Title: Honeymoon with the Rancher
Author: Donna Alward
May Contain Spoilers
Tomas Mendoza left the city behind when he retreated to a rustic Argentine ranching guesthouse after losing his fiancée. He has found peace working the land…until socialite Sophia Hollingsworth plants her stilettos in front of him and demands to stay the week.
Sophia is nursing private hurts of her own—after all, she is on her honeymoon…alone. Her bravado is a cover act to show everyone she can stand on her own two feet. Trouble is, she’s in danger of being swept away into the rancher’s arms!
I thought this was a fun read! Sophia calls off her wedding after catching her intended doing the nasty with another woman, but decides that she’s still going on the honeymoon. She isn’t about to mope around at home, and instead journeys to Argentina by herself. It isn’t exactly what she was expecting, but she’s determined to see her decision through to the end. If she goes home early, she’ll feel like a failure, and she’s not about to give her mother more fuel to use against her. Instead, she sucks it up, throws her heels back in her suitcase, and rolls up her shirtsleeves. Her glamorous honeymoon isn’t at the luxurious resort she envisioned; it’s at a working ranch in the pampas, with horses, cattle, and a very unwelcoming rancher!
I loved the setting! This is my kind of vacation – riding horses, schlepping around in jeans, eating home-cooked meals. Sophia isn’t so sure that it’s something she’ll enjoy, but Tomas Mendoza has her so riled up that she’s not going to give him the satisfaction of seeing her quit and go back home. Sophia digs in her heels, literally, and gives back just as good as she gets. The sparks fly between them, making for oodles of tension and so many conflicts to work through.
The relationship had me hooked, and I liked both Sophia and Tomas. Once they stopped spitting at each other like angry cats, they settled in for a compelling courtship. Neither one of them wanted to get involved, but as they reconciled with their painful pasts, they realized that it was impossible to ignore the attraction sizzling between them. Sophia wasn’t ready for a vacation fling, but she soon found herself unable to resist the handsome, and on occasion, taciturn rancher.
This is the first book I’ve read by Donna Alward, and I found more depth than I was expecting. There were so many points in the narrative that got to me, and made me like both characters even more.
"You’re tougher than I thought,” Tomas admitted. “Maybe I underestimated you, Sophia Hollingsworth.”
“Maybe you did. But the real reason I came was because I was looking for someone.”
He turned his head towards her again. “Who?”
A lump formed in Sophia’s throat as she gripped the reins. The horse perked up at the feel of her hands through the leather.
“Me,” she replied, and nudged the mare along and down the path leading to the creek.
I loved this exchange, and it made me care for Sophia even more. How many of us are brave enough to look inside ourselves, and find that we are lacking something important and fundamental?
Honeymoon with the Rancher pushed all of the right buttons with me. The setting is wonderful, the characters aren’t one-dimensional, and the romance was convincing.
Review copy purchased from Amazon