When a shy woman inherits a ranch, she’ll have to find an inner strength to succeed—and open herself up to love—in this heartwarming novel from New York Times bestselling author Victoria James.
Sarah Turner has led a very sheltered life. So when her parents pass away tragically, suddenly she’s left in charge of the family ranch with little know-how but plenty of will to keep it afloat. Determined not to lose her parents’ legacy or her newfound independence, she needs a hero fast—not to save her, but to show her how to save herself. But she’s unprepared for the ruggedly handsome cowboy who answers her ad.
“Cowboy for Hire,” the ad said, and Cade Walker is quick to respond. Betrayed as ranch manager by his former boss, he’s looking for a new place to put down roots—without the pressure to prove himself again. Except when he meets his new boss, it’s clear he’s not only there to run a ranch but to also teach Miss Independent how to run it. But as they struggle to make the ranch flourish, they’ll both need courage if they hope to find a family…together.
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She stole a glance behind her, seeking out the figure of one man among all those cowboys. She spotted Cade immediately, not going in the direction of the bunkhouse or his house, instead striding toward her. His hat was pulled down low,but he moved with the same grace and strength as always. You would never think they’d just been onthe same cattle drive. She tried not to hate him for it.
“Hi,” he said as soon as he was within earshot.
“Hi,” she said.
“I, uh, I just wanted to say that you did good out there; you should be proud of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow you’re going to hurt like hell, but that satisfaction of what you accom-plished will help you get through it—along withsome ibuprofen. It’s a pleasure to work alongside you.”
That praise pierced her in the heart. This man she barely knew had offered her more praise in two weeks’ time than her parents ever had. She had accomplished so little the last ten years and now, here she was, pursuing her dreams, not failing, not scared. “You too. Thank you for never patronizing me or holding me back. This was verypersonal for me,” she said, holding his gaze.
“I get that. So…I’ll pick you up tomorrow around seven?”
“The welcome-back party,” he said.
Right. That was tomorrow. She wasn’t sure she’d even be able to walk tomorrow, let alone go to a party. “Yes, uh, of course. Looking forward to it,” she said, alarmed that her voice sounded breathy. It wasn’t a date.
“Me too.” He reached forward and gently grasped her wrists, and her breath caught in her throat as he slowly turned them over, looking at her hands. Her palms were blistered and dirty. He held her hands gently in his larger ones and winced. “Take a long, hot shower and clean these out, then put some kind of balm on them. Drink a lot of water, have dinner and ibuprofen. You’ll wake up feeling like a new person.”
Her breath was caught somewhere between here and the reality of how easy it would be to fall for this man. He didn’t coddle her like everyone else. He hadn’t dismissed her—he’d helped build her up into the beginnings of the person she wanted to be. He hadn’t judged her, hadn’t made her feel inferior—he’d encouraged her and he’d helped her. No, he’d given her everything she’d ever wanted since he’d come to work here, so many dreams come true.
With that, he gave a small tip of his hat, and her throat constricted painfully as she stared into his eyes, shadowed under the hat’s brim. He turned and strode back toward his house, broad shoul- ders, lean form, walking as though there wasn’t an ache in his entire body…and he became the star of every single fantasy she’d ever had about the kind of man she wanted. She placed her hand over her racing heart. Wow.
This was such a sweet romance–I loved Sarah and Cade’s story!
It starts out on an LOL moment–a mixup with Sarah’s online ad that isn’t ever fully explained–and just takes off from there. Both of them have issues galore, stemming from pasts that weren’t what they deserved and definitely what they should have been able to expect, and watching them both overcome those pasts to be together was all kinds of rewarding.
Frustrating as heck at times–Cade, I’m looking at your obstinate self!–but that ending? Made everything worth it. And now I’m finding myself suddenly craving peach rings…no idea why… 😉
Cowboy for Hire is the second book in the Wishing River series, but it could work fine as a standalone if needed. If you have read the first book ( The Trouble with Cowboys ) though, you’ll love seeing all of your Wishing River favorites here again–Lainey comes back!–and will undoubtedly join me in wondering how long Ms James is going to make us wait for Dean and Hope’s book…
(Please, don’t make us wait too long!)
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
Victoria James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.
Victoria always knew she wanted to be a writer and in grade five, she penned her first story, bound it (with staples and a cardboard cover) and did all the illustrations herself. Luckily, this book will never see the light of day again.
In high school she fell in love with historical romance and then contemporary romance. After graduating University with an English Literature degree, Victoria pursued a degree in Interior Design and then opened her own business. After her first child, Victoria knew it was time to fulfill her dream of writing romantic fiction.
Victoria is a hopeless romantic who is living her dream, penning happily-ever-after’s for her characters in between managing kids and the family business. Writing on a laptop in the middle of the country in a rambling old Victorian house would be ideal, but she’s quite content living in suburbia with her husband, their two young children, and very bad cat.
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