"Emotionally charged, western romance"
Reviewed by Miranda Owen
Posted December 1, 2013
Romance | Series
THE SECRET HEIR OF SUNSET RANCH is Book 3 in the
author's Slades of Sunset Ranch series. It's under
slightly bizarre circumstances that Justin Slade and
Katherine Grady meet again at the opening of this story. As
far as Kat knows, it's Brett Applegate that she's meeting
again. When she briefly met and had a wild fling with him a
year and a half ago, that's who he introduced himself as.
In actuality he was Justin Slade -- wealthy rancher and
soldier, rather than simple farmer and soldier.
This is far
from the last surprise that either of them will have
throughout the course of the book. Almost immediately after
meeting his former flame, Justin learns that she fathered
his child. However, because of his earlier deception,
Brett's Aunt Mattie believes that young Connor is Brett's
To say that it's a complicated situation would be a
huge understatement. Things are further muddied because of
Aunt Mattie's situation. Her health is delicate and when
Kat came on the scene with baby Connor, it revitalized the
old woman and gave her a new sense of purpose. Neither Kat
nor Justin wants to give her a bad shock that might
jeopardize her health.
Throughout THE SECRET HEIR OF SUNSET RANCH, the two former
lovers try to sort out their feelings for each other and
figure out what their relationship should be now. They are
both still very attracted to each other, but they both have
some emotional baggage. Even though Justin takes some
responsibility for how things worked out for them in the
past, he still harbors a little anger and not being there
for the birth of his son, and not being able to openly
acknowledge him now. He also suffers survivor's guilt from
his military experience. He received the Congressional
Medal of Honor for saving five soldiers but he blames
himself for not being able to save Brett.
Maddie has some
trust issues and other issues with men because of her
abusive father. She is not a gold-digger but because of her
anxiety filled past, always on the run with her mom, and
barely having enough money to get by, she longs for
security and stability in a future partner.
I found Kat to
be a very sympathetic character. I respected what Justin
wanted to accomplish by buying some of Aunt Mattie's land
in order to set up the Gateway Equine Retreat for veterans.
I liked that it was something that he and Kat could work on
together. Kat and Justin generated some heat together, but
the emotional pull of the story is what makes it a
I think THE SECRET HEIR OF SUNSET RANCH can be read and
enjoyed without having read the previous two stories in
this series, since that's exactly what I did. However,
after enjoying this story and reading about Justin's
brothers, I look forward to checking out their stories in
the previous books.
A war hero returns to a secret baby surprise in this Slades
of Sunset Ranch novel by USA TODAY bestselling author
Back from his tour of duty, wealthy Nevada rancher Justin
Slade gets the shock of his life. The woman who shared his
bed eighteen months ago is in his hometown with a son in
who looks just like Justin!
Katherine Grady is hiding a dark past, but when she realizes
Justin seduced her under false pretenses, she's
she still finds him as irresistible as ever. Will their
secrets keep them apart, or will her hero fight for what's
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