Thank you for joining in the book tour for Her Surprise Cowboy!
Are you ready for a springtime romance? The hills around the Northern California town of Shelter Creek are green and lush. The staff at the Shelter Creek Wildlife Center is busy rescuing baby bunnies and a cute fox. And Trisha Gilbert, a single mother who works at the center, is enjoying the good weather and more time outdoors with her baby son, Henry. . .
Liam and Trisha meet!
That night with Trisha had somehow saved his life. And now she was here. It was almost impossible to comprehend, but when he blinked and looked again, there she was, staring at him with an expression that resembled horror.
Liam glanced around to see Jace and Vivian watching him with quizzical expressions on their faces. How long had he been standing here, lost in memories?
Trisha was so still, she looked like she’d quit breathing. Liam pulled air into his lungs in silent sympathy. “Trisha.” It wasn’t much, but it was all he could manage.
“Claire McEwen gives readers and education in wildlife management and welcomes them into the wild beauty of the Northern California landscape. From the friendships to the meddling of the book biddies to the romance, it’s the people of Shelter Creek that leave their mark.”
In this excerpt from Her Surprise Cowboy, Trisha is trying to avoid Liam after she spots him in the grocery store.
Trisha hadn’t expected her first step to happen so soon. She wasn’t ready. Her emotions had been rubbed so raw during her conversation with Becca that the moment she spotted Liam in the Shelter Creek Market, she almost burst into tears.
That was why she was hiding behind the potato chip display, waiting for him to finish choosing milk in the dairy section. Trisha peered around the corner again. How could anyone take so long picking out a carton of milk? She pretended to examine the ingredients on a potato chip package while she waited, heart thrumming hard in her veins.
“No matter how long you stare at those, they’re not going to get healthy.”
“. . . well written and a fun read for relaxing. The characters are well-defined and seem so real. There is slight humor and serious, plus fun, situations.” – LAWonder10
“This is a wonderful story. I love the way Liam and Trisha find each other again. . . . The characters are well-developed and it is easy to feel their emotions. . . . I highly recommend this story to others who enjoy great relationships and learning new things.” – Vickie
“Author Claire McEwen does a really nice job of weaving the past together with the present in a way that readers can connect. And since I have only read one of the previous books in this series, I was able to keep up with the characters and the plot with no problem. . . . This is a sweet story of forgiveness and a chance at life neither of them expected. If you love sweet Heartwarming drama, this is a great one for you.”
“It is always interesting when a father comes home to a child. Even more so when he is surprised to be a dad. I really like this series because the author weaves in the characters from previous books in the series, even the non human ones. . . . I can not wait to read more from this series and author.”
“It has been a while since I have read a romance, and Her Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwen is perfect. The characters are well developed, and the story came together fabulously. I loved the ending. All in all, my rating is five stars. I highly recommend this to all readers of sweet romance.”
“Her Surprise Cowboy was such a fun “surprise daddy” story! . . . I loved the changes that occurred in both Trisha and Liam throughout the novel as they learned to trust each other and opened their hearts to love.
Even though this is book three in the series, readers should have no trouble jumping into this wonderful cast of characters and beautiful setting.”
Trisha bumps into Liam at the grocery store.
Trisha set her shopping basket down and went to retrieve Liam’s basket from where it lay on its side. She collected the cans that had flown out. “You have a dog?” She waggled the can of dog food she’d just found.
“Yup.” He was looking at her with such a serious expression that Trisha braced herself. Did he know about Henry already? He was still standing in the milk. He gingerly stepped out of the puddle, onto dry linoleum.
“I’m truly sorry I bumped into you.” She needed to leave, to get away from his hazel eyes, and the way he was studying her so carefully. It was disconcerting how familiar his face was. There was the curve of his lower lip, the faint stubble blurring the line of his jaw, the thick lashes and tousled curly brown hair. She remembered, suddenly, how soft it had felt under her fingers. Yet he was a complete stranger.
“Her Surprise Cowboy is a sweet story of love and family, truth and secrets, ranching and wildlife. It proved a pleasure to spend time in Northern California with Trisha and Liam as their complicated romance unfolded; I enjoyed it immensely—I’m sure other readers of contemporary-cowboy romances will enjoy it, too.”
“Her Surprise Cowboy is a book that I found very interesting. I loved the place that Trisha work at that took care of the wild animals. Especially the part about the coyotes. . . . I also enjoyed the Book Group called Book Biddies that were all friends of Trisha. They were so much fun and cared for Henry and Trisha.”
“This was a delightful romance of two people learning from their biggest mistakes and embracing life and who they have become due to them.”
