is a strong, silent mess who's been strong for everyone else but himself for too long. Lily-Grace is his opposite in many ways, but also the best person to help him break down some of the issues he needs to deal with. And she is my favourite kind of heroine--brilliant, ballsy, charming, caring (and will fight you). I do think the blurb is misleading in that it focuses a lot on Jesse's potential political ambitions, which is not at all what the story cente I've been waiting for Jesse's book! Jesse is a strong, silent mess who's been strong for everyone else but himself for too long. Lily-Grace is his opposite in many ways, but also the best person to help him break down some of the issues he needs to deal with. And she is my favourite kind of heroine--brilliant, ballsy, charming, caring (and will fight you). I do think the blurb is misleading in that it focuses a lot on Jesse's potential political ambitions, which is not at all what the story centers on. There are a LOT of individual issues that Jesse and Lily-Grace both deal with that are external to their relationship and don't really affect it very much; they just support each other on these issues, and that's pretty much the story. Some of these issues or elements of their respective lives feel dropped in and don't get picked up again in depth, which can lead the reader down one path expecting a resolution or a conflict that doesn't really happen. That said, I kinda don't care that the story is just Jesse and Lily-Grace finding their way together because they are both great, individually and as a couple, their banter is top-notch, and the chemistry is fire, and super-low relationship angst/conflict is very welcome. And of course, the extended Pleasant family shines in their everyday lives. This is my favourite of the series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    DNF ~10% Didn’t grab my attention Too much summation of previous books/couples for my taste (plus a side character with a pet peeve name) A surprising number of typos for a trad publication And the biggest kicker — both main characters are driven almost exclusively by anger at this point, which is my least favorite motivator to read about

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    DNF @ Chapter Three Jesse was 6'7 so I was sold on that. But I just don't think him injuring her dad and treating his grandmother like that was redeemable - for me it wasn't just 'grumpy' or overprotective, it was abuse, and I just didn't want to read about a character that did things like that, even if he was supposedly redeemed. I'm disappointed because I've loved other books by Rebekah Weatherspoon and I vibe hard with cowboys in romance so I was excited for this one, but it just wasn't for me. DNF @ Chapter Three Jesse was 6'7 so I was sold on that. But I just don't think him injuring her dad and treating his grandmother like that was redeemable - for me it wasn't just 'grumpy' or overprotective, it was abuse, and I just didn't want to read about a character that did things like that, even if he was supposedly redeemed. I'm disappointed because I've loved other books by Rebekah Weatherspoon and I vibe hard with cowboys in romance so I was excited for this one, but it just wasn't for me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emmalita

    I loved this book so much. I have enjoyed Rebekah Weatherspoon’s Cowboy’s of California series. I wasn’t at all sure how she was going to top the amazing middle book, If the Boot Fits, but she did. A Thorn in the Saddle is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It has a man with a temper, a daughter defending her father, and a couple who face their fears to be brave for one another. Jesse has been the brother hanging out in his younger brothers’ books being quietly interesting. He shines in A Thorn I loved this book so much. I have enjoyed Rebekah Weatherspoon’s Cowboy’s of California series. I wasn’t at all sure how she was going to top the amazing middle book, If the Boot Fits, but she did. A Thorn in the Saddle is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It has a man with a temper, a daughter defending her father, and a couple who face their fears to be brave for one another. Jesse has been the brother hanging out in his younger brothers’ books being quietly interesting. He shines in A Thorn in the Saddle. He was already a great character, but he makes himself even better for Lily-Grace. Jesse starts the book off in a bad mood and makes some poor life choices when he comes across his grandmother and Lily-Grace’s father having a romantic moment, He angers his grandmother, upsets his family, and puts himself in Lily-Grace’s cross-hairs. She storms into an important meeting, chews him out, and steals his dog. At that moment, Lily-Grace also stole Jesse’s heart (and mine). One of the things that Weatherspoon does incredibly well is create women with an enormous range of vulnerability and strength. Like other great Weatherspoon women before her, Lily Grace knows her own worth. She knows who she is and what she likes. However, she has been through a difficult few years and is burnt out from work. Others including a man with whom she was in an intense long term sexual relationship, have not seen Lily Grace’s value and that has wounded her. She has returned to Charming, California tired and unsure of what she wants next, but quite certain that Jesse Pleasant will apologize to her father and take steps to atone for his behavior. Jesse does know Lily Grace’s value, and he is happy to show it. Rebekah Weatherspoon is always a good read and A Thorn in the Saddle might be my new favorite of her books. Everything about this book was perfect and I will not hear different. It’s full of family, community, dogs, going to therapy, banter, love languages, sex lessons, swimming lessons, and horseback riding lessons. I felt so good after I finished that I have read it a few more times. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance reader copy. My opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kazen

