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The Rancher’s Second Chance by Maddie James is a Book Series Starter Event pick #free #westernromance #cowboyromance #bookseries #giveaway

Title: The Rancher’s Second Chance


Author: Maddie James


Genre: Contemporary Western Romance / Cowboy Romance


Book Blurb:


A reluctant rancher. A lonely librarian. A family in shambles. Can the rancher risk a second chance at love and heal his family at the same time?


When John Rankin’s wife dies, leaving him with two children to raise, he wonders how he can he take care of a family and run a working cattle ranch, too. Annie’s domain was home, hearth, and the kids. Her dying put a hole in his day-to-day existence like nothing he’d ever before experienced—not only in his rancher lifestyle, but also in his heart.As the months roll on, his heart is only one of his problems when eleven-year-old Callie rebels. Missing her mom and unsure how her life is unfolding, Callie pushes back at every turn, and John is unsure how to help her. Then his friend and farm manager, Buck McGinnis, suggests John seek the counsel of a woman for advice dealing with a moody pre-teen female. He wants to introduce John to his friend, Abby Cooper.John is reluctant, but eventually caves to Buck’s advice. Suddenly, life becomes more complicated.




The cowboy looked to be in his mid-forties. That would be the right age for John Rankin. He had a teenage son, according to Buck, who also told her that John’s wife had been several years younger than him. The man was stocky, yet fit, with lean, but muscular, wrangler legs. Legs that had worked a lot of years on a ranch, on horseback. His jeans were new and starched, his boots pointed and polished, but well broken-in. He wore a white collared shirt beneath a brown sports coat that strangely complemented the warmth of the atmosphere in the bar. His belt sported a silver western buckle, but not a rodeo buckle. Thank the Lord. He carried his hat as he drew even with her chair.


“Excuse me. Abby?” The hat shook in his hand.


“Yes. Are you John?”


He nodded. “I am. Mind if I join you?”


She gave into a smile. “That’s why we’re here. Right?”


He let go of a breath then, chuckling. “Yes, ma’am.” He sat, taking the seat at the bar beside of her, and positioned his hat back on his head. “I don’t mind telling you, I’m a tad nervous.”


Abby felt compassion for him at that moment. Before she realized it, she had reached out and laid her hand on the back of his forearm. “I don’t mind telling you I’m nervous as hell.”


John grinned.


The bartender placed her Old Fashioned in front of her. He glanced at John. “Sir?”


“A shot of Yellowstone.”


“Coming up.”


Abby watched John eye her drink. “Bourbon?” he asked.


She removed her hand from his arm, grasped the tumbler, and took a quick sip. “Yes. I felt the occasion warranted something a little harder than wine.” She set the glass down on the bar. “I see you’re a bourbon whiskey fellow, too.”


“Of course.”


The bartender set his drink in front of him. John picked up the shot glass and quickly downed the bourbon. “Bring another one. On the rocks this time.”


“Yes, sir.”


John drummed his fingertips on the bar top and glanced away for a moment, then back again. “Buck tells me you are a librarian. Sorry to say I don’t read many books.”


“You know, I hear that a lot.”


“From your other dates?”


She shook her head. “No. I don’t really date.”


“Ah, I see. Me, neither.”


“Just from people I meet casually, or in the library.”


“I see. I bet you do.”


“I won’t hold it against you.” Abby watched John’s face break into a smile.


“About not reading or not dating?”


Abby sipped her drink and then let out a little laugh. “Reading. I think this conversation has suddenly gone a little convoluted.”


John nodded. “Like I said. I’m nervous.”


“I’m the same. So, we’re even.”


The bartender interrupted again, setting John’s drink in front of him. “Should I add you to the dinner list, sir?”


John shot her a glance. She gave him a slight, uncertain shrug. Their gazes connected and held. “Let’s hold on that for a few minutes,” he said to the bartender. But his stare remained, holding her captive.


Abby felt a bit of a warm tingle run down her spine, a sensation she hadn’t felt in some time. It could have been the bourbon. Then again, it could be John Rankin’s mesmerizing brown eyes—eyes that for some reason she felt she could look into for a long time.


An awkward pause settled between them. Abby took another reinforcing sip of her Old Fashioned and John threw back his whiskey. The ice in his tumbler clinked when he set the glass back on the bar.


“Bozeman has a lot of nice restaurants.” John turned fully toward her on the bar stool. “Surely you go out to eat?”


Abby stared. “Actually, no. I don’t date, John, as I said. I haven’t for a while. Not since—” She really didn’t want to go there. You aren’t supposed to talk about your divorce or your ex on a first date with a new guy, are you? She’d read that somewhere. “And I rarely eat expensive steak,” she blurted out.


That was stupid, Abby.


John stared at her for a few seconds, causing her to lower her gaze uncomfortably.

“You have something against steak?”


She grinned, looking up at him. “Not at all, Mr. Rancher. It’s just not a priority on my salary with a twelve-year-old boy who eats like a horse.”


“Are you comfortable here?” he blurted out.


“Oh, I’m comfortable. I’m just….”




“Somewhat. You?”


“Like a whore in church.”


Abby laughed aloud.


“You want to get out of here?”


Studying him for a few seconds, Abby made a quick decision. “Yes. I think I do.”


John nodded. “Me, too.”


“Maybe someplace quiet would be more conducive to conversation.” She eyed him, trying to gauge his reaction. “That is, if you prefer.”


“I like the sound of that.”


“Okay.” Abby hesitated. Should she act on the thought in her head, or quickly try to think of something else?


“Got any ideas?”


She paused for a couple of heartbeats, then jumped in with both feet. Now or never. “I do. And if you are not okay with this idea, that’s fine. We can come up with something else. But perhaps you can follow me back to Livingston? What about pizza and beer at my place? Or, whiskey, if you prefer. There’s a new oven-fired pizza restaurant around the corner. We could pick one up or have it delivered.”


John Rankin stood then, keeping eye contact with her. “Perfect.”


“All right.”


He pulled several bills out of his wallet, tossed them on the bar, and reached for her elbow. Abby stood and pulled her purse over her shoulder.


Leaning in as they stepped away from the bar, John whispered, “I like your style, Abby Cooper. And I’m following your lead.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):


This title is PERMAFREE!












What makes your featured book a must-read?


First in series and permanently free at all retailers! This story anchors the Rock Creek Ranch series and introduces readers to the Rankin family of Paradise Valley, Montana. You’ll fall in love with the Rankin family—Callie, Parker, Finn, Luke, Abby and more—and want to read more of them. Over 600 five-star ratings on Amazon!


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $40 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.


Runs January 9 – January 21, 2024.


Winner will be drawn on January 22, 2024.


Author Biography:


Whether writing flirty contemporary romance or gritty romantic suspense, Maddie James writes to silence the people in her head.


In 2022, Maddie celebrated her 25th year of publishing romance fiction under multiple pen names. Her collective body of work includes over 70 titles. Maddie loves writing small town contemporary romance and cowboy worlds, and as M.L. Jameson she pens romantic suspense. You might find a few naughty short stories written under another pen name if you look hard enough.


Affair de Coeur says Maddie, “shows a special talent for traditional romance,” and RT Book Reviews claimed, “James deftly combines romance and suspense, so hope on for an exhilarating ride.”



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