I checked and this book is actually written by someone from Texas, so maybe this is accurate, but would the sheriff's department of a small town outside Amarillo really need to go to the local Mexican restaurant to find someone who could speak a few words of Spanish to two young human trafficking victims? I mean… I did two years of Spanish in high school almost 30 years ago, and I reckon I could have dredged up a few words to reassure them. Not having at least one Spanish-speaking officer or an on-call translator in a border state like Texas seems absolutely unbelievable. And going to the Mexican restaurant to find a translator - seriously? Could that get any more stereotypical? It’s problematic as heck and the author really needs a sensitivity reader to check the unconscious racism here.
The romance at the core of this book is a second-chance, with Dixie Moore returning to the small town she left as a teenager and meeting her high school sweetheart, Beau, once again. Except she's got a daughter in tow she never told Beau about because her conniving mother claimed Beau's father told them to get out of town.
I thought younger Dixie must have been absolutely spineless not to insist on speaking to Beau herself, which didn't jibe at all with either her older self or how anyone described her teenage self. It was a contrived plot which got more outlandish as we got to know Beau's ridiculously loving father Big Jim, and Beau himself. Dixie's mother gaslighted her appallingly and it made me absolutely furious when Dixie immediately forgave her and welcomed her back into her daughter's life.
Beau was a good romantic hero, kind, caring, hard-working and protective, but Dixie frustrated me so much I wanted to shake her. She flip-flipped from stubborn to spineless in a blink, and we never got to see the truth of her feelings about her father's death and her mother's betrayal apart from the author telling us she had one crying jag and one phone call with her mother where she cut ties, only to backflip when her mother turned up two days later.
The book had a decent premise, but there's a deus ex machina in the (racist) people smuggling subplot, some very token gay representation nobody but Dixie handles well, and a hot mess of a heroine. Two stars.
When to Call a Cowboy is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review via NetGalley.