    This is one of those books that's good, and I like it, but it doesn't quite work for some its-not-you-its-me reasons. The good: - While there's bunches of conflict, both external and internal, none of that conflict is within the relationship. So despite Jessie working on his anger and role in the extended family, and despite Lily-Grace's awful ex and indecision about what to do next in her life, the relationship itself is low angst. - This is the first time I've seen vitiligo on the page! Lily-Grac This is one of those books that's good, and I like it, but it doesn't quite work for some its-not-you-its-me reasons. The good: - While there's bunches of conflict, both external and internal, none of that conflict is within the relationship. So despite Jessie working on his anger and role in the extended family, and despite Lily-Grace's awful ex and indecision about what to do next in her life, the relationship itself is low angst. - This is the first time I've seen vitiligo on the page! Lily-Grace has has it since she's a child, and I love that it's both a non-issue (Jesse doesn't stick on it) and that it isn't forgotten ('hey, can you help me put on this sunscreen before we swim?'). - Lily-Grace is awesome, in general. She doesn't take any crap from anyone, and she's secure in her sense of self and in her own worth. The dynamic with her best friend, Jenny, is great, too. - People have been telling Jesse to go to therapy for two books by now, and he finally does. It's great to see him work through his anger, and while the opening of the book is kinda... severe?... I feel like he redeems himself for it. - I love that both Jesse and Lily-Grace have money, and they discuss how they use it. He likes giving expensive gifts. She likes receiving expensive gifts, especially those she's hinted at (Pinterest board) or specifically asks for. It would seem over the top if handled poorly, but here it's done well. - There's a mini theme about taking care of yourself before taking care of others. Yes, it's noble to do good in the world by running for office, say, or exposing corruption, but not everyone is in a place to do that. It may make sense to wait. It may make sense to leave it to someone else and affect positive change elsewhere through another means. And that's great. What didn't work for me, personally: - Lily-Grace's ex is awful and won't go away, and I am not a fan of that in romance. - The family situation at the end is resolved with one phone call, and I don't quite believe it. A solid end to the series, and I love that Jesse found his match in Lily-Grace. It wasn't as compulsively readable as the first two books in the series for me personally, but your mileage will likely vary. Content notes: (view spoiler)[mentions of past sexual harassment, emotionally abusive ex, harassment, injury (hide spoiler)] Thanks to Dafina for providing a review copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ness (Vynexa)

