The heartbreak of their childhood drove the Morgan brothers far from their family’s California ranch—and one another. But as they face the wounds of the past, each feels the land calling him home . . .
Blue Morgan never thought he’d crave long days on horseback, working the cattle ranch where he grew up. But after a decade of getting shouted and shot at in the Marines, fresh air and hard work are just what he needs to settle his restless energy. Except no matter how hard he tries to focus, his mind wanders to the pretty, prickly new veterinarian instead.
There’s no denying the spark between Jenna McDonald and Blue. But with her job at risk and her own family’s expectations to wrangle, Jenna isn’t looking for another sparring partner. Blue needs her expertise on horses. And if she can help solve his mother’s disappearance, she’s willing to pitch in. But she’ll leave his ideas about how love should be scheduled to him. Jenna is tired of being told what she can’t have—and ready to reach for what she wants . . .
“If you love cowboys—and who doesn’t—you’ll love the Morgans!” —Cora Seton, New York Times bestselling author on The Reluctant Cowboy
About the Author
She writes for Kensington, Penguin Random House UK Rouge Romance, Carina and Cleis Press and is known for both her unconventional heroes and her joy at subverting romance cliches. In her spare time she self publishes science fiction erotic romance, historical romance and whatever else she can imagine.
You can find Kate at her website at www.katepearce.com, on Facebook as Kate Pearce, and on Twitter @Kate4queen.
Read an Excerpt
The Reluctant Cowboy
By Kate Pearce
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Kate Pearce
All rights reserved.
"You have arrived at your destination."
"I damn well have not," Chase Morgan muttered as he checked his GPS again and frowned as the narrow blue line he'd been following just blinked on a whole lot of nothing.
Pulling over onto the side of what barely passed as a road, he got out of his rental car and surveyed the landscape. Scorched golden hills, scurries of dust, the occasional thirst-defying plant, and beyond that the brooding black presence of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range still topped with snow in March. It was a torturous, slow journey from the Bay Area and one that he chose not to make too often.
He cleaned his sunglasses on the hem of his white polo shirt and peered ahead. Had it always been this bleak? Somewhere around here was a gate that marked the driveway of Morgan Ranch. As a kid he'd known exactly where it was, so what had changed? Maybe he should've gotten a truck. The drive would've been easier and the vantage point higher.
There wasn't a lot else on the road, just the abandoned ghost town of Morgansville, which was on ranch property but still attracted those curious and stupid enough to try to get through the electric fence. Chase turned in a slow circle. He was so used to the noise of Silicon Valley that the silence hurt his head. Hearing his heart beating was downright unnerving. ...
A turkey vulture flew overhead squawking a warning, and he instinctively ducked. He was such a city boy now. His younger self who'd practically grown up on the ranch would have been disgusted by his wussiness. He got back in the car, relishing the cold blast of the AC, and moved forward at a snail's pace.
His faint smile faded. The overhead sign had fallen down, leaving just the gate, which appeared to have been propped open. Despite the relatively short distance from the Bay Area, he hadn't been to the ranch for a couple of years, preferring to meet his grandmother in the city. Reaching inside his pocket he extracted the handwritten letter he'd received two weeks ago. She hated talking on the phone.
Darling boy, your grandma Ruth needs you. Come at once.
P.S. No, I'm not dying, but come anyway.
Short and sweet, just like his grandma. Well, maybe sweet was stretching it a bit. For a little bitty woman she sure packed a punch. He remembered how she used to wade in and separate him and his three brothers when the fighting got out of hand. She said she'd gotten strong wrangling calves and that small boys were much easier to deal with.
His grandma was a pill. It had taken him the whole two weeks to get organized enough to leave work. He had a feeling her problems wouldn't go away, and a few days wouldn't make much difference. He pushed the gate open wide enough to let his car through and closed it behind him.
Was Ruth even running any cattle? Surely not, if she'd risked leaving the gate ajar. He winced as the rental car bounced over and dove straight into another huge pothole in the road. He should've gotten a four-wheel drive. Real men, real cowboys always drove trucks. And he should've been paying more attention to what was going on with his grandma.
