A hard-working cowboy with some wild ways wants a fresh start and a woman with a bruised heart find each other on a bad luck ranch in a small busy-body ranch town. Hopefully they can make their own good luck as they put off enough sizzle to melt the winter ice and snow. If only they can both get past their gun-shy pasts and see what they’ve got in front of them.
I was excited when I saw the author was putting out a new series about flirty, hardworking handsome cowboys, sassy down home ladies, small town quirkiness, and all around warmhearted country romance. It was like slipping into comfortable clothes and curling up for a long cozy visit as soon as I opened the first page and all the way through to the finish.
The story opens with Blake Dawson moving onto the ramshackle and neglected Lucky Penny Ranch. He, his brother, and his cousin went in to buy the ranch cheap because of its notorious reputation of being unlucky for it’s owners. Blake has a long to-do list that needs doing before his brother can bring the first herd of cattle in the spring. Spearheading their efforts, Blake must fix up the house, get the overgrown mesquite and cactus torn out of the fields, fences repaired, and somehow ingratiate himself with the folks of Dry Creek. He’s the wild Dawson brother, but Blake is using this fresh start with the Lucky Penny as his fresh start on changing his reputation.
As Blake works on his list, he is startled when an old woman barges into his house and starts calling him Walter. It doesn’t take him long to work out that her mind is in the past. He calls the only number he has, the feed store, and Lizzie, the gal on the other end of the line helps him out. Help comes in the form of Allie, Irene’s granddaughter and his neighbor.
Allie already got burned badly by a man so plans to steer clear of any others for the rest of her life, but Blake sure makes her determination weaken as he treats her grandma well, respects Allie’s choice to work as a carpenter and hires her, and then goes on with his country boy charm to wear down her walls.
Things heat up quickly in Dry Creek with the ladies all on the hunt for the new bachelor, an old lady who wanders in and out of lucidity, a stuck up sister set to marry the wrong guy, a creepy suitor, the return of the exes, clandestine bars in a dry county, cooking, visiting, and gossip, and of course a reluctant romance tossed in for good measure.
Like the usual from this author, this was a nice blend of humor, hijinks, and down home country living and romancing. The characters are quirky yet believable and engaging. The story meanders a bit, but never drifts too far from the main plot path. I like the strong sense of family and community that surrounds the main characters and their story. And I also enjoyed the large circle of secondary characters that are lively and entertaining.
Allie had the most growing to do. She started out mean toward Blake and a little judgmental, but as her story unwound, her attitude and actions made sense. She was attracted to him and already had folks telling her he was bad news so she was in defense mode when he started up some innocent flirting because he was attracted to her, too. Allie broke the mold when she chose to be a handywoman and carpenter, but her earlier mistake with a childhood sweetheart was how folks defined her and she defined herself. It was great seeing her come to life again and show some spirit when Blake came around and made it clear he thought she was beautiful and special even in her grungy work clothes and covered in drywall dust.
Blake started out iffy for me because he was such a charmer. He said he wanted to live down his reputation and yet at first he flirted with nearly every woman in his path. But then he buckled down and set about focusing on the ranch and Allie. I was all in by the time the poor guy had a few moments that looked bad, but he was totally innocent and it got Allie riled up at him. And seriously who could resist the guy- hardworking, handsome, cowboy who treats his lady right.
So, I had a fantastic time with this one and most definitely recommend it for those who enjoy light, humorous and heartwarming down home country romance.
My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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