    Thank you to Kensington Books for providing an early ARC via Netgalley! When requesting this book, I had no idea it was part of a companion series until after I submitted a request. Once I saw I was approved, there was a bit of hesitance when getting closer to the release date. There were times when I felt overwhelmed by how many characters there were, especially in the beginning, but as I read on, I got remembered who was who and was following along just fine. Jesse was such a gentleman who started Thank you to Kensington Books for providing an early ARC via Netgalley! When requesting this book, I had no idea it was part of a companion series until after I submitted a request. Once I saw I was approved, there was a bit of hesitance when getting closer to the release date. There were times when I felt overwhelmed by how many characters there were, especially in the beginning, but as I read on, I got remembered who was who and was following along just fine. Jesse was such a gentleman who started off very serious, so much so that I felt it radiating off of my kindle. Seeing him slowly become more and more open in regards to his emotions was so wonderful to experience. This story provides a hero and heroine with really good communication, which is such a nice breath of fresh air. Especially since this is a romance novel, which tend to get rep for having the opposite. It was enjoyable seeing two people communicate their feelings and thoughts. Something else I really appreciated about this story is that therapy was incorporated. At the start of the book, Jesse loses control of his temper and many people in his life suggest going to therapy. I am not Black, yet I know what it is like growing up being told/expressed that seeking therapy is unnecessary, having it engrained into your mind that if you seek therapy, you are crazy or that only White people do that. Having that negative connotation towards something that is very much helpful and a positive thing your whole life, it has been really nice seeing BIPOC stories incorporate seeking therapy as being something positive and accepting. I will say that I didn't really get to feel the chemistry between Jesse and Lily-Grace. I am unsure why, maybe it could've been because this is a trope that involves a childhood crush coming back and the feelings were already there or what, but I didn't feel it. I liked seeing them spending time together and their conversations, especially towards the end of the story, yet I did not feel their love for one another. It was a good time! I am hoping we get a story with Lilah and Fetu as I sense they would have my absolute favorite trope in romance?? Manifesting it!! This book can be enjoyed without reading the prior two novels. However, I do think that it may be more enjoyable that way as you would already know about the character and how they all connect. ⭐️3.5 STARS⭐️

  9. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    I've been waiting for the conclusion to this series and I personally didn't want it to be over! Jesse's story has been long-anticipated and with good reason, but I frankly loved his facing-off dynamic with Lily-Grace from the beginning of the book and how he ultimately won her over. Weatherspoon's heroes are absolutely swoony and I love that they always end up having their worlds rocked by the women who come into them and completely upend their situation (but change their lives for the better). I I've been waiting for the conclusion to this series and I personally didn't want it to be over! Jesse's story has been long-anticipated and with good reason, but I frankly loved his facing-off dynamic with Lily-Grace from the beginning of the book and how he ultimately won her over. Weatherspoon's heroes are absolutely swoony and I love that they always end up having their worlds rocked by the women who come into them and completely upend their situation (but change their lives for the better). I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    (free review copy) This might be my favorite in the series!! I adored the previous books as well, but getting to revisit those characters here plus an almost no-angst romance is DELIGHTFUL. I wish we could have more more more of these books. My favorite works from Weatherspoon.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Marie

    Best Beauty and the Beast retelling EVER!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    Jesse. Oh Jesse Pleasant, how I just wanted to hug you throughout this book. Lily-Grace is the perfect woman for this romantic, gruff, swoony man. I loved this who series and I’m hoping there’s a spin-off with another character, but this book was nothing short of spectacular!