He concentrated on weaving through the potholes until the drive widened out into a large circle. To his left was one of the old barns and to his right the ranch house with its wraparound porch and dainty Victorian railings. The roof was slate, imported at great cost after the original house with its shingles had gone up in flames.
Chase got out of the car and paused to stretch the kinks out of his tall frame. The door of the ranch house opened, and several dogs came out barking and yowling. He tensed as they all barreled toward him.
"Is that you, TC?" His grandma hollered over the barking dogs.
"Afternoon, Ruth." He grinned as she came toward him, smacking a few of the noisier dogs on the head as they crowded around her. "One grandson as ordered."
She reached up to cup his chin, her blue eyes in her wrinkled face as clear as the California sky. "Chase, darling. You look more and more like your daddy."
He grimaced. "Don't say that. He's a bad man."
"He certainly was a fool to throw away a fine family like this one." She patted Chase's cheek. "Come on in."
He followed her up the three steps to the porch, noticing that the house needed painting and that several of the planks on the deck were rotted right through. The screen door banged shut behind them as they entered the cool darkness of the kitchen. Inside, everything was fifty years out of date and as neat as a pin, which somehow gladdened Chase's heart. Ruth might be getting old, but she certainly wasn't losing her faculties.
Ruth took a glass pitcher out of the ancient green refrigerator, which gave a convulsive death shudder as she slammed the door shut.
"That would be great." He was three-quarters of the way down the glass when the sugar rush hit him, and he practically tasted the fizz of enamel being stripped off his teeth. He put the glass back on the scrubbed pine table only for his grandma to instantly refill it.
She took the seat opposite and pushed a plate of cookies over to him. "Chocolate pecan. Your favorite."
He took one despite himself and raised an eyebrow. "You're scaring me now."
"By baking your favorite cookies?"
"You're trying to bribe me. It's how you used to get me to do my homework, remember?"
"You always did your homework. You were the responsible one. It was your rapscallion brothers who needed persuading."
He held her gaze and sighed. "I'm sorry I haven't been out here more often. I have a million excuses, but none of them are very good."
"It's okay. This place has bad memories for you all," Ruth said. "I had a letter forwarded from my bank a few weeks ago, and I couldn't make head nor tail of it. Do you think you could take a look at it for me?"
"Sure." Chase held out his hand, and she slapped it away.
"You don't have to do it right now. When did you get so impatient? Finish your cookie and your tea — unless you have to leave tonight?"
"No, I'm here for as long as you need me." He immediately qualified that. "Well, at least for a week or two."
He hadn't taken a proper vacation for almost two years. His two business partners had been making pointed comments about "burnout" and "exhaustion," and, sure, that was easy for them to say when he knew in his soul that if he wasn't there nothing got done the way he liked it. ...
Control freak? Him?
And then there was all the other stuff — the stuff that was threatening to tear their friendship and their company apart.
"Good. I'm glad you can stay awhile." Ruth pushed the cookie plate right under his nose until all he could smell was chocolaty goodness. "Eat. You're too thin."
He snorted at that. "What's for dinner?"
"Pot roast made with Morgan Ranch beef."
Chase pushed the cookies away. "You are trying to bribe me. You know how much I love your cooking."
His grandmother's smile was smug. "I bet you don't get many home-cooked meals in San Francisco."
"I do okay." He thought about the stack of takeout menus beside his refrigerator and the fact that since Jane had left him most of the delivery guys greeted him by name.
The boards on the porch creaked a warning, and Ruth looked up as a clear voice called out.
"Mrs. Morgan? Ruth? Are you there?"
"Yes, dear, come on in."
The dogs headed out to investigate. Chase studied the unknown woman at the kitchen door who seemed to bring the afternoon sun in with her. She wore jeans, a pink T-shirt, and sturdy brown boots. Her blond hair was tied back in a ponytail and topped with a San Francisco Giants cap that clashed with her top.
He instinctively rose to his feet as she came closer and looked down at her from his superior height. Her eyes were the dark gray of granite, and she wasn't wearing any makeup. She looked downright wholesome.
