Sage Creek

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Sage Creek

Lonesome Way, #1

With a failed marriage behind her, Sophie McPhee returns to Good Luck Ranch in her hometown Lonesome Way, Montana. Wanting to start over, Sophie plans to focus on her new bakery, A Bun in the Oven. She plans to avoid men. When she runs into Rafe Tanner, her first crush, she learns he now runs his family's ranch and is a single dad. Has the former wild cowboy become a changed man?

Rafe Tanner hasn't seen Sophie in years. He never thought his little sister's pesky best friend would grow up and become an irresistibly beautiful woman. But Rafe's been hurt too. Though they plan to be careful, Rafe and Sophie find it impossible to resist their attraction. Will they finally admit that home is where the heart is?

Sage Creek by Jill Gregory is a charming romance and the first story in her new series, Lonesome Way. Full of likeable characters, sharp dialogue and a sweet second chance romance, the series is off to a great start. Ms. Gregory's writing made it easy to immerse myself in what became a captivating story I didn't want to see end.

Discovering her husband's infidelity by accident, Sophie McPhee files for divorce and sells her successful bakery in California. Moving back to her hometown, Lonesome Way, Montana, gives Sophie a chance to start over. Living with her mother at Good Luck Ranch is just going to be temporary. She wants to get her life back on track and has no plans for romance; Sophie doesn't plan on getting her heart broken again. Sophie's plagued by doubts over her failed marriage and wonders if her ex, Ken, was right when he said her business success drove him to cheat. She also mourns never having the chance to have a child. Running into Rafe Tanner, her high school crush was not a part of her plans.

Rafe Tanner is content with his life; he's a successful rancher, has a daughter he loves and goes on the occasional date. Having been burned by his wife's desertion, Rafe concentrates on raising his daughter and running his family's ranch. He never planned on Sophie McPhee's return to Lonesome Way or on how she would make him feel.

The scenes between Sophie and Rafe are fantastic, they have instant physical and verbal chemistry and a shared past. Leery of getting involved in a romance, they both fear what failure could bring. Sophie's best friend, Lissie, is Tanner's younger sister and living in a small town makes keeping secrets difficult. Ms. Gregory did a wonderful job developing the romance between Sophie and Rafe, they're perfect for each other at this point in their lives but have to take things slowly because of what's at risk. Plus, they have the additional issue of Rafe's eleven year old daughter. After all, Sophie's not a casual date.

The secondary characters in the story are great. Ms. Gregory created a community full of people who really support each other and want what's best for each other. I especially liked Diane McPhee, Sophie's mom, who has a romance of her own, which takes place as Rafe and Sophie get re-acquainted. Sophie's grandmother is also one of her biggest supporters and is a real gem, the kind of grandmother every child wants. Lissie and Mia, Sophie's best friends, add additional support and color to the story. Ivy Tanner, Rafe's eleven year old daughter, is an additional delight; she's devoted to her father and becomes Sophie's friend.

While the story does focus on the romance between Sophie's return home and her romance with Rafe, there's also an additional storyline focusing on something from Sophie's past and someone who's not happy about her return. Some vandalism takes place and Rafe has some fears about Sophie's safety.

The story has a happy ending with Sophie and Rafe headed towards a bright future and with the vandalism issue resolved. Everyone's happy with how things have worked out. We also meet Rafe's two younger brothers, Travis and Jake, who will be featured in upcoming stories. If you like contemporary western romance, Sage Creek is a story I highly recommend. I'm looking forward to reading Ms. Gregory's next book in this series.

Book Blurb for Sage Creek

After her marriage falls apart, Sophie McPhee returns to the Good Luck ranch in her hometown of Lonesome Way, Montana, planning to steer clear of men and focus on her new bakery, A Bun in the Oven. But she doesn't expect to see her first crush, Rafe Tanner, who is now a single father running his family's ranch. But is Rafe a changed man?

Rafe hasn't seen Sophie since she was his little sister's pesky friend, and he's stunned to discover she's grown into an irresistibly beautiful woman. But Rafe has been hurt too. Though they both have their guards up, Rafe and Sophie seem to melt in each other's company. Can they finally admit that home is truly where the heart is?

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2011 5.00