Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review: The Rancher's Second Chance (A Passion Creek/Tall Pines Ranch Novel) by Victoria James (Entangled Indulgence)

Widowed rancher Cole Forrester is all about running his family’s ranch and guarding his heart. The last thing he’s looking for is love, but when his little sister can’t make it home to handle some of her wedding details, he’s forced to entertain the event planner, Melanie Simms.

Melanie is everything he’s not even remotely interested in: she’s high-society, complicated, and high maintenance. But when he’s stranded with her at his remote cabin in the Colorado mountains, he realizes he’s seriously underestimated her. She’s hiding something about her past from him, but despite everything, he finds himself falling for the last woman he ever expected, and the first woman to make him want to give his heart and risk everything…

Book Details:

Title: The Rancher’s Second Chance (A Passion Creek novel)
Author: Victoria James
Genre: Contemporary romance
Length: 250 pages
Release Date: March 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62266-512-9
Imprint: Indulgence
(Photo, synopsis, and book details all courtesy of Entangled Publishing
Amazon Purchase Link:  The Rancher's Second Chance (Entangled Indulgence)

Sapphyria's Review:

Melanie Simms is an up and coming wedding planner based in Passion Creek. Her good friend Corrin (Cori) is getting married soon and Melanie wants the low key-high society wedding to go off without a hitch. The problem? Cori is out of town having emergency surgery and there are wedding details that still need to be worked out. Melanie now must go to The Tall Pines Ranch, owned by Cori's brother, and work with him to get the final wedding items needed.
Cole Forrester married his soul mate and, tragically, buried her five years later.  He's content in the fact that he is alone and isn't looking to replace Sarah.  Fate has a funny way about her though, and she sends Melanie across Cole's path.   Except, Cole thinks Melanie is a spoiled brat and way too high maintenance and Melanie assumes Cole only views her as his little sister's friend.  He cannot wait for the wedding planning to be finished and for Mel to be on her merry little way.

As they are forced to spend more time together, however, there is a definite shift in the plane.  Feelings that have been buried or unrealized sprout forth and unite Mel and Cole in a way that neither expected or felt was possible.  Unbeknownst to either, both Cole and Melanie have serious issues related to their pasts that could either pull them together, or drag them completely apart.  And when Cole fulfills a dream of his late wife's by making a business deal with a family restaurant chain, he learns just how family oriented the owners of the chain really, are and what that venture may mean for his future.

Melanie is a very likable character.  She comes from a wealthy family but harbors deep scars.  She's worked hard to distance herself from the family name and make something of herself.  Her business as a wedding planner is still in the growing stages but she's committed and determined to be successful.  She's down-to-earth and genuine.

Cole is a man haunted by the memory of his late wife, Sarah.  He is comfortable being single for the rest of his life, as no other woman could ever replace Sarah.  Well, as is pointed out to him, you don't replace a loved one, ever.  Living your life and finding someone else isn't to replace or forget.  It's okay to move on when the time is right.  And his friend, Gage, and housekeeper, Mrs. H., know it's time even if Cole doesn't.

The secondary characters fulfill their roles with purpose and likability.  Each one has their own part to play and Ms. James has written them well.  There are matchmakers, villains, friends, and family that each make an entrance into the Passion Creek novel.

The world that Victoria built brings the past up to date with the present without dragging it out or not providing enough detail.  We are given the right amount of back story for both Mel and Cole to see the misconceptions, misunderstandings, and reasonings behind behaviors, attitudes, and life choices.  I couldn't help but fall in love with both of them.

I've now had the chance to read two books written by Victoria James and she has moved her way up to the top of my "Favorite Authors" list. Victoria's books are powerful and full of emotion. Her ability to transform a story in the minds of a reader from nothing but words on a page to full blown reality is extraordinary.

Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

Sapphyria's Rating:

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