Liam talks with Monique, local hairdresser and member of Shelter Creek’s Book Biddies, about the baby son he’s just learned about the night before.
Liam was petting Ranger’s head and pondering a tree when the unfamiliar woman sat herself right down on his tailgate.
“That’s a pretty nice tree,” the bleached-blonde lady said as she sat down. “A coast live oak. I love their twisting silver trunks. This one must be a few hundred years old.
Startled by her presence, Liam scooted over to make more space for her. “I was just thinking that. How much it’s seen. All the weather and people’s lives…” Liam realized he was revealing his inner thoughts to a total stranger. “I’m sorry, I guess you caught me in a strange mood. What can I do for you?”
Liam visits Tricia and Henry for the first time.
Liam folded his big frame to sit cross-legged. He seemed to take up most of the space in the living room. He set up some of Henry’s blocks close to him. Henry crawled over and waved a pudgy arm to knock them down. Then the baby took a block and put it in his mouth. “I’m not sure that’s for eating, big guy.”
“It’s okay for now. I’ll get his teething ring back out of the freezer in a few minutes.”
Liam glanced at her ruefully. “I didn’t even know they got teeth this young. I have a lot to learn.”
“Her Surprise Cowboy is a sweet & tender romance with layered characters and a heartwarming subplot, particularly if you are interested in wildlife rescue. Watching Liam embrace the role of “daddy” is as swoony and endearing as you might expect, and so is the romance between Liam & Trisha. A story that draws you in, characters that capture your heart, and just the right amount of humor and warmth.”
“There is a certain layer of joy in reading a story about second chance romance . . . McEwen has such a wonderful way of tucking you into her character’s lives and giving you a reason to take up residence beside them as [they’re] working out their problems. Although the circumstances within Her Surprise Cowboy aren’t ideal they are realistic and it is how she showed the willingness to grow and the ability to right wrongs is what rooted me in the pages of the novel – whilst having this beautiful community of Shelter Creek fully represented and present.”
“5 Teacups filled to the brim for Claire McEwen’s Sweet, country, western romance Her Surprise Cowboy! If you love a good western and a good Hallmark movie, then this is the book for you! I absolutely fell in love with the characters in this amazing tale . . .”
Trisha and Liam go on their first family outing
Trisha went to put Henry in the stroller, but Liam held out his arms. “Can I carry him for a bit?”
She hesitated, anxiety whispering vague warnings in her ears. “Well, I guess. Just watch your step.”
He shot her an amused look. “I’m fairly good at walking.”
“I know, I’m just—” she sighed, hating to admit it “—overprotective. Everyone teases me about it. Maya, Vivian, all the ladies in my book club.”
She set Henry carefully in Liam’s hands and he nestled Henry on his hip, his arms around him, just like she carried him. At least he’d been watching her. He was trying.
“Her Surprise Cowboy is a wonderfully written contemporary romance about forgiveness, fresh starts, starting over and rebuilding trust that is sure to bring a tear to even the most cynical of eyes. Claire McEwen imbues her story with plenty of hope, warmth and heart and has penned a love story that will lift the spirit and make readers smile. . . . A first class romance that will steal readers’ hearts, Her Surprise Cowboy is a terrific page-turner by Claire McEwen.”
This story was a joy and a challenge to write. It’s a big emotional mix of wildlife and ranching and what happens when the two intersect. It’s also a story of forgiveness and healing and, of course, love, in all its forms. I hope you enjoy the excerpts and reviews, and the chance to meet the characters, human and otherwise, who live in the Northern California ranching town of Shelter Creek. . .
Except lately the mountain lions in this area had been attacking livestock on local ranches. And people definitely noticed that.
That was why Maya was here, in the coastal hills surrounding her hometown of Shelter Creek, on a two-month assignment for the Department of Wildlife. She was going to try to find pumas. Photograph them. Count and classify them. Assess the population’s overall health and figure out why they were eating so many sheep.
“Reunited with the Cowboy was a really good story. . . . The author did a great job of weaving in the mountain lion and ranching details to create a very interesting setting. . . . I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more books in this series.”
“This is a, somewhat predictable drama, but very well-written, with a couple of interesting “twists”. The reader is sure to “fall in love” with the characters. The background scenes are also portrayed in a way it is easy to visualize.”
Clawing her way out of the confining straps, Maya jumped to her feet, groped for her safety whistle and blew hard. The shrill sound sliced open the night.
Pepper spray. It was in her belt. Wrenching it from the holster, Maya held out the can and slowly backed away from the dark shadow emerging from the bushes.
