Could home be ‘on the range’? 

After teaching at a prestigious university, Luke McGregor is headed home to his family’s ranch in Grand, Montana, to help his brothers raise their baby niece and nephews and to help save the struggling ranch. His long-time girlfriend wants no part of playing cowgirl and dumps him fast. Luke commits himself to be home for at least a year and throws himself into family and ranch life. A chance meeting with a beautiful and free-spirited woman and a promising first date make him wonder if his place is necessarily in a big city. 

Plucky Mara Ramos has lived much of her life on the road as a performer, but a dance injury, that permanently sidelines her professional career and ends her fling with a famous pop star, strands her in the middle of Montana. She likes the friendly small town and soon opens a dance studio intent on building a new life for herself. She enjoys inspiring her young students, but she can’t help but feel she needs more. A casual date with an enigmatic, flirty stranger, who is so much more than a cowboy, teases Mara with the possibility of putting down roots and finding a happy ever after. 

When Luke’s former girlfriend announces she’s pregnant, he’s faced with the decision of a lifetime. If he’s all about family, can he make a decision that will keep Mara in his life?

Titles in The Montana McGregor Brothers include:  The Rancher Takes A FamilyThe Rancher’s Secret Love

Title:  The Rancher’s Secret Love
Series:  The Montana McGregor Brothers #2
Author:  Paula Altenburg
Genre:  Modern Western Romance
Published:  May 21, 2019
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  4.5 stars

THE RANCHER’S SECRET LOVE is the second story in The Montana McGregor Brothers series.  While it could be read on its own, I believe that you’ll get a better overall feel for this series, and Luke and Mara’s romance, if you read THE RANCHER TAKES A FAMILY first.  That’s completely my own opinion, both are excellent stories.

Luke has returned to the family ranch leaving behind his teaching position, a job that he loved and fought to get.  Yet, with the recent deaths in the family, the ranch needing so much work, and his nephews and niece now the responsibility of their uncles – well, it was time to come home but he’s only committed himself to be there for one year.  Unfortunately, the woman he saw himself marrying someday had very different ideas about ranch life and broke off their relationship.

Mara knows full well how life happens in a split second.  One career-ending accident was enough to prove that to her.  Now she’s settled down in the small ranching town of Grand, Montana with her dance studio and new plans for her life ahead of her.  Romance has no part in that life.  She’s been burned badly and has no intention of getting near that particular flame any time soon.  But life has other plans for Mara and Luke, plans that include a happy ending after some very rough ground to be dealt with – together.

I enjoyed Mara and Luke’s romance very much.  Life tosses curve balls at us all the time, it’s how we deal with those sudden changes that can end or begin a long relationship.  They may have both been burned on romance, but that didn’t stop the sparks from flying between them.  Luke and Mara are not going to have an easy romance, life happens, and watching how it all plays out is an emotional, at times tense experience.  But so worth it.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher, Tule Publishing. 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