A Cowboy’s Proposal
by C.J. Carmichael
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #1 in The Shannon Sisters series
Number of Pages: 138
Source: Tule Publishing ARC
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 8/31/20 to 9/1/20
One year ago, Montana cowboy Dylan McLean left the love of his life at the altar and fled town, thinking he was doing the right thing by saving her from a scandal. He’s found success on the rodeo circuit, but his love for Cathleen never faded. Now he’s returned home to clear his name, claim his bride and rebuild his legacy.
Bed-and-breakfast owner Cathleen Shannon has moved on from her broken heart. That is, until Dylan shows up at her house one night asking for help and a second chance. Despite Dylan’s betrayal, she promises to assist with his investigation. She doesn’t want an innocent man to go to jail, but her heart is most definitely off limits.
But Cathleen has forgotten one important fact: Dylan is relentless when he’s going after something he wants. He walked away once, but she won’t let that happen again.
In many ways, this is an intriguing second-chance romance. Yet, throughout the whole book, I felt I was missing something. I even thought maybe it wasn’t the first in the series as I had once thought. But it is definitely the first in this series. The main characters are very likable, so that made it easy to want to keep reading to find out how things work out for them. This story has some mystery/suspense as it seems the whole town thinks Dylan murdered someone right before he left town a year ago.
I am well aware of the way Dylan’s leaving would have devastated Cathleen, yet I still understand why he left. How he left is a whole other ball of wax, but he had his reasons. Although Cathleen doesn’t feel she can ever trust Dylan again, they’ve known each other since they were kids and she knows he’s a good and moral person. So as soon as people in town start gossiping about Dylan being back and the way he’s being shunned all over, she digs in her heals and opens her home to him…as friends. She wants to help him reconnect with his mother and clear his name. She may not trust him with her heart, but she trusts him in every other way.
As for the other people in town, especially Cathleen’s sister Kelly, I cannot get over how they treated this man. Kelly is a police officer. She should know better than to be swayed by circumstantial evidence when the things happening go against everything she knows about a person. Not just with Dylan, but with his mom. Everyone in town loves her and knows she had always been a friendly and social woman until she got remarried. Everyone knows she’s become a shut-in, for the most part, since Dylan left town. I get that the author had to have some people in town against Dylan to raise the stakes. But there are certain people that should have been just as suspicious of the “facts” as Cathleen was.
There is definitely a connection between Cathleen and Dylan, but this story doesn’t give a whole lot of romance. The two are generally hunting down information to clear his name or arguing about the way their relationship ended. It really felt as though a lot more than a year had passed since they had been seconds away from walking down the aisle. I would have welcomed a few more heartfelt moments and genuine conversation.
This is a new-to-me author and, while I wasn’t blown away, I found the mystery of this story well written (until the too quick wrap up) and will most likely try another visit with her characters.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**
I almost didn’t include this note, but I find it extremely interesting when authors and publishers do this. I was going to Goodreads to so I could add a link to the series and I searched by the series name, The Shannon Sisters, instead of going to my read books or searching by the title. Up popped a series by the same name by this author that was written almost 20 years ago! Looking at the description of each title, it’s obvious this story I read is an updated version of the book A Second-Chance Proposal. It explains some of the slight inconsistencies I saw in the story I read and why it seemed the time Dylan was away was more than one year. This two books are not yet linked on Goodreads as being the same story, and I guess they actually aren’t since the location and specifics of the “crime” have changed. I found this to be curious and thought some of you would find some interest in my “discovery”, too.