my only sunshineRating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Battered, bruised, and abandoned, Tanner Wallis has been living day to day for the past few weeks hoping each day will not be his last. Tanner’s bad luck proves consistent when he shows up at his cousins’ ranch in Wyoming only to find they had moved. When Tanner witnesses a senseless and brutal animal slaughter, he pushes his broken body to try and save the animal only to arrive too late.

Mason Siedel returned to his family’s ranch reluctantly. Taking care of the father that kicked him out ten years ago after a stroke isn’t how he saw his life playing out. But when his sister called and asked for help, he couldn’t say no. Needing time away from the house, from his father, Mason took a turn to watch over the herd overnight only to discover a battered man at the site of a slaughtered heifer.

Discovering Tanner was not a suspect but a witness to the murder of Mason’s cattle was not really that big of a surprise. The young man could barely walk, much less do that kind of damage. In the light of day, Mason finds compassion when Tanner asks to say on at the ranch to help. Unable to pay Tanner due to a failing ranch that his father single-handedly ran, Mason gives Tanner a place to sleep and work until he can figure out what to do next.

Weeks working together fuel their attraction to one another, but no matter what Mason feels for Tanner, he has done his best to resist him out of respect for his father. When he can resist no longer, Mason and Tanner make an agreement to only be together behind closed doors, where no one will know, so that word would not get back to his father or sister. What starts out as a friends-with-benefits arrangement turns into a relationship with actual feelings involved. But when tragedy strikes, it threatens to take Mason and Tanner down with it.

It’s no secret how much I love cowboys…I mean cowboy stories. Okay, cowboys, too. That’s what attracted me to this book, after I saw the cover. And I’m glad that I sat down and read this one. My Only Sunshine is a very sweet, angsty story of two broken men who find healing in one another.  There are some slightly cheesy parts and a bit of overly saccharin sweetness, but overall this story was very enjoyable.

So, what I like so much about this story is the conflict that is prevalent throughout this book – between Mason and his father, Mason and his sister, Mason and Tanner, Tanner and his family, Tanner and his ex, Mason and the town, the ranch and the cattle killers, even Mason with himself, and Tanner with himself. This story is definitely one of conflict, compromise, and healing. What I like so much about the conflict between Mason and his father is that it remains true to the end. It’s not a sweet and easy fix; it’s not a fix at all. It’s painful and heartbreaking, but gives this story so much to grow on. Because of that conflict, Mason is able to find healing and forgiveness for himself. It’s quite beautiful and poignant.

Of course, I adore these men. Tanner is broken, but determined. He has a quiet strength to move on and be the man he knows he can be, even if life keeps trying to knock him down. He’s tough and soft at the same time. Then there’s Mason. Mason is hurt and jaded. But he has a strong sense of family and craves approval from his father, the one man who will never give that approval. He’s broken as well, and so sad. His only saving grace is the arrival of Tanner. And their relationship is sweet.

Like I said, there are some points in this book that are too sweet and some that are just too cheesy. In particular, the nickname “Sunshine” and the overabundance of its use was a little grating. I also wanted more closure to the story between Corey and Tanner. I felt that it was a big part of this story and who Tanner had become, and it was settled with like three paragraphs at the end of the book.

But overall, My Only Sunshine was quite enjoyable. I love the ranch and the cowboys. I adore Tanner and Mason. And the story/conflict was very involved and worked out well. Even with the occasional cheesy parts and overly sweet portions and the attempt at closure for Tanner and Corey, I still enjoyed the story and the characters so much. I recommend My Only Sunshine by Rowan McAllister.

Cover: This cover art by L.C. Chase is perfect for the story – the scar, the thoughtfulness, the beauty. I love it!

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