My rating: 3 stars / I liked it
When Daniel Gardner convinced the residents of his Kansas boomtown to advertise for mail-order brides, he never expected the woman he once loved to respond. But Leah Swann steps off the bride train…pregnant and widowed and in need of a husband. Drawn to protect his fragile childhood friend, Daniel proposes a marriage of convenience.
Seeing her onetime best friend waiting to meet the bride train is a wonderful shock for Leah. After her first rocky marriage, a practical partnership with Daniel sounds perfect—as long as her heart doesn't get involved. But when she starts to fall for her husband, will her plans of a fresh start be ruined…or is a real marriage to Daniel exactly what she needs?
Cowboy Creek: Bringing mail-order brides, and new beginnings, to a Kansas boomtown.
Once again I made the mistake of reading the books in a series out of order. I read the third book in the Cowboy Creek series first, so I already had the background information that this book spends a lot of time providing. It does a thorough job of establishing the setting of the growing town and introducing all the main players, which detracted a bit from the focus on Daniel and Leah's relationship. The plot fell a little flat for me since there isn't much tension, chemistry, or obstacles in their romance (though I really liked the characters), and the altercations in the town don't get resolved since those plot lines are meant to last through the entire series. I'm still excited to read the middle book to see how Will ends up with someone so different from what he planned.
(I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher; all opinions in this review are my own)