melt-my-heart-cowboyTitle:  Melt My Heart, Cowboy
Series:  Love At The Chocolate Shop #1
Author:  C. J. Carmichael
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  October 6, 2016
Publisher:  Tule publishing
My Rating:  4.5 stars
Source:  NetGalley
Cover Description:

Who is the handsome cowboy who comes into small town Marietta’s chocolate shop every week to buy a box of chocolates? More importantly…who is he buying the chocolates for? These are the questions sales clerk Rosie Linn asks herself as she waits for her sadly neglected childhood home to sell so she can pursue an exciting new career in L.A.

Rosie finds out the answers the day rugged ranch hand Brant Willingham introduces himself and asks for her help in managing the care of his younger sister. Brant’s mother has recently died, leaving him the sole guardian of eighteen-year-old Sara Maria–who has been a puzzle to Brant ever since she began exhibiting signs of autism at age two.

Rosie and Brant come up with a plan. She’ll help with his sister if he handles repairs and a new paint job for her old house. It seems the perfect solution, but a new dilemma is created when the couple start spending time together. Brant discovers he doesn’t want Rosie to sell and leave, and Rosie fears she will have to choose between love and her dreams.

Titles in this series include:  Melt My Heart, CowboyA Thankful HeartMontana Secret SantaThe Chocolate CureThe Valentine Quest – Charmed by Chocolate – The Chocolate Comeback

Melt My Heart, Cowboy starts of the twelve book series, Love At The Chocolate Shop.  Each story is written by a very talented Tule author, I have come to love all of their stories and the sense of small town community that Marietta, Montana has come to represent to me.  If you’ve been to Marietta before then you know of Sage’s famous chocolates.  If not, then don’t let that hold you back.  Come on in and meet some hew friends.

Brant and Rosie have far more in common then they might think at first.  Each has dreams that take them from where they are today, and each has felt the responsibility of caring for a loved one who needs help caring for themselves.  For Rosie those people were her parents, and she’s seen them to the end of their lives and now her dream might be within reach.  Brant has suddenly become the main caregiver for his sister, Sara Maria.  He has no clue how to help his autistic sister and often simply makes matters worse.  Sara Maria’s foundation has been stripped away at their mother’s death, and Brant did what was necessary at the time by having her stay at a nursing care facility.  But Sara Maria has so many more abilities and a higher function level than Brant has any idea of.  He’s stuck in the past, being the older brother who had to watch out for his baby sister.  He sees the past mistakes and is blind to the young woman his sister is today.  Don’t get the idea that Brant is a cruel person, he’s not by a long shot.  He is however, out of his element since for the past ten years he’s been off being a cowboy on a working ranch while his mother had the full time care of Sara Maria alone.  He remembers more vividly the child and needs to now see the present day young woman that Sara Maria has grown to be.

My affections in Melt My Heart, Cowboy were pretty divided between Rosie and Brant, and Sara Maria.  Rosie and Brant began with light flirtations but they grew far beyond the casualness of even friendship.  They each held back because of what was already on their plates, and had to learn that sharing makes everything easier.  For me, the star that did the most shining was Sara Maria.

I have been and still am a caregiver for a loved one.  And Brant’s frustration is very, very real.  While obviously, our situations are different I still understood him – maybe I wanted to sit him down and have a stern talk to this young man – but at his base I got him.  A good man doing the best he knew how.  His growth by the ending of the story, enough confidence to step back and Let Rosie go for her dreams without any interference showed to me just how far Brant has come.

And I’m interested to see if, as I suspect, one story thread will be woven throughout the series.  I hope so, but time will tell.  I loved Melt My Heart, Cowboy.  It was heartwarming, fun, sad and completely believable.  I would highly recommend this story to any Romance reader – and keep an eye out for the rest of the series.  It’s going to be amazing.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this novel. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this story.*

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