When your first two loves are books and ice cream (not necessarily in that order!) who has time to fall for something else? Sadie Mayfield has gotten really good at admiring handsome men from afar… After all, it’s not like they’d be interested in her, would they? But when Shawn starts frequenting her ice cream and soda shop at River’s End Ranch, she sets out to become his friend.

Shawn McAllister—father, war vet, piano teacher—could use a friend. For years he’s shuffled his daughter Violet from place to place, trying to make ends meet, and hasn’t managed to maintain any sort of relationships. Here at River’s End Ranch he has a chance to settle down, but only if he can win the annual Chamber of Commerce contest on behalf of his new job.

But when he finds out that his new best friend has entered her shop in the same contest, he knows that he has a problem. And the even bigger problem is that he’s beginning to suspect being “just friends” with someone as special as Sadie isn’t going to work, either.

Titles in the River’s End Ranch series include:  Short-Order Sheriff by Kirsten Osbourne – Veterinarian’s Vacation by Pamela M. Kelley – Accidental Agent by Amelia C. Adams – Whitewater Wooing by Caroline Lee – Honest Horseman by Cindy Caldwell – Ranch’s Retreat by Kirsten Osbourne – Charming Chef by Pamela M. Kelley – Rugged Rockclimber by Amelia C. Adams – Wild West Wedding by Caroline Lee – Gallant Golfer by Cindy Caldwell – Bridget’s Beau by Kirsten Osbourne – Cute Cowboy by Pamela M Kelley – Welcome Wagon by Amelia C. Adams – Sarsaparilla Showdown by Caroline Lee – Mischievous Maid by Cindy Caldwell – Baker’s Bob by Kirsten Osbourne – Merry Manager by Pamela M. Kelley – Santa’s Shopkeeper by Amelia C. Adams – Blacksmith’s Beauty by Caroline Lee – Discovering Dani by Cindy Caldwell – Flyboy’s Fancy by Kirsten Osbourne –

Title:  Sarsaparilla Showdown
Series:  River’s End Ranch #14
Author:  Caroline Lee
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  March 12, 2017
My Rating:  4 stars

Sarsaparilla Showdown is such an emotional roller coaster of a romance – and I mean that in a good way.  It’s a story of loss and acceptance, despair and contentment, fear and hope.  I’m certain that we’ve all had times when we felt like Shawn, perhaps not to this degree.  But sometimes the simplest answer is that life sucks.  Things happen for reasons that make no sense.  And without something to fight for we stay at the bottom of our troubles without fighting.  Bad, tough things have happened to Shawn, and now he and his daughter, Violet, travel the country in their old RV staying in a town only until the work runs out.  Now they’ve found a place in Riston, Idaho on the River’s End Ranch property that might just give them more than a temporary home.  In order for that to happen, Shawn has to recreate the summer camp experience that once was part of the ranch’s activities.  He believes he can do that, and with the help of winning the prize money from the Chamber of Commerce’s business contest he’d have the publicity to make this project a true reality.  But first he has to win.

Sadie is happiest when she’s in her kitchen at her coffee and ice cream shop mixing up a new, unique batch of ice cream.  Or maybe with her nose buried in a book.  She’s spent most of her life concentrating on her business, she’s upbeat but quiet except around those she feels are friends.  And there is no special man in her life.  But there could be… if the handsome stranger who comes in for one cup of coffee every few days wold look up from his paperwork and notice her.

Sarsaparilla Showdown is a complex story with emotional moments to bring you to tears.  The story tackles some tough subjects with class and understanding.  Two people who the world has overlooked find exactly what they need in each other.  Yet Shawn has issues from his past that he must deal with in order to move on with Sadie.  This is the chance for Shawn and Violet to stop moving, stick in one place and create a family worth fighting for… if only Shawn can be brave enough to see the truth.  I liked this couple, I adored Violet.  It’s a story that will entertain and perhaps make you think for a moment about what is truly important in life.  And how fears can tie us down into a life that could be so much more.

Another excellent addition to the River’s End Ranch series.  I’d recommend this series for any Romance reader who loves falling into a series to the point where the characters become old friends.

I read this story through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Available for the Kindle