Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Second Chance Cowboy Release Day Blast & Giveaway

Welcome to you as we celebrate the latest release from A.J. Pine! SECOND CHANCE COWBOY is the first book in her brand spanking new series, Crossroads Ranch. It's full of heart and romance and just what you need in your life right now!  


Once a cowboy, always a cowboy 

Ten years ago, Jack Everett left his family's ranch without a backward glance. Now, what was supposed to be a quick trip home for his father's funeral has suddenly become more complicated. The ranch Jack can handle---he might be a lawyer, but he still remembers how to work with his hands. But turning around the failing vineyard he's also inherited? That requires working with the one woman he never expected to see again.

Ava Ellis broke her own heart the night she let Jack go. She was young and scared---and secretly pregnant with Jack's baby. Now that he's back and asking for her help, Ava sees her opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. But how will he feel about the son he's never known? Could this be their second chance---or their final heartbreak? 

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We all look back on our past and pinpoint moments that we wish we could do over again. For whatever reason - be it circumstance, bad choices, timing - with some perspective we see where it went wrong and wish we could fix it. Second Chance Cowboy isn't a do over but an opportunity to own up to the past and plan a way forward. But for Jack and Ava, the past comes with such heavy baggage who knows how things will turn out.

I had a hard time with this because as romantic as it was, it was also emotionally heavy. At first I thought it was Ava who kept her pregnancy a secret from Jack and deliberately pushed him away for his own good. She was 17 or 18 at the time and made what she thought was the right move for both their futures. When he returns home to attend his father's funeral, the cat's out of the bag and suddenly he's hit with the reality of the past 10 years -- what he's missed with Ava and their son, but also how his younger brothers have grown up in his absence.

Not that Jack is in the clear. He' still terribly hung up on his past and carrying so much guilt. As a result he doubts his own ability to be a good partner and father. At the same time he feels the incredible responsibility to overcompensate for everything his loved ones didn't have. Jack's doubts were what got to me and for my own personal reasons, I got his tormented soul 100%.

After some reflection, what I realized made it hard for me is the crushing weight of all the expectations heaped upon every single person involved. Everyone expects the other to behave a certain way and to make what they believe is the obvious or right decision. In Jack's case, it's also the pressure that he inflicts upon himself that adds to his misery. I loved the rekindled romance because seeing a more mature Jack and Ava approach each other is that hopeful second chance we all wish for. It's a beautiful sight to behold. The renewed appreciation for his hometown and the reconnection that they all make with one another make your heart burst. I think A.J. Pine did exceptional work in showing us that aspect of human nature where expectations can either lift us up or crush us. 

Jack and Ava couldn't have known the love they'd rediscover or the riches they'd find within family. In the end, pushing past all the guilt, hurt and hardships, Second Chance Cowboy is a romantic, heartwarming and spectacular welcome home!

~ Bel


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