  13. 5 out of 5

    The CurvyJones

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was an OK read to me. Had a hard time holding my attention, but I got to about 60% before I skipped through to the end. I balk at auctions, even for charity, specifically where people are bidding for Black people- it just rubs me in all the wrong ways. Loved the premise, it just didn't hit me right. I skipped book two in this series so I would probably have more of an affinity for the characters had I read it. I loved Jesse in book 1, but he doesn't leap from the page for me in this book.. This was an OK read to me. Had a hard time holding my attention, but I got to about 60% before I skipped through to the end. I balk at auctions, even for charity, specifically where people are bidding for Black people- it just rubs me in all the wrong ways. Loved the premise, it just didn't hit me right. I skipped book two in this series so I would probably have more of an affinity for the characters had I read it. I loved Jesse in book 1, but he doesn't leap from the page for me in this book.. I LOVE this author so of course will read more by Weatherspoon. This series just wasn't it for me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Well, this book is about Jesse, the eldest Pleasant brother, and is also the Beauty and the Beast retelling so it's no surprise that it's probably my favourite. Jesse Pleasant is the strong, silent type, with an undercurrent of "the secret is I'm always angry" Hulk in him. When he walks into his grandmother's house to find her in flagrante with her new beau, his temper gets the better of him, and his menace leads to said new beau injuring himself. Cue Lily-Grace, whose father is the beau in quest Well, this book is about Jesse, the eldest Pleasant brother, and is also the Beauty and the Beast retelling so it's no surprise that it's probably my favourite. Jesse Pleasant is the strong, silent type, with an undercurrent of "the secret is I'm always angry" Hulk in him. When he walks into his grandmother's house to find her in flagrante with her new beau, his temper gets the better of him, and his menace leads to said new beau injuring himself. Cue Lily-Grace, whose father is the beau in question. She's recently back in town after her tech job imploded because she called out sexual harassment, and to add insult to injury, her boyfriend didn't support her in it. So she's already primed, and Jesse's actions just turn on the nozzle of anger. But their mutual anger is a sign of sparks in other ways, and after understanding each other better and making amends about past hurts, they initiate a li'l quid pro quo: Jesse will help Lily-Grace learn to swim, and Lily-Grace will help Jesse learn to...well, you know. As you might imagine, feelings develop, and sweetness ensues. This is such a great example of how you can have a romance with external conflict that doesn't involve a third act breakup for stupid reasons, and I am here for it. Perhaps it's because Jesse starts therapy after Lily-Grace's father gets injured, but they just are so good at communicating and being open, like grown-ass adults, and it's refreshing to see. Jesse has a layer of anger, but he starts unpacking that in therapy and addressing it, and he's also just so vulnerable despite having been hurt in the past. I always appreciate representations of people in their 30s and 40s who are not as experienced, especially when it presents an opportunity to have a "teach me" scenario. And you know what, even though it makes me very jealous, I also love to see people with money spoil each other with extravagant gifts. The gift-giving was the result of a conversation about love languages, but it wasn't the depth of their expressions of love for each other. Jesse conquering his decades-long fear of horses to get back in the saddle so he can go on trail rides with Lily-Grace warmed my shriveled little heart. The pacing towards the end was a bit abrupt for me, but overall, this was so wonderful and lovely. I continue to adore Rebekah Weatherspoon and everything she writes. Additionally, give me Lilah and Doc's romance pronto, please. Content warnings for discussion of past sexual harassment

  15. 5 out of 5

    Morgan S

    A Thorn in the Saddle is an extremely fun, compelling, emotional, sexy and successful romance! I love the vague beauty and the beast trop vibes, which was the main reason I was interested since I usually tend to avoid more "Western" themed romances. Luckily for me, the whole cowboy theming wasn't too heavy for me and I ended up really enjoying the ranch setting since it's paired with a really modern adjacency to LA. As for the characters, Jesse and Lily-Grace are not only instantly loveable but I A Thorn in the Saddle is an extremely fun, compelling, emotional, sexy and successful romance! I love the vague beauty and the beast trop vibes, which was the main reason I was interested since I usually tend to avoid more "Western" themed romances. Luckily for me, the whole cowboy theming wasn't too heavy for me and I ended up really enjoying the ranch setting since it's paired with a really modern adjacency to LA. As for the characters, Jesse and Lily-Grace are not only instantly loveable but I could immediately feel their compatibility from literally the first page. BEFORE THEY EVEN MET I was like oh my god I completely understand how these two people would be perfect for each other. Their ROMANCE!! Their CHEMISTRY!! Don't talk to me, I can't handle it. My only qualm is that I really don't think the provided synopsis really conveys the story well at all. The synopsis places a lot of emphasis on Jesse being interested in running for a political position and Lily-Grace helping him get more comfortable being a public figure. The political thing is like, there, but it's really not that big a part of the story at all. I'd more say that this is a story of Jesse feeling like his family is moving beyond him and Lily-Grace coming to her hometown to regroup after an upset in her personal life, and then them finding ways to grow as individuals together! Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy! I can't wait to buy my own physical copy in October lol