"January Mitchell, meet my oldest grandson, TC, or Chase as he prefers to be called these days."
The woman stuck out her hand, her warm expression immediately cooling. "It's nice to finally meet you. Ruth mentions you a lot."
"Good to meet you, too." Her handshake was firm. He glanced over at Ruth. "You didn't tell me you had visitors."
"January's not a visitor. She lives here."
Chase sat down and picked up his iced tea, his thumb rubbing away the gathering condensation on the side of the glass. "Seems an odd place to choose to live. The commute into any decent-sized town must be a killer."
"I don't commute."
He swung his gaze back to January, who had taken the seat next to Ruth and was already nibbling one of his cookies.
"You work as a ranch hand?"
She shrugged. "I can do that when necessary, but that's not my primary purpose here."
"Which would be what exactly?"
"I'm employed by the county to work with local landowners to preserve the history of the area." She sat forward, her eyes shining, her hands clasped together on the table. "This area is fascinating. There's the ghost town, the pioneer trail, the abandoned silver mine, and —"
"Which is all on privately owned land. Morgan land."
"Land that Mrs. Morgan has given me access to."
Chase raised an eyebrow and looked over at his grandmother. "Is that right?"
"Sure it is. I'm as interested in finding out about the history of this place as you are." Ruth turned to January. "When he was a kid there was nothing Chase liked more than to go out on the land and look for clues."
"That was a long time ago, Ruth. Now I'm more interested in making sure this ranch is a secure and safe place for you to live on."
"I'm not quite sure how my presence would lessen Ruth's security, Mr. Morgan."
There was a question in January's tone, which made Chase want to smile. "This is a cattle ranch. The last thing my grandma needs is herds of people wandering around admiring the historical sights. The cows don't like it."
"I'm not suggesting that should happen, and I'm hardly a herd," January said quietly. "My primary task is to make a record of these artifacts for the county and for posterity."
He leaned back in his chair until it creaked in protest and then stretched out his legs. "Does anyone care about what happened in the back of beyond a hundred years or so ago?"
"We should care." She held his gaze. "The speed at which California moves means it's easy to forget our past and destroy things we might later regret losing. It's my job to provide information about where these historical events happened so that later generations — those not so caught up in rushing into the next digital millennium — can rediscover and appreciate their past."
Chase wondered if Ruth had told January where he worked. He lived his life in a blur of intense decision making, working long hours that often stretched overnight and in an environment where his opinion might destroy a company or bring it unimaginable financial success.
"There's nothing wrong with making money and being ahead in technology."
"I didn't say there was." January fiddled with her ponytail. "My job is mainly funded by nonprofit organizations and charity foundations, and I'm grateful for that."
"I still don't see why —"
Ruth patted Chase's hand. "I've made up the bed in your old room. Why don't you take your bags upstairs and get comfortable while I visit with January?"
"You're trying to get rid of me already?" He smiled as he stood up, his gaze moving between the two women. He was glad his grandma had some company, but he wasn't sure what to make of her guest. Instinct and hard-won experience had taught him never to take anyone at face value, and Ms. January Mitchell seemed a little too good to be true.
"Get along with you." Ruth waved him on. "And change out of those clothes before you come and help me with the chores."
He paused and looked over his shoulder. "I'm back on the roster?"
She winked at him. "I never took you off. You owe me fifteen years of hard labor, darling, so you'd better get started."
* * *
January stared after Chase Morgan as he went outside to get his bags. When Ruth had said he worked in Silicon Valley, January had imagined a pale, skinny nerd, or a fast-talking snake charmer like her ex. Chase was neither of those things. For one, he was tall, broad, and, two, he had a lazy grace to him that made her think he had all the time in the world to ...
"So what do you think?"
"Of your grandson?" January sipped at the glass of iced tea Ruth had put in front of her. "He seemed nice."
Ruth chuckled. "You don't sound very sure."
"He's not quite how I pictured him." The back door slammed, and she heard Chase whistling as he went up the stairs. "He's ... tall."
"His daddy was a big man." Ruth sighed. "Not a good man like Chase is, though."
