Rhonda Lee Carver
From the very beginning, fate led Grace to Wilder Ranch. Would the peaceful town of Cooper’s Hawk hold the key to peace in her heart?
Sitting in a quiet bus station, Grace Everly needed something, somewhere to go. The walls of her apartment in the city were closing in, suffocating her. By luck or by destiny, a stranger arrived with a ticket that offered Grace an opportunity to leave her broken past behind—a job at a remote ranch. Without a clue what she was getting herself into, she got on a bus and took it to Cooper’s Hawk, Montana. Within an hour of reaching the small town, and the ranch, she realized she’d made a huge mistake. The house was a dump, the job was out of her comfort zone, and the owner, as hunky as he was, left her with a bad taste in her mouth. Yet, there was something about the place she connected with.
Ruger Wilde was on a time crunch. He needed to get the Ranch and B&B up and running fast. And when his hired help showed up late and looking like she’d stepped out of a magazine, not the hard worker he’d expected, they were immediately off to a rocky start. She didn’t have any idea how to hammer a nail or boil a pot of water, so why didn’t he send her back where she came from? Why did he feel like she needed Wilder Ranch more than the ranch needed her?
In bits and pieces Grace reveals her past and Ruger starts to warm up to the mesmerizing beauty, although neither of them are prepared for the emotions that hit them like a ton of bricks. Will they learn that love always comes with risks? Sometimes the pain suffered in the past only makes love much sweeter the second time around…
Grace needs a break, she has immersed herself in work since her divorce and the loss that causes her immeasurable pain. As she’s sitting at the bus station deciding on where to go she overhears an argument. The woman is leaving and the boyfriend is trying to get her to stay. Now Grace has really been looking for some sort of sign as to where she should take this break and it comes in the form of that young woman who she sees crying in the restroom. With the letter that confirmed the woman’s employment in her hand she buys the ticket to Cooper’s Hawk Landing.
Ruger Wilde is doing additional certification training for Search and Rescue along with his buddies. He’s an ex-marine and many of the team are also former military. This is really more to be sure they are all staying fit and able to do the strenuous feats that are required during mountain rescues. He also has a goal of getting both a B&B and working ranch up and running in a month’s time. A feat that is daunting to say the least since the property has been neglected for years.
Grace decided to let a little white lie lead her to this job. This is made easier by the fact that the original young lady was named Graceann. Just dropping the ann part is easy but she still has no idea of the expectations of this job she’s about to undertake.
Now she didn’t expect to have any feelings one way or another for her boss, but Ruger sets her heart aflutter from the moment they sit down to discuss her contract. Ruger knows she’s lying but decides to let her stay anyway. That first day she meets quite a few people in town, including Ruger’s mother Hannah, his friend Mug and Mindy Hawke.
As she’s figured out that the best way do start things is to alternate the painting inside with landscaping. That way she could avoid be overwhelmed by the heat inside. For now she only had to cook for herself and Ruger but she’s not very good at cooking, so she’s going to have to learn and quickly.
While she’s at the garden store she runs into Mug and he invites her to dinner. She accepts and when she tells Ruger he’s a bit stunned but doesn’t say anything. While she’s gone he does a bit of pacing which I found amusing.
This is a favorite scene when she gets home a couple hours later.
“THANK YOU FOR joining me.”
“I’m glad I did. You were right, it was the best pizza I’ve ever had.” She looked across the seat at Mug.
“I hope the company wasn’t too bad either.”
“The company was splendid.” And she meant it. He was funny, intelligent and had many stories of his life adventures. She also appreciated that he hadn’t made a single move that would have made things awkward between them. “Have a safe trip home.” She climbed out of the passenger seat of his truck, closed the door, and waved.
The truck pulled away and she naturally glanced across the yard to the guest house. A light was still on. She turned to start for the porch, but something tugged her to take the path that could change things between her and Ruger. She didn’t owe him an explanation, but she wanted to give him one.
Dew had settled on the grass and by the time she made it to the guest house her sandaled feet were soaked. At the door, she hesitated, rethinking the next step a dozen times before she finally gave in and knocked softly.
The door came open and her breath held. Ruger was shirtless, his jeans were left unbuttoned like he’d heard the knock and dragged them on. “Hi.”
“Hi,” she said back. “Were you asleep?”
“Almost. Come in?” His brow lifted.
“I shouldn’t. I just wanted to say…” Suddenly the words jammed in her throat. She hadn’t planned this out very far.
“Yeah?” He chuckled.
“I guess I just wanted to let you know that I was home. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She quickly turned and practically ran up the path to the main house. What had she been thinking? She’d almost made it when she heard a noise behind her, gave a slight squeal as she felt a grip on her wrist…
Rhonda Carver. CowboyWilde final1-with-TOC (Kindle Locations 1465-1479). Kindle Edition.
Now with that first kiss things change between them, and while they are both guarding their hearts, that will slowly change.
There are a few twists and turns in this book along with a rescue or two and quite a few surprises as Ruger and Grace figure out their feelings. I really enjoyed this slow build relationship that eventually sizzles.
I have to go back now and read the first book of the series, somehow I missed it. ‘Cowboy Creed’ is Mindy and Creed Hawke’s story.
5 Contented Purrs for Rhonda!
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Rhonda Lee Carver is a published book writer with a collection of print and eBooks under her wing. She is also a freelance editor. Her first book was published with Wild Rose Press in 2010.
She writes everything from contemporary to steamy to paranormal to suspense…you name it, she’s written it. Her specialty is writing men who love to get their hands dirty—hardworking, blue collar, heroes in everyday life.
When Rhonda isn’t crafting edge-of-your-seat, sizzling novels, you’ll find her with her children and husband watching soccer, watching a breathtaking movie, traveling to exotic places (with Bora Bora on her bucket list), doing (or trying) yoga, saving cats and dogs, and finding new ways to keep life interesting.
Rhonda thrives on making her readers happy. She believes life can be a challenge, but reading is a place where fantasy comes to life. Her motto: “Everyone deserves romance—one page at a time.“