Review: ‘Second Chance Ranch’ by R. J. Scott

41026271Published August 28th 2018

Rob runs to Crooked Tree determined to find a safe place for his nephews. A family for them is the final thing on his list, and then he can vanish completely. Falling for a local paramedic along the way is a disaster in Rob’s otherwise perfect plans.

Paramedic Aaron, the middle of five brothers, would like someone to love. A great believer in fate he is convinced though, that one day he’ll find someone. He just never thought it would be a man in so much pain, or that children would be part of the package.

Rob is ready to leave. Aaron wants him to stay. Their love has an expiry date, and it’s tearing them apart. Can they find a way to save what they have?

It had been a long while since I’d read the first four books in this Montana series, so I really enjoyed my trip down memory lane and catching up with all those couples. This isn’t really a book that holds up as a standalone, with so many surrounding characters from previous instalments and references to big events. Definitely some spoilers in regards to those previous books so I would highly recommend catching up before starting this one.

It took me a minute to remember who Rob was when I first started, the blurb doesn’t exactly give it away, but as soon as I remembered I was instantly so much more into this book. It added a whole new dimension to the story, the kind of dynamic I’d never really seen before. Rob is dangerous, he’s smart and calculating and ruthless. He’s a killer. And he’s dying. And he’s got two kids he has to find a place for. Where could be better than Crooked Tree Ranch?

I’ve always loved Crooked Tree, it’s one of those fictional places you wish were real so you could visit. The people, the horses, the scenery, the way it brings people together. It feels like family, feels like home. Rob and Aaron weren’t the kind of people I’d have expected to fit there, especially not together, but that’s the magic of Crooked Tree. Everybody belongs there.

Aaron has a big ol’ heart, and Rob’s not sure he’s got one left at all. There’s an immediate spark between the two, but it’s born more out of dislike than anything else. There’s lust there, but they clash in a way that shouldn’t work but really does. I’m still not entirely sure how that lust transformed into something deeper, it almost seemed to come out of nowhere for me. It didn’t feel the most organic, the sparring turned to caring a bit too quickly with nothing in between. I believed it once they got there though, and I suppose that’s what counts.

There was a fair amount of angst in this one, troubled pasts and haunting experiences, stress and trauma, darkness and mortality. Hardly sunshine and roses. But it’s what the story needed to be, gritty and raw but with that sense of hope that Crooked Tree always brings. I really enjoyed it and it’s a series I know I’ll read again.

4/5 stars

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

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