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Geha

    A Thorn in the Saddle by Rebekah Weatherspoon Cowboys of California #3 Elementary school friends meet gain when Lily-Grace returns to Charming, California to lay low and regroup as she decides what her future plan will be. When Jesse Pleasant does something that upsets Lily-Grace, she lets him know just how she feels and the fireworks begin…fireworks that lead to a whole lot more. What I liked: * The idea that childhood friends meet and find they are good together as adults and as a couple * The op A Thorn in the Saddle by Rebekah Weatherspoon Cowboys of California #3 Elementary school friends meet gain when Lily-Grace returns to Charming, California to lay low and regroup as she decides what her future plan will be. When Jesse Pleasant does something that upsets Lily-Grace, she lets him know just how she feels and the fireworks begin…fireworks that lead to a whole lot more. What I liked: * The idea that childhood friends meet and find they are good together as adults and as a couple * The open honest communication between Lily-Grace and Jesse * That Jesse realizes he has an anger issue and goes for counseling * That both main characters confronted and conquered personal fears * The location on the ranch in California * Seeing people from previous books * Wondering if there will be a book for some of the supporting characters * The great relationship Lily-Grace has with her father * The friendship that developed before and along with the steamier aspect of the relationship between the main characters What I didn’t like: * Dane: the man Lily-Grace dated for five years * The harassment experienced by Lily Grace at her last job Did I enjoy this book? Yes Would I read more by this author? Yes Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenica

    A Thorn in the Saddle not only delivered the Jesse content I think we've all been waiting for (and made me feel a little guilty about how badly I wanted it!) but also gave us a heroine I truly fell in love with. Lily Grace is such a fantastic strong and outspoken character. Her journey was one I really loved getting to experience alongside her and watching her give Jesse a hard time was certainly a lot of fun. Essentially, Jesse finds his grandma and Lily Grace's dad locked in a... heated embrac A Thorn in the Saddle not only delivered the Jesse content I think we've all been waiting for (and made me feel a little guilty about how badly I wanted it!) but also gave us a heroine I truly fell in love with. Lily Grace is such a fantastic strong and outspoken character. Her journey was one I really loved getting to experience alongside her and watching her give Jesse a hard time was certainly a lot of fun. Essentially, Jesse finds his grandma and Lily Grace's dad locked in a... heated embrace shall we say and sort of loses his temper. (Don't worry, he also goes to therapy!) He gets told a lot that he has anger issues, which, honestly, would likely shorten my fuse too. Anyway, Lily Grace, who is home because her job in tech sort of... became a place she didn't want to be (content warning for sexual harassment) and her boyfriend was sort of (a lot) disappointing in response, has a lot to say to Jesse about losing his temper on her dad like that. And then we're basically off to the races. The tentative steps toward friendship and more, the sex lessons, the sexual tension, the romantic gestures... I mean, this book delivers in a lot of ways. I felt like it sort of lost momentum for me in the third quarter of the book, which is where it faltered for me, but overall, I enjoyed this one and am grateful for the chance to have read it! Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy, although I read a finished copy via Libro.fm using a credit.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ancillar

    A thorn in the saddle by Rebekah Weatherspoon is book 3 in the Cowboys of California and I want to devour the first two now. A huge thanks to the publisher for my e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. The book follows Jesse Pleasant the oldest of the Pleasant brothers of Big Rock Ranch who finds himself acting as the caretaker of his family. So it's no surprise when he overreacts in a situation that leads to someone's granddaughter making an appearance and addressing his anger issues. I enjoyed A thorn in the saddle by Rebekah Weatherspoon is book 3 in the Cowboys of California and I want to devour the first two now. A huge thanks to the publisher for my e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. The book follows Jesse Pleasant the oldest of the Pleasant brothers of Big Rock Ranch who finds himself acting as the caretaker of his family. So it's no surprise when he overreacts in a situation that leads to someone's granddaughter making an appearance and addressing his anger issues. I enjoyed watching these two characters come together and fall in love (or do they). Rebekah wrote an addictive and steam *wink* packed book everyone will love

  19. 5 out of 5

    carrietracy

    Lots of times when an author is writing a series, there's one you're waiting for. You know it, the author knows it, everyone knows it. And there's a lot to live up to in that anticipation. And often the hopes and wishes can't really quite live up to the reality (I am looking at you Mary Balogh/Bedwyns). Weatherspoon absolutely completely delivers here. You've been waiting for Jesse? YOU WERE RIGHT TO WAIT FOR JESSE. You want this to be the best book in the series? Oh no worries, it doubtless is. Lots of times when an author is writing a series, there's one you're waiting for. You know it, the author knows it, everyone knows it. And there's a lot to live up to in that anticipation. And often the hopes and wishes can't really quite live up to the reality (I am looking at you Mary Balogh/Bedwyns). Weatherspoon absolutely completely delivers here. You've been waiting for Jesse? YOU WERE RIGHT TO WAIT FOR JESSE. You want this to be the best book in the series? Oh no worries, it doubtless is. This was hard task - given who Jesse was at the start - I was a little worried about his redemption. Could Weatherspoon pull it off in a way that didn't make me uncomfortable. And she really, really did. This was really enjoyable. If you've liked the other books in the series, this is a must buy/read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melisa

