An Unexpected Cowboy
by Shannon Stacey
Release Date: March 29, 2022
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Book #2 in the Sutton Place series
Number of Pages: 281
Source: Warren Public Library
Ages 15 and up
CW: mentions of child abuse & drug use
He’d been told home is where the heart is
He never believed it until now
Lone-wolf cowboy Irish is no stranger to long, lonely nights. Some might say he even prefers it that way. But somehow Mallory Sutton tugs on his heartstrings. The feisty single mom is struggling to balance it all—and challenging Irish’s perception of what he has to offer. She shows the guarded cowboy everything a family—and real love—can be. But will their unexpected connection keep Irish in town…or end in heartbreak for Mallory and her kids?
I cannot tell you how much I adore Mallory and Irish together. She’s a harried, busy, and loving single mom with a lot on her plate. He’s a loner whose only family is gone, and good riddance. To Irish, family means pain and disappointment. He learns a whole new way of thinking seeing Mallory with her kids and the rest of the Sutton family all together.
Back when Mallory’s brother-in-law, Lane, went away to college, he met Irish at a local bar and they hit it off. Through the years they’ve kept in touch even with Lane moving back home and Irish staying where he was comfortable, in Montana working as a ranch hand. Circumstances have Irish getting a camper and finally going to see the ocean, he figured he may as well stop off and see his old friend Lane while he’s in the area.
There are sparks from the moment Mallory and Irish meet, even before she knows who he is and why he’s on her property. Mallory has been single for a long time and hasn’t even been thinking of looking for a relationship. Her young kids have lost too much with their dad leaving, their grandfather unexpectedly passing away, and one long term relationship not working out. She’s not looking to give them another male role model only to have him snatched away, so she’s concentrated on helping to build her family’s new brewery business as well as her mom’s more established business. But a quick fling with a cowboy who is just passing through? That she can do.
It’s a lot of fun and super sexy when these two finally give in and then realize it’s not so easy to hook up when you live with your mom, sister, and kids with another sister across the street. Especially since they want to keep everything on the down low. Kind of hard to do when the air crackles with electricity when they’re in the room together. But, for the most part, everyone pretends they don’t know what’s going on while letting them do their thing.
Even with the off-the-charts chemistry, this relationship happens in subtle shifts along the way. Irish’s thoughts on family, Mallory’s feelings about letting another man into their lives, all of it can’t stand up to what this couple can have together. It’s a beautiful thing.