In Last Years Bride by Anne McAllister, Cole has the weight of the world on his shoulders as he struggles to keep his family ranch running. It's a lonely existence, but work on the ranch is his life. There is no room for anyone else, especially a woman who will eventually leave anyway. He's seen that happen before.
That's part of the reason why no one knows that Cole is actually married. In Reno 10 months ago, he hooked up with Nell...things were hot and heavy, and happening fast. Before he could doubt himself, they were married. Her job and his wish have kept her away from Marietta. Cole has himself convinced that this is best for them both, that the marriage was a mistake. As heavy as his heart is without her and as much as he can't stop thinking about her, he sends her divorce papers to sign.
But Nell is not giving in without a fight, and when the reality TV show she's directing ends up in not only Marietta but on the ranch, Cole's life is about to become much more interesting! The harder he tries to push Nell away, the closer she becomes. He is determined that ranch life is not for a city girl like her, Nell is determined that where ever he is is good for her. They both admit to loving the other, but Cole just can't let Nell all the way in. When the distant past is brought to light and a current family health scare, Will begins to see how wrong he is. Can he be true to both of them and trust in not only himself but in Nell? Or has he Cole finally push Nell too far?
Last Year's Bride is a fun, fast paced romantic novella with well written conflict and strongly developed characters that you will really care for. Cole is strong and loyal. On the outside he's gruff, but inside he hides a hurting heart. He thinks he's protecting himself and Nell by trying to get her to do what he thinks is right, no matter how much he really wants to be with her. Nell is also strong, and she is very determined! She knows Cole is worth it and she's going to fight for their marriage. I loved both of these people. Anne really brings out the best in both of them with her writing. I really enjoyed all of the secondary characters too...from Cole's family to the film crew, to 'the talent'. They have a lot to offer to round out Cole and Nell's story.
With the strong emotions Anne evokes with her writing, she draws you in quickly and keeps you there for the romantic journey. I loved the setting of the ranch for Last Year's Bride. With her descriptions and easy flow of words, Anne brings Cole and his ranch to life. Last Years Bride is the perfect title for the story! This is one of a series of the Montana Born Bride Books, but it can definitely be read as a stand alone.
Any romance reader looking for a novella that will give you all you want in a small town romance will love Last Years Bride!