When the Rancher Came to Town by Emma Cane

When the Rancher Came to Town by Emma Cane
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (93 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Welcome to Valentine Valley!

The Silver Creek Rodeo is in full swing, and everyone’s talking about the rancher who came to town…

Bed-and-breakfast owner Amanda Cramer wants nothing more than a quiet, private life. Well, she wants guests too, but after suffering her share of unwanted notoriety, she’s gotten comfortable hiding out in her inn . . . perhaps a little too comfortable. When her newest customer arrives—tall, dark, and breathtaking—Amanda begins to question her self-imposed exile.

Ex-rodeo star Mason Lopez knows all about the limelight. He’d avoid it if he could, but since one last ride could mean saving his family’s ranch, he’ll go all in. When he gets to Valentine Valley for the Silver Creek Rodeo, Mason checks into the Connections B&B and finds himself immediately drawn to the beautiful, reserved woman who owns it.

Mason has only three days in town . . . can he convince Amanda to open her heart to him and welcome the world back in?

Two souls who probably wouldn’t have found each other any other way, but are completely destined to be together.

I seem to be on a roll, reading books with wounded souls. I’m not sure if it’s a new trend or just the luck of the draw as to the books I’ve picked up. I have to say, even though this book is short, it packs a punch. There’s a lot going on here. Emma Cane has written characters I rooted for and people I wanted to spend more time with.

Mason isn’t just a rancher. Nope, he’s not that simple (although ranchers can be complex and it’s a good thing). He’s a former bull rider who wants sponsorship and to save the ranch. There’s a lot going on in his past–some of which isn’t his doing. I liked that he wasn’t about to give up, even though there were moments when the body was certainly weak. I liked that I could see him. I could understand he’d been beaten up by the life he’d chosen–bull riding cannot be easy, although I don’t want to find out firsthand. He was one I wanted to get with the heroine and see them have a good ending. I liked his patience and kindness, even when he thought he wasn’t being a nice guy.

Amanda, the heroine, was just as complex. She’s not just a bed and breakfast owner. Nope. I loved how the author peeled away her layers through the story. She became more interesting as I made progress in the book. At first, I wasn’t sold on Amanda. She seemed standoffish and a little bitter. As I got to know her, I understood why and wanted her to get that HEA she deserved.

This isn’t a long story, so there isn’t much time to develop the romance–three days to be exact, but there is just enough to make a good tale. If you want a story heavy on heart and understanding, then this might be the read for you.

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