NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
When Sunshine Patterson loses her Chicago home, job and boyfriend in one day, she needs a backup plan, fast. Luckily her Aunt Cecily has provided her with the perfect combination living and restaurant space to start over. Even though the building is located in small town Chance Creek, Montana, Sunshine is certain it’s only a matter of time before she’s back to take the big city by storm. When she arrives in Chance Creek, however, she gets a surprise. Her restaurant space—and apartment—are occupied by a rival to her inheritance: the incredibly sexy, incredibly wrong for her, Cole Linden.
Cole’s been struggling to save his family’s holdings for far too long. The indoor rifle range he inherited from his father barely pays its rent, but it’s all that’s keeping his other concerns—two apartment houses—afloat. If he was smart, he’d walk away from all of it and start over, but if he does, several dozen of Chance Creek’s inhabitants will find themselves without a home. He thought Cecily meant to leave him the range building in her will. Instead she’s set him up in a four-month-long competition with her big-city niece to see who will win the place. A niece whose knockout looks are making it damn hard for him to concentrate on the job at hand.
Sunshine can’t believe she’ll have to open a vegan restaurant in a rifle-range waiting room, and she can’t believe she’ll have to share her apartment with Cole, either. Cole can’t believe his friends are falling over themselves to help Sunshine succeed—and get a date with her.
Now the competition is getting hot, but the sparks flying between them are even hotter. Can Cole and Sunshine find a way they both can win?
Sunshine is looking forward to a new beginning after losing just about everything to her ex. The inheritance of a restaurant with an apartment from her Aunt Cecily is a godsend. That is until she finds out there are a few underlying provisions to be met.
Cole wasn’t happy with the provisions either, he had been led to believe that he would inherit this building from Cecily so he would be able to carry on like his father had.
To say the provisions were a bit over the top is an understatement, since not only do they have to share the business space, the small one bedroom apartment and show a profit for their respective businesses. Four months and no more than one night spent away or they lose everything to the other.
Their first night Sunshine has to admit she can’t move his stuff out of the bedroom and would have to stay on the couch. If that wasn’t enough her ex calls her to yell something about keys.
This is a favorite scene.
Cole stepped forward and took the phone from her hand. “Listen, asshole—Sunshine doesn’t want to talk to you. Call here again and I’ll track you down, tear you limb from limb and bury your body parts in nine separate states. Got it?” He cut the call and turned the phone’s sound off before handing it back to her.
“That was my ex-fiancé,” she said.
Cole snorted. “Why am I not surprised?”
After Cole disappeared back into his room, Sunshine slipped into the bathroom, changed into a short nighty, and climbed gratefully into her makeshift bed. This had been one of the worst days of her life and Greg’s obnoxious behavior was just the icing on the cake. Thank God Cole had been here to deal with him, because if she’d had to talk to him for one more minute she would have dissolved into a screaming mess. She shivered with distaste.
She settled on the couch and pulled a light sheet up around her shoulders, needing the comfort of covers even though the night was warm. She had once been so in love with Greg and he’d been in love with her. When had that changed?
When her savings had begun to run out. Greg assumed because her family was rich she had access to a never-ending supply of money, and she supposed in a way he was right. If she needed something and asked her parents for it, most likely they would help her out. What Greg didn’t understand, however, was that she’d been raised not to ask except in the case of the direst emergency. She was proud she’d managed to save enough money from her jobs in high school and college to have a sizeable bank account by the time she’d met Greg. She’d applied for a sous chef position at his newly opened restaurant and soon she’d proven her worth in every aspect of the business. When they began to date, and he confessed he was short on funds for some upgrades, she’d been pleased to become his partner. They’d run the restaurant together for over a year.
Of course, now she saw the truth. She was young, cute and rich, and he’d used all those attributes to his advantage. When she ceased being an asset, in the most monetary sense of the word, he’d discarded her.
Well, screw him. She didn’t need Greg or his stupid restaurant. She had everything she needed right here.
Doubt assailed her when she thought of the ramshackle, empty space that would soon house her café. Was she kidding herself? What if Greg was right? What if she screwed this up, too?
She threw back the covers and tip-toed into the kitchen. It was obvious she wouldn’t sleep tonight, so she might as well start making plans. She needed to open her café sooner rather than later—before her dwindling supply of cash ran out. She made herself a cup of tea and then sat at the scrubbed wooden table with a tablet of paper and a pen in front of her. As the minutes ticked by, however, she found herself doodling Cole’s name instead of a list of supplies she needed to buy.
Cole was handsome, not in a movie-star kind of way, but in a manly, I-know-what-I’m-doing kind of way. Big and strong and masculine; just the way she liked them. Greg had been cute enough, but Cole filled out his jeans and t-shirt in a way Greg never could. He was easy in his skin and she had the feeling he could change a tire, or fix a dishwasher—things Greg would have to hire someone else to do. She’d noticed Cole’s hands, earlier—large, strong, hands capable of doing all sorts of things.
Sunshine groaned. This was getting her nowhere except hot and bothered with no relief in sight. She tore off the top sheet of paper, crumpled it up and threw it in the trash, then crossed the room to the back door and let herself out onto the deck. There was little traffic at this late hour in the small town, but enough light shone from streetlights to illuminate the meadow that sloped away from her. She shivered a little in the cool air, suddenly lonelier than she could ever remember being. Greg was gone. Not the asshole who called a short time ago to yell at her, but the ideal Greg she’d created in her mind and fallen in love with. Would she ever believe in love again?
Could someone else ease the ache in her heart? And the ache between her legs?
Truth be told she missed sex almost as much as she missed the fantasy relationship she thought she had with Greg. He might be an asshole, but at least he’d touched her, held her and had enough basic chivalry to make sure she’d shared his pleasure in making love.
The six weeks since they’d broken up seemed to stretch into months. She knew she was pretty in a girl-next-door sort of way. She knew she’d have other boyfriends in the future. Knew it in her head, anyway.
Her bruised, broken, stomped-on heart said something different. After all, Kate and Greg, the two people who knew her the best, didn’t find her all that compelling. Maybe they were right. Maybe she was a drama queen. Maybe she was unlovable.
Maybe she’d be alone forever.
She didn’t hear the door open behind her, so when Cole touched her back, Sunshine jumped.
“It’s just me,” he said in a low, husky voice. “You okay?”
Sunshine bowed her head, tears pricking her eyes at this unlooked for kindness. Had Greg ever asked her if she was okay?
“I’m fine. It’s just…” To her horror, tears spilled down her cheeks and the pain in her throat grew to an enormous lump that threatened to choke her until she let out a great gasp of sadness.
Cole pulled her into his arms, one hand at the small of her back, the other cradling her head, and she leaned against him, sobbing all the tears she’d held in for so long. She wanted to push away, run inside, dive under her covers, and hide from him for the remainder of her days, but she couldn’t have moved for the world. As long as he held her she could push back the chasm of loneliness that threatened to pull her in for all eternity. Just for a minute she didn’t have to face the future alone.
Seton, Cora. Cowboys of Chance Creek Vol 0 – 2 . One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (531-577). Kindle Edition.
Now a vegan restaurant sharing the space with a firing range isn’t something you see in small town Montana. Sunshine has her work cut out for her and Cole isn’t going to make it easy on her.
I loved the way this relationship grows from animosity, to friendship, to love. That journey is filled with so much emotion on both sides, with others seeking to possibly date Sunshine.
This is so much more than a simmer to sizzle relationship and the resolution of Cecily’s will is such a surprise. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Cora!
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USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.