Last Dance with a Cowboy
by Sara Richardson
Release Date: December 28, 2021
Book #3 in the Silverado Lake series
Number of pages: 347
Source: NetGalley ARC
Ages 15 and up
Leila Valentino will do anything to keep her grandparents’ Colorado winery afloat. Even partner with August Harding, the first—and last—man to break her heart. Fifteen years ago, August left Silverado Lake, and Leila, far behind. Now the cowboy’s back with an offer that could save her family’s business. But to keep her grandparents from worrying over the vineyard’s finances, Leila insists August give a different reason for his return: her.
August Harding is one step away from a huge promotion. All he has to do is ensure that his company acquires Valentino Bellas Vineyards. And if pretending he and Leila are back together is the cost . . . well, he can’t say no. Leila has never forgiven him for the way he ended things, but the longer they pretend to be a couple, the more he begins to wonder if a second chance isn’t impossible after all. But can he convince Leila that this time he’s not walking away?
The previous two books in this series were read in less than a day each, even when I was busy and really didn’t have time to read. I let other things fall by the wayside since I didn’t want to put the books down. Which means this story came as a bit of a disappointment since it took me three days instead of one. Yes, it’s the holidays and I’m busy. But it honestly didn’t hold my attention as the other two books did.
I love me a fake-relationship romance. The fact that Leila and August were high school sweethearts that everyone, including their families, thought would go the distance throws another element into the story. Especially since, for all intents and purposes, August is now the enemy of Leila and her family. Not that she wants her grandparents to know that. The man August works for wants to take over Leila’s family’s vineyard, and has the legal and financial means to do so. Leila must work with August to keep her grandparents in the dark while trying to keep emotion out of the mix. Hard to do when she tells her grandparents she got back together with August and they’re engaged so as to keep them from finding out the dire financial situation they are in at the moment.
Sounds wonderfully fun, doesn’t it? But there was something missing. The flow was way off and there were some gaping holes in the story. It is mentioned at the very beginning that Leila was married at one point, but barely brushed on ever again. And never from Leila’s point of view. Did she love the other man? Why did their marriage fail? How does that play into her relationship with August? It’s very off-putting that it’s not at least touched on a bit more. Why even have it part of the story?
August and Leila have good chemistry, but not the spine-chilling, butterfly causing chemistry I’m used to from this author. I was rooting for August and Leila…then they both started keeping too many secrets. Especially August. They were both trying to protect each other and everyone around them, and the secrets got out of control. And, quite frankly, they started to annoy me. The connection (yes, these two had a great connection although I didn’t feel a lot of fire) they had made the secret-keeping seem out of place in the grand scheme of things.
Listen, for the most part I adore this author’s work. Usually it’s hard for me to put down. This story is by no means bad. It’s just not what I’ve come to expect from Sara Richardson. You can bet it’s not going to stop me from continuing to read her books.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**