Rancher Eli Merrick has discovered a secret. It’s a sixteen-year-old secret, one with Merrick eyes, a Merrick chin and a stubborn Merrick attitude. 

Piper Beauregard knows that she was wrong to keep Tristen from his father. But her son had the power to hurt the Merrick brothers and split their family apart forever. 

Now the secret is out, and Eli is angrier than she could have imagined. After claiming his son, Eli takes him straight to Marietta, Montana to raise him on the old Douglas Ranch. Guilt-ridden at keeping the two apart, Piper knows she has to follow them. She’s still drawn to Eli’s protectiveness, even after so many years, but will he ever be able to look past their history? 

Titles in The Montana Merricks series include:  The Bull Rider’s Redemption (formerly titled Chase from the American Extreme Bull Riders Tour #2) The Rancher’s Secret Son

Title:  The Rancher’s Secret Son
Series:  The Montana Merricks #2
Author:  Barbara Dunlop
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  April 5, 2018
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  3 stars

Well, this is, I believe, a first for me.  A Marietta, Montana connected book that I simply could not connect to… at all.  There were moments in The Rancher’s Secret Son where I thought I could but not enough.  And it pains me to say that because usually I love Barbara Dunlop’s stories.  The reason why is really quite simple.  Eli.  While I get finding out you have a son sixteen years after that fact is a shock I felt no sympathy for Eli after his behavior in the first chapter.  He comes off as an arrogant bully and I could never lose that first impression of him enough to care if he ever found a happy ending.

I’m calling this story a “good book” with a 3 star rating because there are parts that did make it an interesting story – the parts not including Eli on the page.  Yes, the man really did burn me that much.  I’ll continue the series, one book does not make or break a series for me, but this one just didn’t touch me.  There is an audience that will enjoy Eli and Piper’s story, so I would encourage you to make up your own mind.  After all, mine is just one reader’s reaction to a story.  Pick up The Rancher’s Secret Son and let the magic of Marietta, Montana help you decide how you feel about these characters.

And what is with the newest trend of renaming already published series and titles?  It makes it difficult to continue on with a series you’ve started somewhere down the line that  had a completely different name.  For example, the first story in this series has been re-titled to The Bull Rider’s Redemption – formerly known as Chase the second title in the American Extreme Bull Riders Tour.  There is no mention in the description on Amazon that this is a formerly published, re-titled book.  In my opinion, that’s not fair to the reader or the buyer who may have purchased the title under a different name.

*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