My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first book/novella I have read by Dee Ellis, and I really did not know what to expect. When I realized this story is the 8th in a series I was a bit worried I would be missing out on some characters or storyline; but you can definitely read it as a stand-alone.
This story is about a widowed father, Austin, of three girls who is moving back to his wife’s hometown to be/feel closer to her. Even after several years, he has not allowed himself to truly move on and be happy. Enter Shelby – the younger native bartender in town who catches his eye. I loved her immediately – her spunk, feisty and flirty attitude, and especially how she was with his daughters. Even though Austin could be quite intimidating, she always stood her ground and I loved her confidence and passion.
Austin was so torn between staying loyal to his wife and his vows of the past, and moving forward for both himself and his daughters. At times he made me frustrated; but I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to move on from your first spouse and true love. The author did a fantastic job of portraying what must be a raging internal war that must go on in a widower’s mind when they meet ‘that person’ after losing the one they thought was theirs forever.
Although I typically find that novellas can be rushed in their story-telling, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It is passionate, has great secondary characters, and the descriptive scenes make you feel like you are right there on the ranch with Austin, Shelby, and three adorable daughters. Well done Dee Ellis! I’m looking forward to the next in this series.