January took another cookie. "Are you okay with my staying here in the house while your grandson is visiting? I know he doesn't get out here much. I could move down to one of the bunkhouses and give you some privacy."
"Bed down with the ranch hands? I bet they'd love that, but I don't think you'd be having much fun with all that snoring, scratching, and farting. Stay here. I like the company."
"If you're sure."
January wasn't certain how she felt about sharing a house with a big man like Chase Morgan. She'd finally gotten used to having her own space again, and she had a sense he was going to be hard to ignore.
Eventually Ruth got up to check the pot roast cooking in the oven, and January went to change out of her good jeans into something suitable for doing the chores. Even if Chase was willing to help, there was still a lot to do. She'd thought her life in the city was busy until she'd moved to the California Gold Country. Here the work never seemed to stop year round. At least she fell into her bed exhausted every night and slept without dreaming.
Deep in thought she opened the bathroom door and was confronted by the sight of a large, half-naked man bending over the sink. She started to back up and tripped over the bath mat.
"Oh God, I'm sorry; I forgot ..."
He turned to face her, the water dripping off his long eyelashes, and smiled. She couldn't help but notice the way water continued down his chest and over his nice tight abs.
"I guess I forgot to lock the door."
"There's no lock."
"That's right. Ruth disabled it after the twins flooded the bath twice in one week. I should have realized we were sharing when I had to fight my way through your underwear."
Her face heated as he gestured at her best bra-and-panties set, which was hanging over the shower rail.
"Pretty," he said approvingly.
She reached around his broad shoulder and grabbed the flimsy pink set. "They are handwash and air-dry, and —"
"Not a problem for me." He paused. "Unless I'd come in here at night and thought those dangling bits meant I was being attacked by a spider. I hate spiders."
She clutched her undies to her chest and stared up at him. "You ... do?"
"Yeah. It's embarrassing. I'm hoping that, as we're sharing, you'll deal with all the spiders that get in here."
"And what will you do in return?"
He grabbed a towel and slowly mopped his face as he considered her. "Promise to put the seat down?"
She wanted to smile back at him, to respond to that lazy charm, but just managed to stop herself. "I'll consider it."
"I'll be finished in a minute."
"Okay." She backed away more carefully this time and only hit the door frame with her elbow on her way out. "Take your time."
She managed to find her way into the right bedroom and threw the undies onto her bed. God, she really did need to pee. If he were anything like her ex, he'd be in there for hours. There was another smaller bathroom beside the mudroom downstairs, so she might as well go and use that. Grabbing a towel from the back of a chair she went out into the hallway. Chase was still whistling and splashing around like some kind of chirpy bird, so she made her way down the stairs. The old pipes whined and groaned as the water flowed through them.
After peeing, she surveyed the small shower and realized she had no shampoo or shower gel. Stomping back up the stairs, she noticed the noises had ceased. On the landing, she found Chase, still without his shirt, at the bathroom door surveying her.
He gestured at her towel. "Most people take their clothes off when they shower and get wet."
Excerpted from The Reluctant Cowboy by Kate Pearce. Copyright © 2016 Kate Pearce. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fielding swung out on his rope jerking his instructor up to meet him. Blue basically had time to brace himself before slamming into the other mant then Blue passed out. Mel was his fellow instructor asked Ginny if Blue was okay. Blue opened his eyes and then passed out again. Blue only had six months left in the Marines. Blue ended up with a concussion, whiplash, two broken ribs, and a black eye. Blue has to stay overnight in the hospital as they want to watch his concussion. Blue liked his life the way it was . He was in control and no one was ever going to take that away from him. Twelve years in the Marines Twelve years in the Marines made Blue a man to reckon with. Now Blue’s purpose was to save Morgan Ranch and make it profitable again. Jenna loved her mom but sometimes it was like trying to stop a river in flood, not that her father was any better. Jenna’s uncle has an unusual practice as he had an afternoon clinic Meg was one of the veterinarian techs who had been with the practice for years and had saved Jenna on several occasions.. The clinic Jenna now worked in the only clinic in forty miles and they handled everything. Blue found working with his hands soothing. Blue let it be known he has no time for a relationship. Blue is trying to get used to civilian life. Blue is very attracted to Jenna even though he is trying to fight it. She is also attracted to Blue. Then a ten year old little girl shows up at the ranch and says she is Blue’s daughter and her mother had passed away. I liked this story a lot. It was a good romance but there was a lot of other things going on. I liked the twists and turns . I didn’t like Jenna’s parents or sister very much. This story did have a good plot and was well written. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this story and I recommend.
