About the Book:
Don’t miss Country Strong, the first book in Linda Lael Miller’s brand-new Painted Pony Creek series about three best friends whose strength, honor and independence exemplify the Montana land they love.
Ever since she was a teenager living in difficult circumstances, Shallie wanted Cord--but then she abruptly left the small Montana town of Painted Pony Creek, without telling anyone why or where she went. Now she's back and the old feelings are stronger than ever...and so are her impressions of the woman who betrayed him years ago. But Shallie’s not the only one who returns from the past.
Look for COUNTRY STRONG, the first book in a brand new western romance trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller!
Years ago, Cord Hollister thought he was in love with a beautiful, wild young woman named Reba. But he--and his two best friends--were betrayed when they discovered that Reba was having affairs with all of them. They all broke it off and she disappeared. They healed their friendships but now, years later, Carly, a girl who is Reba's spitting image, comes to Painted Pony Creek, Montana, looking for her father, who’s one of them, she claims. As Cord and his friends try to unravel the truth of who Carly's father really is and come to terms with the time they’ve lost with her, someone else from Cord's past blows into town.
Shallie Fletcher is even lovelier than Cord remembered but the last time they saw each other, he hurt her feelings. Now she back in Painted Pony Creek because she needs his help in learning how to train horses. The last thing he needs is another complication in his life though so he'll give her two weeks max and then he'll send her on her way. But he never expected to be as drawn to her as he is...
Just the sight of Cord Hollister makes Shallie's heart beat faster. Time has clearly changed him for the better. She's back in town for one reason only to learn from Cord, the horse whisperer, himself—at least that's what she tells herself. But from the moment she sees him, she knows that isn't true. She still wants him now as much as she did all those years ago. But can he ever feel the same about her?
Unless you are happily married to your high school sweetheart, chances are there is someone in your past who "got away". Maybe the timing wasn't right. Probably you weren't right for each other (otherwise you'd still be together), But, when you look back, you still smile, and wonder "what if", and, for most of us, sensibly keep that as part of your PAST, not Facebook stalking or dwelling on that relationship rather than today's relationship.
Cord and Shallie were an item in high school, until Cord fell for Shallie's friend Reba. Shallie left town with a broken heart, leaving behind a dysfunctional family and a man she thought she loved. She decides to head back to town at about the same time Reba's orphaned teenaged daughter shows up, looking for her father. Of course Carly has her own secrets but the overall theme of the book is the search for family. Shallie wonders what happened to her mom that caused her to be abandoned to the care of relatives. Cord wants to know why his mother has never been a part of his life and, as noted above, Carly wants to know her father.
Honestly, the whole resolution (this is a Linda Lael Miller romance, of course the problems are resolved) was just a little too tidy but I liked Shallie, Cord and Carly as well as their friends and family and I look forward to returning to town to see who Cord's friends end up with.
Thanks to the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley. Grade: B