When a short life filled with emotional and physical abuse takes its toll on the teen aged Star, her beloved grandfather saves her by giving her means to escape the downward spiral her life was taking. Now thirteen years after changing her identity, continuing her education and now a business owner, Jess Alcott is getting ready for one of her best friend's wedding with a idyllic trip back to the Whisper Creek dude ranch in Montana, where both of her best friends have moved after finding the loves of their lives. A place where Jess feels at peace until her past threatens to drag her back to the trailer park she so desperately wished to leave forever.
Cole Driscoll never told anyone in his family he was accepted to university years ago. Family tragedies including the death of his only sister and his brother's departure from home made him out his life on hold. Now he wonders what it would be like to fulfill those dreams he had when he was fresh out of high school. Jess Alcott's reappearance makes him rethink those dreams and puts new ones into his head. This time, however, Jess is different somehow, she seems troubled and her demeanor guarded. Even with a dude ranch full of matchmakers trying to throw these two together at every turn, the secrets being kept threaten to keep them apart. Coming clean about her past may be more than she can handle, but if Jess can just open up to Cole, he could be her greatest ally.
And yes, we have need for tissues in Maggie McGinnis' third book, Once Upon a Cowboy (A Whisper Creek Novel). Jess clearly has risen above her awful past to become an upstanding person. She has done it on her own and lets few people in. Her best friends Kyla and Hayley give her strength to be who she is, but still she is missing the one thing to make her life complete. Finding out all of the wrong done in her previous life as Star makes one angry for her and admire her will. Her story is not for the feint of heart, she's had a tough life but she overcomes such adversity making Jess a solid and beloved heroine. Seemingly committed to single life, Cole seems more the player than he actually is and once his friends and family get involved, his single days are numbered. The handsome cowboy, Cole is protective of his own and as honorable as a cowboy should be. He is attuned to Jess and needs to nudge her into seeing that she is meant to be at Whisper Creek and meant to be with him.
Once Upon a Cowboy by Maggie McGinnis is a modern day fairy tale set in the West that will have you run a gamut of emotions before all is said and done. Ms. McGinnis once again leaves me in awe and cements her place at the top of my must read list.