I a sucker for both military and western romances and A Maverick Cowboy is both! Blue has left the marines after 12 years and returned home to help out on his family's ranch. He meets the new Veterinarian Jenna and is instantly draw to her. Neither is looking for a relationship, but soon they become more than just friends. Life sends Blue a giant curve ball, will he and Jenna's relationship survive it? If you like a good western romance this is the book for you! I was given a free copy for an honest review.
"The Maverick Cowboy" was a warm and touching story of life for Blue on his childhood ranch after leaving the marines. A story of past family hurts and heartbreaks, Blue must deal with the past to get the future he wants. Jenna, the sexy veterinarian, having family issues herself, finds that she is falling in love with the sexy cowboy. When a child he never knew about shows up, Blue must first put his priorities in order. Both the H and the h seemed to be working separately to put Maria, Blue's surprise daughter first, but were tip-toeing around each other. There is a real insecurity in Jenna, and Blue is almost overwhelmed with both his past and dealing with his future that he hopes will include his daughter and Jenna. It is always great to read a wonderful story of love, forgiveness and just plain sexiness with a HEA, as was the case for Blue, Jenna and Maria. Overall, I enjoyed this story greatly and look forward to reading more of the Morgan family. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington/Zebra for gifting me with "The Maverick Cowboy" and asking for my honest opinion. This is mine. Recommended Read 4.25 Stars!
I adored book two of the Morgan Brothers series as much as the first book. The Maverick Cowboy by Kate Pearce brings Blue Morgan back to the California ranch. This book is true cowboy romance with a bit of military (former) thrown in for good measure. These Morgan brothers are simply to fall in love with, no matter the issues of the past that come with them. In this case, Jenna has a few issues of her own. I enjoyed the development of these characters who have strong personalities but with a maturity too. Wonderfully written in a clear but descriptive way that held my interest throughout the book. There are a few twists and surprises that kept me reading as much as the romance between Jenna and Blue. Fans of cowboy romance, like me, will love this book. An ARC of the book was given to me by the publisher through Net Galley.
Another good book from Kate Pearce The Maverick Cowboy is the second book in the Morgan Ranch series. It could be read as a standalone but you'll be missing some of the backstory about what's going on at the ranch. I strongly recommend reading The Reluctant Cowboy first as this is where Blue and Jenna are introduced. They didn't exactly strike the right kind of sparks off of each other when they met. Blue Morgan joined the Marines to get away from Morgan Ranch but now he's tired of taking orders and getting shot at. He's leaving the Marines and he welcomes being back on the ranch. He was mad at his older brother Chase for so many years he thought they'd never get along but now that they are working together on the ranch things are getting better. Jenna McDonald has never felt that she's lived up to her family's expectations but she loves what she does as a veterinarian in her uncle's practice. She spends a lot of time tending the livestock at the Morgan Ranch and soon she is having trouble resisting the cowboy who wants no part of a long-term relationship. While this book didn't move me emotionally to the same extent that book one did I still liked it a lot. It's not quite as hot in the romantic/sexy area but it did feel very realistic for these two characters. There is a continuation of the family drama that started in book one but there is also a new situation involving Blue that I didn't expect. I really feel like I shouldn't say much else because I don't want to spoil things. As in book one, the story line for the main characters is resolved but the mystery of the series isn't answered. We are also introduced to another Morgan brother, Ry, and his story is coming up next. There are other good secondary characters as well and I can see the potential for several more books set in this world; I hope Kate Pearce and her publisher have more coming. A review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book.
Great read! Blue is just out of the Marines and trying to find his way as a civilian and Jenna is the new vet and trying to get the ranchers to accept her. I loved both Blue and Jenna, their chemistry and how strong they are. This story had me hooked from beginning to end. I loved it.
