Romancing the Rancher
by Kate Pearce
Release Date: December 28, 2021
Book #6 in the Millers of Morgan Valley series
Number of pages: 323
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Ages 16 and up
CW: stalking, assault
Welcome to California’s ranch country, where the cowboys of New York Times bestselling author Kate Pearce’s sexy and heartwarming series live, learn, and find love…
Ranching will always run in Evan Miller’s blood, but as the fifth son, he also wants to prove to his skeptical family that he can forge his own path. Drawn to the world of rodeo, Evan encounters Josie Martinez, half-sister of world champion bull rider Rio Martinez. He hopes Josie might show him the ropes–among other things–but Josie has priorities of her own…
Josie’s not sure what she’s doing at her brother’s ranch when she should be at her office in San Francisco, fulfilling her dream of becoming young entrepreneur of the year. Ever since violence unexpectedly entered her life and her home, she’s struggled to get her life back on track. The ranch offers a sanctuary–with one gorgeous exception: Evan. But is he just a distraction, or can their growing bond–and undeniable attraction–persuade Josie that her heart is big enough for work and love…
Ah, the irresponsible child. The screw-up that doesn’t take anything serious enough. The one everyone expects nothing from that, it turns out, takes everything much more to heart that he lets on. That’s Evan Miller.
Josie is in the small town of Morgan Valley staying with her brother (Rio from The Billionaire Bull Rider) after a traumatic experience. She wants to forget her bad experience and build happy memories while also figuring out what she wants to do with her life. Does she want to return to her current career or do something else? Is she happy living in the city or is it just what she knows right now?
Evan and Josie have a delightful comfort with one another from the moment they meet. They have no problem teasing each other, but also find themselves backing each other up when they’ve barely just met. They start out as fun and light and quickly find themselves confiding and sharing things they haven’t with anyone else. I really love how these two interact with each other.
Something I appreciated about this story is Evan questioning how he thinks about his father and what happened between his parents. I’ve made no secret that I cannot stand the Miller patriarch. He’s a bully and a jerk. While he’s gotten better and grown from book to book, I often wonder at how his children can be so forgiving. Evan doesn’t seem to hold any lasting ill will toward his father at the end, but he at least questions the reactions the family and the town have had in comparison to how their mother is treated. (Not that I’m a fan of hers either!)
There was a bit of the connection between this couple that I felt got lost along the way. After a huge event it seemed they pulled apart. Not just in the narrative, but emotionally as well. It made me very impatient for them to reconnect as they had in the first half of the story. They eventually get there, but for me it threw off the pacing a bit.
** I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in my review are my own and given freely. **
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