“Hang on! It’s okay!”
The unexpected voice stopped her in an instant. It wasn’t a mountain lion. It was a man.
“Reunited With the Cowboy is definitely a heartwarming story. As I have come to expect from Harlequin Heartwarming books, it balances great humor with all the emotion that must come with tragedy and dealing with the past. Add in a delightful cast of characters (human and animal alike), and it’s a story that fans of contemporary romance should not skip. I really enjoyed it and look forward to McEwan’s next story.”
“This is a story of love and forgiveness that left me choked up at times and also was a feel-good kind of story as everyone comes together to make positive changes in their lives and in the community. I especially love the Book Biddies and can only hope to aspire to be like them one day. I really enjoyed watching all of the characters grow. . . . This was my first Claire McEwen book, and it definitely will not be my last. I am looking forward to the next installment in the series.”
The man stepped slowly onto the trail from some low bushes, where he must have been hiding. In the dim moonlight he was a dark shadow. Maya could see the outline of his cowboy hat, but not much else about him. Except in one hand, he held…a rifle.
Maya froze—the gun changing everything.
“It’s okay.” The man’s voice was low and steady, like he was trying to be reassuring. “I’m sorry if I scared you.”
“I thought the novel was a nice cozy read. I love the Old Biddies and felt that they were the best part of the book. I like the themes of redemption and how Maya used a bad experience to become a better person. She used all the “bad energy” to do something with her life.”
She couldn’t move the light. Didn’t know if she’d ever move anything again, because now she could see his face, and it was Caleb. Caleb Dunne.
A metallic taste coated her tongue, and she swallowed hard. Both of her knees were shaking now, and the flashlight beam quivered with her trembling hand as if her entire body was rebelling at the sight of him. Rebelling against this homecoming, which was already turning into the disaster she’d always assumed it would be.
She had to lower the light. It was wrong to keep blinding him. But if she lowered it, he’d realize who she was. And Maya already knew what his reaction would be. Rage. Disgust. Horror. Because she was the last person Caleb would want to meet on this trail, or anywhere else.
“[I] enjoyed the story and characters. It was nice to see both of them come to terms with what happened and try to work together to make the right things happen. A clean romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat.”
“Reunited With the Cowboy is both entertaining and emotional with vivid and likable characters (both the 2-legged and 4-legged varieties). The perspective of respect for ranchers protecting their animals as well as for the predators trying to survive is thoughtfully presented and educational (without distracting too much from the plot). Additionally, a host of intriguing secondary characters with potential stories has me eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series!”
“”McEwen has put a lot of growth into the novel – from the perspective of her leading characters but also from the supporting cast. . . . I appreciated how McEwen wrote this story – as she’s taken a lot of realistic real world situations and beautifully crafted them into the background of the series she’s written with such a heart of purpose that you can’t wait to read the next installment!”
“I love the redemption in this story. . . . Throughout Reunited with the Cowboy Maya and Caleb learn to get past the demons that haunt them but will they rekindle the love they once had?
Claire McEwen has written an emotional novel but she has also included what appears to be accurate scientific information about pumas/mountain lions. I love it when I can learn something in a novel.”
For a split second Caleb wondered if Maya was actually real. Still as prey, with moonlight painting shadows around her eyes, she was almost ghostlike. Fitting, since she’d haunted him for all these years.
His hands had become fists, and he carefully unclenched them, trying to fathom her presence on this trail. “Why are you here?” It came out in a hoarse whisper.
“Sometimes you start reading a series romance – expecting it to be good in the ordinary way – only to discover that you hold a gem in your hands. Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwen is a romance with emotion, complexity, and rich characterization. I was caught up from the very first page and enjoyed this engaging story.”
He caught the edge of frustration in her voice. He was being a jerk, but maybe that was okay if it would help keep her from coming out to his property. He didn’t want time with her. Didn’t want to face everything he’d lost when he’d told her to leave. “We shouldn’t even be around each other.”
“Trust me—I was hoping to avoid you. But here we are.” She gestured around them, at the trail, at the night, in a sort of helpless way. Like their meeting was a fate she didn’t want but had already accepted.
“Looks like Miss McEwen has earned herself a new fan. I would love to read her other books and I can not wait to find out what happens in the next installment from the Heroes of Shelter Creek series. I recommend this book for readers who love to read clean and heartwarming Cowboy romances.”
“A sweet love story that will leave you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next.
This is a great read with forgiveness and a light (hope) at the end of all the hurt and anger that our two favorite characters are going through. . . . This is a wonderful tale about 2nd chances.”
