ONCE A RANCHER - Linda Lael Miller
The Carsons of Mustang Creek, Book 1
HQN Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-77968-0
April 2015
Contemporary Romance

Mustang Creek, Wyoming Present Day

Award winning documentary film-maker Slater Carson is back in Mustang Creek and between movies, needing a rest before he starts in on his next project.  Right now, it's the end of the day and he's just bone tired, until a gorgeous red-headed woman, towing a teenage boy in her wake, busts into his office.

Ex-cop Grace Emery is now managing the Bliss River Resort and Spa, trying to balance her new job and provide a home for her ex-husband's son, Ryder.  When she finds a stolen object Ryder filched from the Carson ranch, she acts quickly, and literally drags the boy to the Carson ranch to apologize and return his stolen booty.  And later, when Slater offers Ryder a job on his ranch, Grace gratefully accepts, hoping the activity will keep her stepson out of trouble while she's working.  Just recently moved from Seattle, Grace hopes to build a new life here in Mustang Creek.  And when Ryder's grandparents asked her take the boy during his father's deployment, she couldn't refuse.

Sparks fly between Grace and Slater from the minute they meet, something that doesn't go unnoticed by Ryder, leading to an immediate bond between the two adults and the boy.  Grace believes she knows Slater's style.  He's rich, good looking, and driven by his job.  Falling for a man like that led her straight into a divorce from her ex, Hank, and she has no plans to go down that road again.  Still, she can't control her pulse pounding reaction whenever she's within the smallest proximity of Slater Carson.  And when he asks her for help hosting potential investors for his next film, she tells herself she can keep her head on business only, but she isn't sure about her heart.

Slater, meanwhile, wants to get to know Grace up close and personal.  Offering Ryder a job at the ranch was strictly for Ryder's benefit, but it doesn't hurt that he gets to see Grace more often.  When a disgruntled employee begins stalking Grace, her life and Ryder's are suddenly in danger, but Slater is right there to keep her safe, until he's sidetracked by Hank's sudden appearance back in her life.

Slater Carson was ONCE A RANCHER who's at home both in the saddle and at a black tie event.  Heir to a huge family dynasty, Slater is wealthy in his own right, and he's used to women falling at his feet simply to get closer to his money.  But Grace is different.  She's independent and willful, and she also has the kindest heart he's ever known, which is sometimes at odds with her temper.  Grace, meanwhile, is falling hard for Slater.  What would it hurt to let this man take care of her, rather than trying to manage everything by herself?

As the first book in The Carsons of Mustang Creek , this new series brings us back to this small western town and into the pages of a brand new, fabulous story, with one of the sexiest heroes to come along since the last Mustang Creek book.  ONCE A RANCHER is filled with lots of romance, a little mystery, danger, and vibrant characters, which include Slater's two brothers, who are just waiting for their own stories.  And, to my heart's delight, ALWAYS A COWBOY, Drake Carson's story, comes to us in August 2016, and I can't wait!

ONCE A RANCHER is one of Mustang Creek 's best yet!

Diana Risso