    I’ve enjoyed all three books in the Cowboys of California series but I think this was my favorite one. I wanted Jesse’s story from the beginning and this book was a chance for him to really come to life. He and Lily-Grace, from their adorable childhood to her bursting into his meeting and giving him a piece of her mind, just clicked in the best way. While Lily-Grace was back in town recovering from her own issues, Jesse is really the one who has things to work through and overcome. Their relatio I’ve enjoyed all three books in the Cowboys of California series but I think this was my favorite one. I wanted Jesse’s story from the beginning and this book was a chance for him to really come to life. He and Lily-Grace, from their adorable childhood to her bursting into his meeting and giving him a piece of her mind, just clicked in the best way. While Lily-Grace was back in town recovering from her own issues, Jesse is really the one who has things to work through and overcome. Their relationship was just everything. From Jesse teaching her how to swim to the intimacy lessons Lily-Grace gave him, the dynamic between the two was just perfect! Overall, I really enjoyed this entire series and Jesse and Lily-Grace’s story was the perfect finish!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    I. Freaking. Loved. This. Book. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, bring more books into the world with strong men and women who recognize they are struggling and GET THERAPY!!!! I LOVE TO SEE IT!!! I loved Jesse, who is loving and thoughtful but also struggles with finding his place and feeling like he belongs. And I love our bold heroine, Lily-Grace, who stands up for herself and her loved ones. This book was just…perfect. All the feelings. I hope the author writes more books about the s I. Freaking. Loved. This. Book. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, bring more books into the world with strong men and women who recognize they are struggling and GET THERAPY!!!! I LOVE TO SEE IT!!! I loved Jesse, who is loving and thoughtful but also struggles with finding his place and feeling like he belongs. And I love our bold heroine, Lily-Grace, who stands up for herself and her loved ones. This book was just…perfect. All the feelings. I hope the author writes more books about the side characters because I don’t want this series to ever end!!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jen (mrs-machino)

    Unique characters and a lovely, fun story, nice wrap up to the series. It felt like Jesse and Lily-Grace’s relationship moved a little fast but I appreciated their honesty with each other and it was really great to see Jesse get more comfortable sharing who he was.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I’ve been waiting for Jesse’s story, and it did not disappoint! I love the themes and topics explored, all within the ranch family. And I loved the main characters! Worth reading! 4 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Super glad Jessie got his happy ever after :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anya

    As always, Rebekah Weatherspoon delivers great romance. You don't need to read the first two in the series, as the author gives a brief synopsis (also a great reminder of what happened for people who have read the first two) this book is a bit more sexually explicit, which I enjoyed. It's not quite enemies to lovers, more adversaries, as the main characters get off to a bad start. As always, Rebekah Weatherspoon delivers great romance. You don't need to read the first two in the series, as the author gives a brief synopsis (also a great reminder of what happened for people who have read the first two) this book is a bit more sexually explicit, which I enjoyed. It's not quite enemies to lovers, more adversaries, as the main characters get off to a bad start.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn's