Dex always said that Caleb lived in the past, and maybe that was true. So far the present hadn’t shown him much to get excited about.
Except now Maya was back. Though that wasn’t exciting. It was so many feelings, he didn’t even have words for them all. The combination was irritating, like a horsefly that kept buzzing around his head no matter how many times he slapped it away.
“In Reunited with the Cowboy, Claire McEwen crafts a story of grief, growth, and forgiveness. . . . McEwen combines a swoon-worthy romance with some humor . . . I’m looking at you Jace and Trisha. Here’s hoping another trip to Shelter Creek is coming soon.”
A green pickup was parked alongside the barn, and Caleb tried to steady his thoughts. He had to keep his cool with her. He’d show her the permit he’d shoved in his jacket pocket before he left the house just now. She’d lecture. He’d pretend to listen. Then she’d be gone, out of his life again. It was all pretty simple, as long as he kept his mouth shut and nodded a bunch.
A small squeak behind him had him turning to see Hobo trotting up, his green eyes meeting Caleb’s in cat-concern. The cat trailed after Caleb most of the time. He’d even taken to riding on Caleb’s shoulder while Caleb worked around the barn. Which was kind of cute, though it had Caleb worrying that he was turning into the male equivalent of a lonely cat lady. But mostly he was just glad to have the company.
“This was another page turner in the Heartwarming line dealing with heavier topics and there was a little more language. Overall I liked this story and watching the growth of Caleb and Maya and their reconciliation was sweet to witness. I look forward to more of author McEwen stories.”
“I loved her grandmother. She and some other ladies have a book club. They called it the Book Biddies. Those ladies bought so much to the story.”
“Overall, I loved Reunited with the Cowboy, the story moves a perfect pace, the characters are compelling and Ms. McEwen is a skillful storyteller. I look forward to reading more of her work.”
“Why don’t you just tell me what to do? Don’t you have some literature or something you can give me?” He didn’t want to spend more time with her. Didn’t want to see the way the growing sunlight lit up strands of gold in her hair. Didn’t want to think about how no other woman had caught his attention for long, since her.
Except part of him, that boy he’d been when he’d loved her, did want her here. It was ridiculous. Some ancient fantasy of happily-ever-after that his brain was revisiting.
“This book is about redemption and forgiveness. Maya is looking for redemption and forgiveness for something that she really didn’t do and Caleb is looking for redemption in his treatment of Maya all those years ago. And maybe some forgiveness, too. These two had a lot to do go through before they could even see eye to eye about their relationship. I loved that Ms. McEwen didn’t make it easy for either one of them.
I really enjoyed Maya and Caleb and I hope to see them again. I really go into Maya’s research on them and I would like an update on the center in later books. Again, give this line a chance. You won’t be disappointed.”
“Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwen is an excellent book, and I loved the characters, the quirky sides, the setting, and all the information packed into it about the mountain lions. I’m giving it a five-star review. I’m also recommending it to all the Romance readers out there.”
She backed a few steps away from him and swiped at her wet cheeks with her sleeve. “I’m not shying away from the blame. Believe me, I carry more guilt and regret than you can ever imagine, every single day of my life. But maybe it’s time you were honest about your part in it. And about Julie’s part. Her actions helped cause that car accident.”
“Go.” It came out like a growl from somewhere deep and raw in Caleb’s chest. She was hacking at bone with her words, excavating pain he’d buried deep for a reason. “This isn’t going to work, you and me. It could never work. You want to leave me something to read about managing wildlife? Fine. But don’t come back here, trying to tell me how to run my ranch. Or how to remember my sister.”
“Hello, Mrs. Burton.”
“You always called me Lillian, so please don’t get all formal on me now.”
One side of Caleb’s mouth curled in a half smile that took Maya by surprise. She’d only seen him looking stern, hungover and miserable. That piece of a smile was a shimmering reminder of all the times he’d smiled at her. Except he’d been smiling at Grandma, and it was gone now, as he turned to his aunt. “You told me you wanted to meet for dinner. Then you talked me into this meeting instead. How about you and I go get that food now?”
“Reading Reunited with the Cowboy by Clause McEwen felt like watching a romance TV series. I loved seeing all of the different stories pulling together, especially the romance. It was filled with life’s hard times, community love, and sweet romance.”
She can save his ranch…
But can he forgive her?
Maya Burton knows she’s the last person rancher Caleb Dunne wants to see. After all, she survived the crash that killed his sister, and then left town. Now she has to convince the stubborn cowboy that she can help him save his ranch. But once she earns his trust—and his heart—will she be able to walk away?