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Not my first rodeo by Alexa Milne

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The idea for My Highland Cowboy came from an episode of Countryfile several years ago, not what might be considered an expected source for an m/m romance. For those readers outside the UK, Countryfile is a TV show about farming, now on here every Sunday. An episode showed a farm in the Highlands that had diversified into offering holidays which included driving cattle and learning rodeo skills. I immediately wrote up the idea and left it to one side in my plot bunny file.

My love of cowboys doesn’t come from films, but from TV. When I was a teenager, there were a few shows I watched set in the American West –  The High Chaparral, Alias Smith and Jones, and another called The Quest. I used to watch the first two with my dad who loved Manolito, as I did, and the comedy of Smith and Jones. Okay, I might have loved Ben Murphy a bit more than he did. Every week, the pair, who had changed their names to avoid being found by the bad guys after they’d been pardoned, had an adventure. Despite being outlaws, they were the good guys. Even though the show was never quite the same after the death of Pete Duel, I still watched at eight on a Monday evening, when the series was shown in rotation with The High Chaparral and The Waltons.

Dad didn’t watch The Quest as it was on a Friday night and he would be out then. The Quest starred Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson, who later played the Vice President in The West Wing. He, like Ben Murphy, made the list of names scrawled onto my school satchel alongside football players. Sadly, The Quest was pulled before it finished, so the two most unlikely of brothers never found their sister.

Move on quite a few years and a different sort of Western emerged – Dances with Wolves and Brokeback Mountain – which provided alternative views. Native Americans weren’t the enemy, and cowboys didn’t always drive cattle. Men still looked good in jeans though. But the cowboy stories were still American, set in those wide open American plains. I didn’t feel confident enough to write a story set there even though I’d read a few about modern cowboys set in modern day America. I needed something different and Countryfile provided the inspiration and a chance to write about these magnificent creatures – the Highland Coo.

In My Highland Cowboy, Duncan McLeish inherits a rundown farm in the Scottish Highlands and turns it into a successful ranch with holiday huts where people can learn horse-riding and rodeo skills. His best friend, Craig is the local doctor and another friend is Jenna, the local veterinarian. These two are about to get married and into Duncan’s rather lonely existence, walks or rather struts, Drew Sinclair, Jenna’s clothes designing brother. Now Drew loves a man in chaps, boots and a Stetson and has to admit, Duncan rocks a pair of jeans and a plaid flannel shirt almost as well as he wears leather and lace. Duncan already knows he likes men and women, but living where he does, limits his opportunities. Can he simply have a summer fling with Drew, or is there a chance this might turn into something more? And, even if it does, how can these two so different men be together when one lives in the Highlands and the other in London?

My Highland Cowboy gives you a little understanding of two different worlds, the beauty of the mountains and the hustle of London. It’s also a love story of opposites and how, when you’ve found the one, you find a way.

Duncan McLeish owns a ranch. Unlike most ranches, this one is in the Scottish Highlands. Having inherited a failing farm from his grandfather, he turns it into a successful business. He has friends and he loves his home, but he’s lonely, and not even infrequent trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh slake that thirst to find someone. Then Drew Sinclair walks into his life.

Drew Sinclair is tantalizingly close to getting his clothing brand noticed in the industry. He and his business partner, Joy, create individual dresses, while, on the side, Drew produces a line of men’s lingerie. He visits Scotland to design a bridal gown for his sister, Jenna, who is marrying Duncan’s best friend at Christmas.

Duncan and Drew have nothing except their Highland upbringing in common, but they say opposites attract, and the attraction is immediate. Is this simply a summer fling, or can two men who live such opposite lives miles away from each other find a way to love?

Reader Advisory: This book contains references to homophobia and references to death of a character’s parents.


Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.

Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.

She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.

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