cover image Sweet Talking Rancher

Sweet Talking Rancher

Kate Pearce. Zebra, $8.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4201-5257-9

Pearce’s fifth Millers of Morgan Valley romance (after The Rancher Meets His Match) offers a thin second-chance love story that kicks off when Faith McDonald returns to Morgan Valley after 17 years away. She’s there to take over her family’s veterinary clinic, but she’s unsurprised by the chilly reception she gets from the townsfolk, most of whom still hold a grudge against her for abandoning her high school boyfriend, rancher Danny Miller. It’s true that Danny was shattered when Faith left, but he’s the only one besides Faith who knows the melodramatic secret that led to her departure. Now an outbreak of scours among the cattle force the pair to work together to control the damage to the town. The task gives them the chance to come to terms with their past—and realize the extent of their parents’ meddling back in the day. Replete with nosy neighbors, deceptive family members, and a slew of misunderstandings, the novel’s not short on drama, but Pearce spends more time explicating Faith and Danny’s past relationship than exploring what they mean to one another now, making it difficult to root for their reunion. The choppy flow and lack of romantic focus make this one to skip. [em]Agent: Deidre Knight, the Knight Agency. (Aug.) [/em]