I was in the mood for something light and a bit carefree. I picked up Once a Rancher by Linda Lael Miller because her books are always a fun excursion into the modern day western life.
Grace is just starting over and raising her ex-husband’s son. She has a big heart and a fiery temper. It makes her a fun match for Slater Carson who is stubborn and has an equally big heart. This is the kind of book where the male protagonist has to try to win over his woman and that woman is independent and resistant to entering anything too serious. People who aren’t fans of insta-love are going to struggle with Once a Rancher. Truly it was my biggest struggle. Everything just moved too fast.
I really enjoyed the setting and the secondary characters. A small-town romance typically romanticizes life in a real small town. I should know, my hometown has a population of 3,300. I really enjoy reading romances that present the best of small-town life. Miller has never failed me here. In Once a Rancher, community plays a big role. There are characters from Miller’s previous Mustang Creek trilogy who make appearances in this book. The close-knit family and community really brought that small-town romance feeling home.
If the romance had moved just a little slower, I think that this book easily would have been four or five stars but every time Grace and Slater’s relationship was mentioned, I felt like I just wanted to get through those parts to get back to the meat of the story. There were laughs and I may have had that warm gooey romance feeling so Once a Rancher was still a good way to pass the time.
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