by Sandra Ardoin
Back Cover Copy:
Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he’s not about to let an obstinate woman with newfangled ideas ruin all he’s worked for. In hope of turning her interest elsewhere, he determines to get Melanie married off, and luckily, there are many single men in town quite willing to take her off his hands.
The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn’t want her to marry any of them. He’s drawn to her more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store offer unexpectedly positive results.
But someone doesn’t want the mercantile to succeed, and threatening words have escalated into destruction and danger. Will Melanie and Caleb’s business—and budding romance—survive the trouble that’s about to come their way.
I jumped at the chance to read this book after reading and enjoying Carol Cox’s novel Love in Disguise. Besides, how could I pass up a story that promises Trouble in Store? And it is trouble her characters find.
Both the hero and heroine arrive in Arizona seeking financial security through working in a mercantile begun by their recently deceased relatives. After Melanie loses her job due to the lies of a spoiled brat, it’s easy to understand why Caleb’s troublesome, young son gets on her nerves. Poor Caleb struggles to be father, mother, and breadwinner. So it’s also easy to understand why he fears Melanie’s independent efforts to improve the business will lead to his ruin.
Melanie is a bit brash, thinking she knows best how to run the store. Then again, Caleb doesn’t welcome her with open arms, and he’s quick to shut down her ideas. But when a dead man shows up on the doorstep, everything they believed about their inheritance is called into question. It’s join forces to discover the truth or suffer the consequences.
Throughout this story, murder, vigilante mobs, and childish mayhem put the futures of both Melanie Ross and Caleb Nelson in jeopardy. (I’ll admit, the villain in this one caught me by surprise.)
Of course, there’s also romance. But when it comes from marriage-minded cowboys who have been given a little encouragement by Caleb, there’s soon a Showdown at the Ross-Nelson Mercantile.
Yes, there is definitely Trouble in Store for our plucky heroine and long-suffering hero, along with a pleasurable few hours of escape for the reader.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This story came to me free from the publisher, Bethany House, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.