Maddie Burns is back in town. Happy to be teaching in the high school she’d attended, settling back into small-town life feels familiar and safe. The fact that her ex was still there wasn’t even on her radar.
Cowboy Josh Duncan is thrilled his high school sweetheart is back in Rocky Ridge. The distance had been too much when she’d left town for college. Now that she’s back home, he naively believes they can be friends again.
When they bump into each other in town, their reactions couldn’t be more different. He has no clue she’s still angry. She can’t believe he doesn’t understand how deeply he’d hurt her ten years ago.
As he realizes the depth of his mistake, Maddie is having no part of the blissful reunion he’s trying to engineer. Josh showers her with big, gestures—generic as they are—to get her attention.
It’s only when he takes the time to truly get to know who she is now that he gets it. He can’t buy his way back into her life. The perfect gift is what will prove to her that she’s the love of his life.
Will consistency, sincerity, and forgiveness rebuild what they once had? Is it possible to fall in love again as the adults are today?
This is a romance that includes no swearing, no violence, and no sexual content (beyond a few light kisses).
Title: A Second Chance for the Cowboy
Series: The Brothers of Duncan Ranch #2
Author: April Murdock
Genre: Modern Western Romance
Published: June 14, 2022
My Rating: 4 stars
A Second Chance for the Cowboy continues The Brothers of Duncan Ranch series with a hard-fought-for second chance for one of the Duncan brothers, one who is fighting not only what he’d actually done to mess up the relationship with his high-school sweetheart but what outside forces are trying to make her believe he’s done… and they are doing a very good job in getting Maddie to hate Josh on sight even a decade later.
When Maddie had gone off to college, out of the area, for her teaching degree that left Josh behind, working the family ranch and not doing very well at keeping his feelings of abandonment at bay. He could talk a good talk during phone calls, and when they were able to see each other during holidays it was like no time had passed – but when Maddie returned to school all those insecurities returned. Maddie has been sent indisputable proof (in her eyes) that Josh had cheated on her and when she called to break off their relationship Josh certainly didn’t fight it too hard. He’d agreed that their long-distance romance wasn’t working… and hung up. So, Maddie was left with a crushed heart, and so much anger that has seeped into her pores it seems.
So, now Maddie is back home teaching at her old high school – and Josh is right there acting as though nothing was wrong between them, thinking they could just pick up their friendship. She explained with anger how that was never, ever going to happen and set out to ignore his existence in their small hometown.
There are usually two sides to every story… and sometimes there are three, especially when outside influences play a major role in a break-up and keep feeding lie after lie into the mix. It’s easy for the reader to take sides in any romance story, and I’ll admit that I was completely on Josh’s side here. Yes, he did something stupid. Yes, he continued to make it worse with his current actions. But the man is trying to understand what went wrong when he knows that he did not do what he’s been accused of. Josh needed a wake-up call, and he got one. But the man had suffered enough and even though I saw Maddie’s side (before the big reveal) I always suspected that she was fed the wrong information and was surprised that she couldn’t see that possibility for so long.
I enjoyed being back in this world where we’ll meet up with some familiar faces, add a few new ones, and see the damage that can be done to a relationship so easily. Josh and Maddie will go on to rediscover who they each are today, beyond the past to the adults that either will make this relationship work or at least walk away from it as friends. The characters are believable and relatable, as the story flows naturally. I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next story in this series, but if you love a good romance with believable characters, a story to get involved with, and a large family to love then A Second Chance for the Cowboy would be perfect for you.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the author or author’s team via Booksprout. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent. I was not financially compensated for this review and no expectation of a positive review was promised.*
Available for the Kindle as this title is currently in KU