This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Published by Forever
Released on June 30, 2020
They Knew Each Other From Childhood, But It Took a Dying Man’s Wish to Give Them Their Chance. The Longhorn Canyon series has introduced some great ranching men and women. Pax and Alana are no exception in this touching, emotional country charmer.
Alana Carey learns the devastating news that her father only has about six weeks to live. Now, his frequent mentions of his dream that she find a good man and settle so he can walk her down the aisle holds an all new meaning. Matt Carey knows he’s leaving his only child alone and wants her to have a helpmate like he had with her mother to help Alana run their large cattle ranch. Alana is heartbroken, but is determined that her dad will have his dying wish so she goes to the only man she can count on to go through an engagement and wedding just to make Matt Carey feel he can die without worry and regret. It doesn’t hurt that she has crushed on Pax Callahan since they were kids and recently buried the hatchet on their teenage feud so they are dear friends. A lie for good intentions, but when the time comes, is it really a lie?
Pax once kissed tough and tall Alana Carey behind the barn and nearly got his teeth knocked in and told she wanted nothing to do with him. It hurt in more ways than one since he’d always had a thing for the golden-haired girl from the ranch next door. It is only years later that they get over that and now she needs him to stand by her as she must mourn her father’s coming death, keep her promise to tell no one he’s dying, and pretend she is all taken cared for in her future with Pax. He doesn’t even hesitate to do this and soon finds that being engaged is not as terrifying as some might imagine for the good-timing cowboy who has dreams of settling down- and those dreams now include Alana.
As you might surmise from the blurb, this one had a bittersweet quality particularly once the reader gets to know the dying Matt Carey and the beautiful legacy he has in his daughter, his ranch, and his friends. It was obvious that Pax and Alana were it for each other and they were connected strongly even if it took the fake engagement to get them to see it. Pax feels he has nothing to offer Alana since he’s got a half share in a much smaller ranch and no money. Alana doesn’t worry about that because she knows Pax has a lot to offer as rancher and hard worker, but she does wonder if settling down particularly with her is something he’s ready for. This could have gotten angsty especially with a few other interesting elements that come into the story, but it does not. The author wisely understood that what was there was plenty. It’s a beautiful story and has a gentle pacing. Lots of heartwarming moments and a couple funny ones. The family and friends, small town, and ranch life backdrop is feathered in so well.
I got emotional and still feel it while I’m typing this. It was a beautiful story in the style at only Carolyn Brown can write. Though not one of the high humor ones, it’s still got a good down home feel and I can strongly recommend it to cowboy-small town- contemporary romance fans.
My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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