A rancher who has been widowed for 10 years falls in love with an old friend.
Adam Miller cut off his best friend, Lizzie Taylor, after losing his high school sweetheart to cancer in his early 20s. He is close to his five siblings and his father but prefers his solitary work on the ranch to messy emotional entanglements. One day in town, he is in the right place at the right time and helps Lizzie when her young son, Roman, needs urgent medical care. Adam and Lizzie tentatively renew their friendship, but both are dealing with tumultuous family struggles. Adam’s mother, who abandoned the family when he was 12, returns to Morgantown hoping to reconcile with her children. Meanwhile, Lizzie has her own worries: Roman’s paternal great-great-aunt is deploying aggressive legal maneuvers to force a relationship with her grandnephew even though the boy’s father was never interested in knowing him. Pearce (The Second Chance Rancher, 2019, etc.) creates a well-developed emotional journey for Adam. The return of his mother and his deepening feelings for Lizzie challenge everything he thought he knew about love and family. However, Lizzie’s character development is uneven at best; she often makes choices that seem designed to further the plot rather than being organic to her character. The primary emotional conflict is that Adam is afraid of falling in love, but it’s not enough to fuel a full-length novel. Their slow-burn romance sputters along and is overwhelmed by the various family dramas that surround them.
Slow-paced romance with a focus on the hero’s emotional journey.