Once A Cowboy (Harlequin American Romance)

Once a Cowboy - Linda Warren A bland book, in my opinion - it was a free ebook as a part of the Harlequin anniversary set, so I suppose I can't complain too much, but I saw the plot beginning and ending from a mile away - and that disappointed me. The story revolves around Brodie, a 40 year old retired rodeo star who finds out that he may be the missing child of a family whose son had been kidnapped as a young child. Alex Donovan is the investigator who not only breaks the news to Brodie, but also ends up falling in love with him.I read this book with an open mind, because there's really not much complexity to this book, and it's very easy to digest in about an hour or so of straight reading (I read it twice). The character emotions are real given the circumstances, and I give it to Warren in that she creates this atmosphere between Brodie and Alex that does manage to work in the scheme of events as Brodie debates his identity and comes to terms with the revelations surrounding the case. However, plot curveballs beware, there's a lot of unnecessary drama here and it comes out of nowhere. How on earth does Alex suddenly find out that her own family situation is, well...the way it is? Was it really necessary? And does the book have to drag out the drama the way it does? I don't think so, and there's a lot more that could've been added to this story, I think, that could have helped it be more original and still leave a lasting impression.To be honest, I wouldn't consider this a great read and it really didn't provide me with much to cling to. I think if you're new to Harlequin or romance books in general, it probably wouldn't come across as all that cliche, but considering I've read hundreds of stories like this one (and they've done it far, far better), I can't say it's a book I'd recommend to anyone. If I can refer specific titles that actually use this same plot device and are worth the time, I will reference them in an edit to this review.Overall score: 1/5