Series: The Cowboys of Chance Creek, Book 1
Author: Cora Seton
Blurb: Ethan Cruz should be mending fences on his Montana ranch, but instead he’s driving to the Chance Creek, Montana, airport – to pick up the bride he didn’t know he had. This latest salvo in his ongoing practical joke battle with his best friend, Rob Matheson, has gone too far, and Ethan plans to send his “bride” right back home, then get busy plotting his revenge. One look at Autumn Leeds changes his mind, however. Perhaps he needs a bride, after all. A breathtakingly beautiful city bride.
Autumn Leeds needs a story – fast – or she’s going to lose her lucrative contract with CityPretty Magazine, so when she sees the crazy video plea for a modern mail-order bride for a cowboy, it sounds like the story of the century. Making a video of her own, she casts herself as the perfect mail-order bride for a rancher, but when she finally reaches Montana, she’s surprised to find Ethan’s the perfect cowboy husband-to-be. Against her better judgment, her plan to keep her handsome groom at arm’s length disintegrates into a night of passion spent in his arms.
Ethan knows he can’t keep playing this game – he has to come clean with Autumn and tell her the truth; about the practical joke and about the state of his ranch. He’s about to lose it all because of the debts his mother racked up before his parents’ deaths. Now his sister, Claire, wants to sell the ranch and collect what little money they can. He’ll be out of a home and a job, and in no shape to support the bride he desperately wants to marry, after all.
Autumn’s in bigger trouble than ever. Not only has she fallen in love with the subject of her expose – she might be carrying his child. If she doesn’t write this article and secure her contract for another year, she’ll lose everything – her career, her apartment, and more importantly, her family’s approval. The only alternative is to stay and marry Ethan. But how can she trust a man she’s just met when she knows too well that men always let you down?
Can a relationship built on lies last?
Thoughts: Ethan and Autumn were attracted to each other from the very beginning, but they both started out the relationship based on lies. Ethan’s friend Rob catches him in a vulnerable, drunken moment after he’s just been dumped by his girlfriend when she finds out that his ranch is in major debt. Bitter, he goes on a rant about what he wants in a woman – and his friends post it on the internet to get him a mail-order bride!
Autumn needs a great story to save her job, and she thinks she’s found just the thing with Ethan’s search for a bride. With the help of a friend, she creates a video “interview” – listing qualities she thinks Ethan wants, including how she is “ready for a family”. But she wasn’t counting on this rustic cowboy roping his way into her heart!
Throughout the book, I couldn’t decide if Ethan’s friend Rob was really his “best friend” or if he secretly despised Ethan and had it in for him. With the way things were described, you almost got a sense like it was more of a “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” kind of situation. Especially as it got closer to the end of the book. However, he seemed to ride the fence between enemy and friend – never really crossing the line into either category. And the ex-girlfriend Lacey is portrayed as this horrible gold-digger, yet becomes somewhat vulnerable at the end.
The title is a bit of an attention grabber, yet not a whole lot of the story revolved around it! Which was a bit disappointing. But I liked how quickly Autumn and Ethan were captivated by each other. Almost as soon as she steps of the plane they are in each other’s arms – and beds! If you’re not one for the characters having sex fairly quickly, you might want to pass on this one! A major issue with the book was the fact that Autumn and Ethan have unprotected sex before they even really know each other. In this day and age, that’s just asking for trouble – it’s not like years ago when the only thing we were risking was an unexpected pregnancy. Without really knowing the person your crawling into bed with, you’re playing Russian roulette with your own health.
A minor thing that really bothered me in the book, was that Ethan lied just as much as Autumn did – they both entered the relationship under false pretenses. Yet when she found out about Ethan’s deception, she did not use the opportunity to fess up to her own! Instead, she continues carrying on with the pretense. And once he does find out, he doesn’t even stop to consider her side of the story – or to think about 1) what all she has done for him and 2) the fact that in similar circumstances she forgave him. I thought that was a bit hypocritical. However, people don’t always react in expected – or rational – ways, so that could be overlooked. Overall, it was bit thrown together, a bit of a “standard” romance – but a very sweet, worthwhile read.