This is my first story by Liz Isaacson which is the nom de plume for Elana Johnson. I’m not sure if under the Isaacson name, Johnson will exclusive write inspirational/Christian/clean romances but this is that kind of story. I’ve read quite a few very good stories with those themes so I was very hopeful and really looking forward to this one.
The first book in her ‘Three Ranch Rivers’ series, the title Second Chance Ranch pretty much describes the underlying theme of this story. It’s the second chance at romance for both Squire Ackerman and Kelly Russell.
In their teenage years, Kelly and Squire grew up together. Kelly’s best friend Chelsea is Squire’s older sister. During high school, Squire sent some balloons to Kelly and asked her to prom. Unfortunately for Squire, Kelly never found his note hidden in or on one of the balloons and never knew who sent the balloons much less the reason. So both of them missed out on their first chance at what might have been.
After ten years apart. Squire joined the Army and served in Afghanistan. After an injury during a deployment, Squire’s come home to help his parents retire. He’ll take over management of the family ranch. His leg’s busted up and he’s got PTSD but he figures that the ranch, land and hard work will help him heal.
Somewhere along the way, Squire realizes that there’s a considerable amount of money missing, not reported on the ranch financial books. How he figures that out isn’t explained and I had so many other issues with his PTSD and physical recovery that I wasn’t even bothered by that. The physical and mental recovery/coping were things I thought were glanced over. For the first 50% of the story he was more concerned with Kelly not accepting his proposal to prom ten years ago. He’s literally been to war and has seen his friends blown up, killed, maimed, but he can’t let the prom thing go. Hmmm…
Moving on. Squire’s father needs to replace the ranch accountant who recently died and the only person he has in mind is Kelly Russell. Kelly’s back from California with her young son in tow. Her divorce a few months prior set her back financially and her parents offered her and her son a place to stay until she can get on her feet.
Since she got her accountant degree, this is her first job in that field. The only unknowns for her are – will she be able to handle the duties as the ranch accountant after Squire tasks her with finding out where the missing money went and can she hold her attraction to Squire in check? What she initially doesn’t realize is that Squire is still holding the prom thing against her; to her defense she doesn’t know that he’s the one who asked. This silliness went on for too long. Way too long. These are grown folks… adults… she’s got a child… he’s been to war and they’re still with this prom thing. Okay, that’s fine, I’ll keep reading. Then it was misunderstanding after misunderstanding.
There’s a lot about this story that was good, but there was more about it that was aggravating. The flow felt disjointed. The dialogue didn’t flow well. The plot was contrived. There were too many moments when I had trouble following who was speaking – I know this because I had to re-read too many sentences. The push and pull between Squire and Kelly made my head spin. In one paragraph he’s perturbed with her because she said something he didn’t like and the next paragraph he’s calling her “darlin'” because she smiled. I could go on with my thoughts, but I won’t. Unfortunately for me, I just didn’t feel the romance and love between Kelly and Squire. Too much too quickly. And the bad guy was just disappointing.
Happy reading folks!
*Book by author via InstaFreebie
Click to purchase: Amazon
Second Chance Ranch
by Liz Isaacson
Release Date: September 15, 2015