When Marietta newcomer Elena Puente is coerced into attending a speed dating event at the popular Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop, she’s blindsided by a serious attraction to local cowboy, Wesley Banks.

Still recovering from a broken engagement, the first-grade teacher from Las Vegas isn’t looking for romance. She’s in Montana to get to know the great-grandfather she never knew existed until she found some hidden family letters. Judge Kingsley is a grouchy recluse and he’s far from welcoming, but Elena is determined to stay in town long enough to give his neglected estate on Bramble Lane a facelift.

Elena’s resolve to avoid romance is tested when she discovers Wesley is the caretaker of her grandfather’s rural property. Soon, she and the cowboy are attending more speed dating events at the chocolate shop and she’s seeking his advice on how to deal with his ornery boss. Local gossips wager the old Judge will run Elena out of town before anything serious develops between her and Wesley. But Wesley’s a determined man, too, and he’s betting Elena belongs in Marietta forever…with him.

Titles in the Love At The Chocolate Shop series include:  Melt My Heart, CowboyA Thankful HeartMontana Secret SantaThe Chocolate CureThe Valentine QuestCharmed by Chocolate The Chocolate ComebackThe Chocolate TouchSweet Home Cowboy

Title:  Sweet Home Cowboy
Series:  Love At The Chocolate Shop #9
Author:  Marin Thomas
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  June 1, 2017
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  4,5 stars

Sometimes searching for the past can bring us to a future we never expected.  Unknown to Elena, her past was securely centered around the small town of Marietta, Montana nestled at the bottom of Copper Mountain.  It was where her father had lived his life, right up until he left to be with her mother.  After his death she’d believed all the family she now had consisted of her mother and herself – a bundle of unread letters at the bottom of a drawer would prove otherwise.  Which is how she found herself now on the outskirts of Marietta standing beside a broken down rental car.  A few miles down the road lived the great-grandfather she’d never knew existed, and perhaps answers to questions she never expected to ask.

Who knew that stopping to ask for directions at a deliciously smelling chocolate shop could lead to an impromptu speed dating event, and perhaps the attention of a handsome cowboy.  Her first impression of Wes was of laughing, sparkling eyes and then a surprisingly comfortable feeling as they settled into the speed dating venue that was the latest event put on at the Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop.  Her visit to her great-grandfather just got a bit more interesting.

Sweet Home Cowboy is a charming romance of two unlikely people discovering slowly that they each make the other’s world a bit brighter, a bit more safe and comfortable.  I wouldn’t call their romance a grand passion, but a sweet settling in with that person you instinctively know is right for you.  We’ve known Judge Kingsley from almost the beginning of the series, even if we didn’t know his name back then.  Retired now, sorta since he still goes into court several days each week, the judge has become an old curmudgeon living in a beautiful but rundown home.  It’s as though time has stopped for him at some point, then life simply became a besides the point thing.  While his home is perfect for Halloween, it’s far from what Elena expected when she knocked on his door.  He certainly isn’t what she expected either.  As they discover a relationship between great-granddaughter and great-grandfather, Elena and the judge go through some interesting phases while her relationship with Wes is slowly growing into something more than simply a holiday flirtation.

The general thought that if we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat history is very true in Judge Kingsley’s case.  He is about to make the same mistake with Elena that he made with his grandson so many years ago.  Now would be a good time to change the past impulses into a more current acceptance of the decisions of his family.

I enjoyed Sweet Home Cowboy very much, there is a naturalness to Elena and Wes’ romance that is both comforting and an exciting adventure waiting to unfold.  It’s always fun to run into some of the residents of Marietta again, and this story was no exception to that enjoyment.  And the introduction or the re-introduction of Sandra into the judge’s life was a well played fun addition to the story proving that romance is indeed ageless.

I would recommend this story and all of the stories in this series to any Romance reader who enjoys a good, solid love story, a believable main couple with interesting secondary characters – as well as a sense of coming home once again, if you’re addicted to these series based in one wonderful small Montana town.

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

Available for the Kindle