Branded by Firelight by Paula Altenburg

Easy-going cowboy and roping champion Ben Nichols is at loose ends while his best friend prepares for his wedding. Best man Ben must partner with the maid of honor–not a chore, even if the bride’s sister is as aloof as she is beautiful. Ben’s never backed down from a challenge, especially since this one has a clearly marked expiration date. 

Ambitious golden girl and software tester Claire Brand is not acquainted with failure… until recently. Now, she needs to get through her sister’s wedding and back to Seattle before her family discovers her painful secrets. Her hot groomsman partner, who has temporary written all over him, offers the perfect distraction to get her through the next couple of weeks. Why not? It’s been a long time since Claire’s had some fun. 

But then, love turns a short and steamy fling into something neither one of them is prepared for.

Titles in The Sweetheart Brand series include:  His Sweetheart Brand (previously titled “Her Secret Love”) – Branded With A Kiss – Branded by Firelight

Title:  Branded by Firelight
Series:  The Sweetheart Brand #3
Author:  Paula Altenburg
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  February 6, 2018
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  4 stars

Branded by Firelight packs a few emotional punches.  It will be difficult to walk away from Ben and Claire’s story without a few touching, emotional moments.  Returning home for her sister’s wedding should have been a joyful occasion  It is for most of the family, but for Claire it’s more of a happy for her sister but ‘please don’t guess the secret I’m holding close to my heart’ tightrope to walk for the next few weeks.  Perhaps the hot and handsome best man could provide a distraction, he certainly has temporary written all over that cowboy – and that is exactly what Claire needs right now.   Temporary, a cover, and a way to get through until she can return to Seattle hopefully with her secrets still intact.  Only love doesn’t quite work that way.

Ben is happy for his friend, but forever is a concept that just isn’t for him.  Or at least he felt that way until Claire got herself deeply embedded in his heart.  Their relationship was supposed to be a fun fling, a just for the wedding good time.  And that worked until he got to know her better.  She was hurting, hiding something and he couldn’t understand why her family wasn’t picking up on that.  Well, everyone’s entitled to their secrets except when Ben believes he is the answer that could help this lovely, brave lady.  Neither had expected love to come into the relationship – so now what do they do?

Branded by Firelight is that unexpected combination of fun, flirty bantering and some serious emotional dealings.  Ben and Claire worked so well as a couple.  The one liners flew fast, the bantering felt completely natural and it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that these two would fall in love.  There are touching, emotional moments that will break your heart, then heal it back up again.  For two people who only wanted temporary, Ben and Claire certainly got the surprise of a lifetime.  Loved their story and would highly recommend it and the entire series.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for the Kindle