    Yes Ms. Weatherspoon, Jesse is our favorite Pleasant. Jesse has the burden of the entire ranch and business on his shoulders while the others in the family have been able to pursue other hours and dreams and love. Jesse stilted in that department. Lily-Grace is a force of nature, a whirlwind I'd say plowing into Jesse's life. I'm not sure how to put into words what I feel or think of Lily-Grace, or here match with Jesse, so I'll let that simmer a little. I loved this series and this family. Miss Yes Ms. Weatherspoon, Jesse is our favorite Pleasant. Jesse has the burden of the entire ranch and business on his shoulders while the others in the family have been able to pursue other hours and dreams and love. Jesse stilted in that department. Lily-Grace is a force of nature, a whirlwind I'd say plowing into Jesse's life. I'm not sure how to put into words what I feel or think of Lily-Grace, or here match with Jesse, so I'll let that simmer a little. I loved this series and this family. Miss Leona is a ball breaker matriarch and reins these gang in, loved the entire series!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    We finally got a story with Jesse and he was worth the wait. Great character development I got to get to know the characters they seemed real and relatable. I loved the chemistry and vulnerability between the characters, a great read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    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. Thanks to Dafina Books and NetGalley for the early read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I received an advance copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own. Content notes:(view spoiler)[ - Alcohol consumption - Injury - Mention of sexual harassment in workplace - Explicit sexual content - Anger issues, therapy sought out - Therapy - Pregnant side char - Harassment - Ex continuing to try contacting MC, including using unknown number when they’ve been blocked - Home invasion (hide spoiler)] Gosh, this I received an advance copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own. Content notes:(view spoiler)[ - Alcohol consumption - Injury - Mention of sexual harassment in workplace - Explicit sexual content - Anger issues, therapy sought out - Therapy - Pregnant side char - Harassment - Ex continuing to try contacting MC, including using unknown number when they’ve been blocked - Home invasion (hide spoiler)] Gosh, this is hands-down the best of Rebekah Weatherspoon’s cowboy books! Not only do we finally get Jesse’s book, but it also includes sex lessons, therapy, and the wonderful family dynamics Weatherspoon always shows so well! Jesse Pleasant is the oldest of the Pleasant brothers of Big Rock Ranch and in many ways he’s been forced into the role of caretaker and leader after their father went to London for his acting career. When he comes home early from his brother’s wedding, he comes across his grandmother, Miss Leona, having a moment with her beaux, Mr August LeRoux. Jesse reacts badly to seeing someone with his grandmother, and scares Mr LeRoux to the point he falls off the couch and breaks his wrist. When August’s daughter learns of the incident, Lily-Grace immediately makes her way to Big Rock and confronts Jesse about his anger issues and tells him he needs to get therapy. When Jesse goes to apologize, Lily-Grace makes him work for her forgiveness, and as they start reconnecting (they knew each other in middle school) they start building a relationship together. But it’s not all smooth sailing as Lily-Grace’s ex still feels possessive of her and keeps trying to contact her after she tells him things are over. I’ve loved Jesse from the moment he was introduced, and had been looking forward to him getting his own romance. A Thorn in the Saddle did not disappoint! There was so many fun moments, but also great emotional moments. Seeing how soft and caring Jesse is, especially when he comes off as a very large, very angry man at times, was just so sweet. He listens well to Lily-Grace and when she mentions expensive gifts are her love language (and Jesse has the means to support this), he immediately sends gifts her way. I always love the family and friendships in Weatherspoon’s books, and in this series in particular I love the dynamics of the Pleasant brothers and their extended family. There’s so much love, and so many ways they support one another. Jesse is often the supporter as the eldest but it was wonderful getting to see him lean on his brothers. I also love his relationship with Miss Leona and how close they are, between sharing cooking duties for feeding the whole Pleasant family and the times when Jesse goes to her for life advice. Lily-Grace is wonderful and I loved her from the moment she marched into Jesse’s meeting to tell him off, and that love only grew when she answered the door in a Baby Yoda adult onesie. She has so much personality, and is so comfortable in herself. I also loved that she was the one providing sex lessons to Jesse, and how her experience is seen in a positive way. She’s fierce in the best way, and is a great balance for Jesse and helps him grow, while he also builds her confidence and supports her. Lily-Grace is initially only supposed to be home for a short while while figuring out her next life step, and the way her choices are open and accepted by both Jesse and her father was just so lovely. All around, I loved this book and it brought me such joy to read. Jesse and Lily-Grace are so sweet, and I love the ways they support and encourage each other’s personal growth. If you want a low-angst romance with sexy cowboys and adorable dogs, you absolutely need to check this book out!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    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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