Wow, did I fall in love with Blue, swoon! This is #2 in Kate's Morgantown Ranch series and I just love these guys. We start out as Blue is dis-entangling himself from the Marines. It's not simple and he gets hurt on his last training mission. He goes home to the ranch to heal and settle himself into civilian life. He again meets Jenna McDonald, one of the veterinarians in the McDonald family. She's a cousin filling in while her cousin is finishing up her vet degree and comes back to the family practice. I love the sense of family in these stories, the love, belonging and support for each other. Jenna's problem is she's got baggage from being adopted. She was 12 when she was adopted into an over-achiever family and feels never good enough and afraid of being rejected once again. Blue's baggage is his black and white thinking and the pain from his mother and sisters disappearance combined with his dad's alcoholism. Kate weaves the story so each has to face and grow through their hurts and want to be a committed partner in this growing relationship. I love how Blue lets Jenna make her choices and doesn't pressure her into them. He encourages, he tells her where he stands and lets her choose growth and love. As a fun FYI, Kate has a gift for dialogue. The 3 best friends are so great together: Jenna, Yvonne and January. Their get togethers are fabulous and funny on occasion.
Book two of the Morgan Ranch series, The Maverick Cowboy, truly centers around Blue Morgan and his homecoming to Morgan Ranch. In book one, we were introduced to the family, and his big brother Chase, but this story is more about Blue, his adjustment after his decade in the Marines, and getting to know and re-love his family and ranch home. Blue truly has much to work through but you can really tell his feelings run deep and he is family-strong. He isn’t looking for a relationship but get one he does! Jenna McDonald, as broken inside as Blue, is the new veterinarian and just the person to help Blue, and herself, find happiness and an HEA. We also meet a few new characters, no spoilers from me, and you will enjoy meeting them. We also get to know Jenna’s family, especially her uncle and cousin who own the vet practice where she works. Pretty funny. I am enjoying this series and can’t wait for the next story!
This second book in the Morgan Ranch series definitely did not disappoint! The Morgans are a rowdy crew of four cowboy brothers who work hard, fight hard and love harder. Blue Morgan is certainly no exception, being a rough and tumble marine who has come home to Morgan Ranch to lay down roots. Although he fights the timing of it, he knows a certain sexy little veterinarian is the perfect woman to lay down those roots with. The chemistry between these two is scorching! This book really has it all from drama to romance to a little humor to family, and of course love. You will be hooked right from the beginning and remain riveted to the very last page. Kate Pearce has created a very special world on Morgan Ranch where family, friendship, and love are plentiful and the backdrop is spectacular. I can't wait to read the next installment in this series! *I was given an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley and voluntarily chose to review. All opinions are my own.
The Maverick Cowboy is Book 2 in the Morgan Ranch series by Kate Pearce. So far I am enjoying this series immensely. Blue Morgan is retiring from the Marines and comes home to Morgan Ranch. Loved the interactions not only with Blue and Jenna but also the back story involving his father Billy and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his mom and sister, along with the Maria surprise. Definitely kept me engaged throughout. I look forward to the next installment.
This is only the second book by Ms Pearce I have read, and just like the first one, she “wowed” me! This book is the second one of her series , Morgan Ranch. A series about brothers that left the ranch where they grew up, mostly to get away from the devastating memories. The Maverick Cowboy is about Blue Morgan. A Marine who left and enlisted when he was 18 , sees life as “black and white”, is angry at his father and is attempting to mend fences with his brothers. His grandmother, Ruth, is the one that has kept her faith in all of them. Our other character is veterinarian, Jenna McDonald. She arrives from LA to help her uncle in his clinic. She too is dealing with family issues, self-worth, the fact that she was adopted etc. These two develop a friendship even when they are at odds. Complications with new discoveries, thicken the plot. But the book is more than the plot . It’s about how family can affect the self-esteem of an individual, how life really is not black and white, how old hurts can affect how we deal with those that crushed our hearts, how brothers will always be brothers, how friendships can strengthen us and how compassion, hope and love can get us through everything. So, do not hesitate to pick up this book. I promise it will be not only entertaining, but also thought provoking. I was gifted this book by Netgalley. the opinions expressed are solely my own.
