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Learning the Ropes by T.J. Kline with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop for Learning the Ropes, the new title from T.J. Kline.  Please be sure to check out the other tour stops, read the excerpt, and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where winners could get a Digital Set of RODEO QUEEN and THE COWBOY AND THE ANGEL, and Print Copy of THE COWBOY AND THE ANGEL  by T.J. Kline.

Book Review:

I’m just starting to pick up on the plethora of Cowboy / Western themed stories out there, I’m a little slow to the party.  See, I had horses for many years, and it is, for me, a huge bummer when the ‘horse related’ moments are not well done, or researched poorly.  So it has always had me a bit reluctant to delve in.  T.J. Kline, however, has the practical experience with horses, and a clever perspective in her stories that managed to allay my fears.

And I am so glad that I took a chance: Learning the Ropes is a wonderful little romance that brings some great horse-related moments in the middle of the budding romance between Alicia and Chris, with a few moments of love triangle and camaraderie that just adds fuel to the romance fire, and provides several moments of giggles.

Not having read the earlier books in the series, I was a bit concerned with feeling like I had missed something: this book stood alone perfectly – characters arrive developed and complete, but Kline adds dimension and quirks that enhance what is there, and gives insight into personalities and the relationship dynamics.

Alicia is wonderful: hard working and solidly crafted and working to make her dream of buying a ranch where she can teach barrel racing and her father can train horses come true. Her best friend Sydney has a brother Chris that she has always crushed on, but Chris is the circuit playboy: never one woman for long.  Alicia isn’t a one night stand girl – she wants and deserves a lifetime, so she feels Chris is out of her league.

Chris is a championship team roper with his partner and friend, David.  Like Alicia, they want to buy a spread and teach roping to those who want to learn and join the circuit. While Chris can hold onto that dream, he sees Alicia as a great option for his best friend David, and proceeds to push them together.  What he didn’t expect was that He wanted Alicia.  And the games begin.

There is a ton of heart in this story – the banter, the respect and even the gently developing relationship all show the friendships and concern that all of the characters have about the potential damage, and the real growth when Chris realizes that his playboy lifestyle pales in comparison to time with Alicia.  As Alicia starts to see the man underneath the reputation, and understands that her dreams and his dreams can work together, making them all more than imagined, the story takes flight and readers are left with nothing to do but cheer them on.

A fun story with a solidly built and developed romance, this is one that I could see continue without getting bored or tired: it was just the right length to satisfy with just niggles for a bit more.

Learning the Ropes by T.J. Kline with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Learning the Ropes
Author: T.J. Kline
Genre: Western
Published by: Avon, Impulse
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Pages: 384
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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About the Book:

Rule #1 - Don’t lose focus...

Barrel racer Alicia Kanani has had a long road to the top - and she’s not quite there yet. Finances have always been tight, and in the glitz and glam world of professional rodeo, that means that second best is probably the best she can hope for. With the National Finals coming up, she’s certainly not looking for a pair of cowboys to distract her.

Rule #2 - Don’t gamble what you can’t live without…

Playboy Chris Thomas is sure Alicia’s the perfect woman for his level-headed team roping partner, David Greenly. It seems like a match, until Chris realizes he wants Alicia for himself. The stakes have been raised; David and Chris are supposed to be a team, and this time, they’re on opposite sides.

Can Alicia rope this playboy’s heart, or will they find themselves too tangled up to let true love in?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Tasty Excerpt

 

“Remember that swimming hole off the highway, near Jackson Ranch Road?”

She laughed and nodded. “I haven’t been there in years. We used to go every weekend.”

“We need to go now.”

We? Was he asking her out? Or was this just a friendly outing, reliving old memories?

“You wouldn’t be trying to get me into a bathing suit just to see my tattoo, would you?”

Chris gave her a mischievous grin that made her stomach do a backflip. “So it’s something a suit won’t cover?”

She regretted saying anything and didn’t answer his question. “I could use a break and with Dad leaving this week for the show, there won’t be much to do that the grooms can’t handle,” she said, changing the subject.

“We can make a day of it. Take lunch and just hang out, like old times. I have to help Dad tomorrow. What about Tuesday?”

She nodded and heard the sound of a hoof hitting metal. “Do you think that’s yours or mine getting impatient?” She glanced at the trailers and saw Beast with his head hanging out the window. “Looks like it’s mine. I’d better get going.” She reached into her purse to grab her wallet.

“I’ve got it.”

He slipped his credit card to the waitress, signing for the meal and rising to walk out with her. His hand slid to her lower back and her skin tingled at his touch, lightning shooting from his fingers directly into her belly and down her limbs. She knew better than to make more of his simple gesture than it was but couldn’t help the pace of her heart. As she approached the trailer, she stepped onto the side rail to close the windows.

“Get your head in there, Beast. We’re going home.”

Chris moved behind her, with a hand on either side of her, and closed the window. She spun and found herself eye to eye with him, her breath catching in her throat as he stared at her lips.

“Um, thanks,” she whispered, surprised she could get any sound out at all. She laid her hands on his shoulders, prepared to step down when he moved.

Instead of moving backward, Chris’s hands found her waist and he lifted her from the side of the trailer and set her on the ground. She couldn’t get her bearings with his hands on her ribcage and her fingers slid down the muscles of his biceps to grip his forearms. His eyes were dark with longing and she realized what he intended only moments before his mouth met hers in a scorching kiss.

They moved backward until she was pressed against the side of her truck, with every inch of him heating her flesh, his hands buried in her hair. His lips tasted her, teasing, branding her, demanding a response. She couldn’t help herself as her fingers trailed up around his neck, drawing him down to her, closer. His lips moved from her mouth to her ear and down the side of her neck sending shivers of pleasure down her spine. His fingers trailed over her spine as she whispered his name, near frantic with yearning.

He growled and stepped away from her abruptly, leaving her trembling with longing. “Ali, what are we doing?”

She wasn’t sure what he expected her to say. Her mind was still spinning with the dizzy exhilaration of his touch. When her eyes met his, she could see regret. She wasn’t sorry he’d kissed her in the slightest. In fact, she wanted him to do it again, but she could see the guilt rising over him, drowning him with shame. Without another word, he turned and walked to his truck, climbing inside, leaving her standing beside hers with her hand over her kiss-swollen lips, wondering what just happened and how she was going to make it right.

 

 

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About T.J. Kline

T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has written several articles about rodeo for small periodicals, as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter, and has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah. In her spare time, she can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California.

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