Title: Return to Homecoming Ranch by Julia London
Pine River Series Book Two
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 334 pages
Curly-haired Libby Tyler never stops smiling…until her beloved boyfriend suddenly forces her out of their home and away from his adoring kids. When she learns he dumped her for his flighty ex-wife, Libby’s sadness turns to fury—and she very publicly smashes his truck with a golf club, earning herself a trip to a mental health center for some “rest.”
Handsome, hazel-eyed deputy Sam Winters has been sober for two years. Afraid of backsliding, he lives in the mountains and keeps his distance from people. Yet he never forgot Libby, his former colleague at the sheriff’s office whose charm and cheerfulness always warmed his days.
Now Libby’s back, ignoring the townspeople’s whispers (and her ex’s restraining order) while desperately trying to make Homecoming Ranch a successful event destination. She keeps causing trouble for Sam, but he finds her smile more beautiful than ever…and his touch gives her thrills she’s never felt. Could these two lost souls mend each other’s broken hearts?
Read my review HERE.
Outside, she could hear the voices rise to a crescendo at the opening kick off. She lifted her head, breathed out once more. Dr. Huber was right—deep breathing did help. Libby pitched forward onto her hands and knees, then pushed herself up, down dog style, to standing. She looked at herself in the mirror. There was no sign that she was on the verge of exploding with disappointment and frustration. She sighed, tucked in a stray curl or two, smoothed her top, and with one last deep breath, reached for the bathroom door, unlocking it and pulling it open.
She let out a little squeal of surprise to see Sam standing there, leaning against the wall opposite the door. “What are you doing here?” she demanded.
“Yes. Why?” she asked defensively.
Sam cocked a brow.
“I’m fine,” she said adamantly.
“Okay,” he said, and pushed away from the wall.
“But wait—I need to know something. Do you think I would do something to torpedo Leo’s fundraising just because Gwen is involved?” she blurted, because it suddenly seemed of the utmost importance that Sam not think that, of all people.
“No,” he said firmly. “Don’t let it get to you, Libby. You know how it is out in the world today—people are more cautious than they used to be.”
“So basically, what you’re saying, is all of Pine River is worried that I will be the one to pick up a gun and start firing.”
He smiled sympathetically. “I wouldn’t say all.”
“I’m teasing you.”
“Yeah,” she said. “You should look into stand-up comedy.”
“Maybe I will,” he said, and moved forward. Only inches separated them now. “Are you ready to come watch some football?”
Libby sighed, and before she knew what she was doing, she dropped her forehead to Sam’s shoulder. “I don’t think I can.”
“Sure you can,” he murmured.
They stood awkwardly a moment—Libby leaning into Sam, her face in his shirt, her arms at her side. Sam standing stiff and still. But then Libby felt him lift one hand. He put it on the small of her back.
“Don’t cry,” he said.
She snorted. “I’m not crying. I’m too mad to cry.”
Another hand came up and landed on her back. He gave her a strange, but friendly little pat, as if he didn’t know what to do with her precisely.
Libby lifted her head. In that close hallway, Sam’s eyes looked dark. “Sam—”
“No,” he said quickly, cutting her off. “I meant what I said, Libby. No more hand-holding.”
“I know. I heard you the first five times you said it.” His eyes were the color of turbulent, churning seas.
“Great,” he said as his gaze drifted to her mouth. “Then you understand that your problem is not mine.”
“Good!” she said, studying his bottom lip, full and wet. A shiver of memory raced down her spine. “You’re too bossy, anyway.”
“God, don’t talk anymore,” he said, and lowered his head, his mouth hungrily finding hers.
Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than a two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Secrets of Hadley Green historical romance series, as well as the new Cabot Sisters historical series. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch and Return to Homecoming Ranch.
Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.