Kate Pearce again brings us the struggles of a family reuniting along with finding love and beauty on Morgan Ranch. Blue Morgan exiting the Marines is looking forward to civilian life on the Ranch. The arrival of Maria claiming to be his daughter and the local vet Jenna calling to his heart makes for an inspirational read. Characters from the first book of the series "Reluctant Cowboy" are present to help Blue transition to his new life. Smooth writing style and story line make this a delightful new series. Free copy supplied by Kensington Books via Netgalley.
So good! Blue Morgan returns to Morgan Ranch after his last enlistment in the Marines come to an end. After learning the truth of what really happened all those years ago and what his brother had actually done for the family Blue is ready to set things right and help to not only save the ranch but mend the riff in the family. Working with the prickly yet beautiful new vet will be as a big a challenge as everything else. Controlling his attraction to her will be almost impossible. Jenna MacDonald has her own set of problems to deal with. Getting the ranchers to trust a new vet is hard enough. Getting them to accept a female vet...almost impossible. Jenna is determined though and she won't let her attraction to Blue Morgan distract her. I liked this book even more than the first and I liked that one a heck of a lot. I highly recommend this one.
In the past I have not been a fan of Ms. Pearce. Some of her historical romances have been a little extreme for my taste, but I have to say she may be redeeming herself in my eyes with contemporary romances. Particularly, the Morgan Ranch series. Her sexy cowboys with good hearts and tortured souls, toe the line between "wet dream" material and heartwarming entertainment. With an edge of suspense for good measure. The world is not always a pretty place as Blue and Jenna well know but if you can capture the beautiful moments it can be a bit easier to bear the painful ones. The Maverick Cowboy is a moment worth savoring.
Expectations can be difficult to live up to, especially when one’s older sibling is so very very smart…and both Jenna McDonald and Blue Morgan have very smart rather pushy older siblings. That said…they both do manage to do very very well for themselves in the fields they have chosen with Blue a gunnery sergeant in the marines and Jenna a veterinarian. In this book Chase and January are still engaged, the search for the Morgan brothers’ mother is ongoing, Ry & HW are introduced in preparation for further books and we receive Blue Boy “BB” Morgan’s story. BB is second oldest and has made up with his older brother and is working on making up with his father. He is looking forward to leaving military service after 12 years and is eager to be back on the ranch. His focus on finding horses for the ranch leads him to interact with Jenna, met at the roundup in book one, and though they are attracted to one another BB is not ready for romance as it is not on his timeline of things to do until sometime in the future. The relationship between Jenna and BB felt more real than some romances I have read with a bit of friction, a bit of want, a bit of distance, a bit of this and that and the other thing but all in equal and just enough measure to make for an interesting story. I liked that the revelations about each character came at the right time to open up the character allowing me to know them better. I liked that both Jenna and BB were supportive of one another. I liked the verbal (and other) interactions between them. I liked the storyline with Maria showing up unexpectedly and the fact that the Morgan’s rallied to support this ten year old girl. I liked the side story of Nate helping Jenna out and wonder if he will find his “One True One” and also wonder if Dave, Jenna’s cousin, will find a love interest. I am eager to read Ry’s story and hope HW will come to his senses. I want to find out about the second mortgage on the ranch and whether or not the mother and sister of the Morgan brothers are still alive. Needless to say there is a lot in this story to make it interesting and worth reading AND I am eager to read more in this series while wondering if perhaps there will be a spin-off series dealing with the other men of Morgantown once the brothers find their partners. NOTE: This can be read as a standalone but it will have more depth if you read book one first. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC. This is my honest review.
Enjoyable Read The second book in a series but can be read as a standalone. Blue Morgan is a Marine Gunnery Sergeant planning to leave the Service and work on his family's cattle ranch and Jenna McDonald is the town vet. Both of them have problems (no spoilers as to what they are) which have to be resolved before they can be together. A well written story with interesting and likeable characters with an underlying mystery which I assume will not be resolved until the last book in the series. Recommended read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.