A broken engagement brings Laura back to a hometown she hasn’t lived in for twelve years. Eli is home again, too—at least most of him returned from Afghanistan.
Once neighbors and best friends, will they be able to leave their scars behind for a new start…together?
Who says you can’t go home again? The Rancher’s Second Chance by Davalynn Spencer is a romance from Heartsong Presents and a well-written one at that.
Smarting from betrayal, Laura Bell leaves the big city behind and returns to the small, California foothills home where she lived until she was twelve. She wants to start over—return to her roots as a country girl and lose the more sophisticated woman she’d become to please her former fiance′.
Eli Hawthorne is the cowboy next door, the grown up boy whose pet name for her used to be “Laura Bell, you ding-a-ling.” (Okay, that would annoy me as much as it does Laura.) Eli deals with his own drastic changes. Even though the townspeople consider him a hometown hero, his injuries as a Marine in Afghanistan leave him feeling defective and spiritually empty.
In some ways, this novel surprised me. Yes, it is a romance, but it wasn’t all booming hearts and quivering lips. It’s a story of two people with a deep connection that time and circumstances can’t destroy.
Ms. Spencer used an old, damaged oak tree as a wonderful metaphor for both Laura’s and Eli’s emotional scars:
Tears threatened at the sight of its tragic beauty, and she was a child again, running to crawl inside its big hollow heart.
Thick bark lipped over the edges of a deep scar, and the tree stood as if supported by only the outer skin. No core, no solid trunk like other trees, just a stiff, crusty mantel that held it upright.
She still didn’t understand how something could survive such damage and live wrapped around an empty space where once a heart had been.
But she knew what it felt like.
A subplot of mystery is threaded through the story and completed satisfactorily. However, I found another subplot to be a bit unnecessary and incomplete. Yet the overall story is strong and the characters worth getting to know.
I hope you’ll enjoy The Rancher’s Second Chance as much as I did.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the author, Davalynn Spencer, 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.