Cover Image: On the Way to Us

On the Way to Us

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You can never go wrong with a book by Carolyn Brown. I read all of her books. She’s known for her cowboy books, but this is one of her women’s fiction. A great read. Mercy is quite a lady. Great secondary characters too

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This is one of those sweet and charming reads about life, family, romance. So easy to read I sat down and read it in a day. The characters are people you can relate to, the setting, being small country town charm really works and the story is just so enjoyable. Mercy and Hunter are perfect characters for this story.

The story built throughout, was a bit long but didn't feel it once you immersed yourself into the story. Enjoyable, entertaining, fun, romantic. An overall great read that will warm your heart.

Thank you NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Country charm and small town romance that is cozy entertainment by a gifted storyteller. On the Way to Us contains the title story and a second novella, Love Struck Café, to give readers double the pleasure.

On the Way to Us is retitled from the older version ‘An Old Love’s Shadow’ and offers a standalone romance about two people who have a fiery meet cute, a wariness about the attraction that builds up, and the patience to wait for a heroine to get out of her own way.

Mercy Spencer has been coasting through her own life for a few years now and her wake-up call happens on a two-week mission trip to a backwater place in Texas when she marches into a cantina and demands the sexy bartender turn down the jukebox so the church goers next door can hear themselves sing. Hunter Wilson is struck at once, but only gets his chance when he bumps into the fiery tall blond once again at a restaurant in Oklahoma.

Hunter’s got a past and has been hurt, but oddly, it’s Mercy who is more gun-shy and has the longer road of growing. She needs to get out of her bossy bestie’s shadow, learn her own mind about what she really wants to do, and get past the fear she has to put herself out there for love.

Hunter’s almost too good to be true the way he sticks to Mercy after she pumps the brakes and pushes him away before jumping to conclusions about him. He was sexy, patient, and mature and most of the reason I enjoyed this story. It ends well particularly when Mercy’s mom gives her the necessary boot up the butt, but Mercy was way too stubborn and I would have liked to see her at least apologize once she realized just how wrong she was.

So, I can’t say I loved the heroine, but the overall story and the hero were fabulous.

Love Struck Café is also a standalone, but it’s connected to the Spikes and Spurs series particularly the heroine in book two of that series. A Valentine holiday time frame for a low-angst, sweet love at first sight romance.

Flint Walker is lighting a shuck north away from the bitter memories of having to sell the family ranch when fate brings him to a screeching halt in sleepy Ringgold, TX at a diner with fab food and a help wanted sign in the window. Flint is taken with pretty cook-owner, Jasmine Thurman, and takes the advice of some old local ranchers to stick around a few days to check out a local sale property and take Jasmine up on her offer of room and board if he helps her out until her cousin and staff arrive to take over the Chicken Fried diner.

Jasmine was desperate and took in a handsome stranger who plans to move on. Three days later, she’s fighting her heart and her dreams that Flint will put down stakes and not go looking for a ranch to own up north.

This was love at first sight, but this pair took their time as friends, working partners, and then addressed the elephant in the room. Both were scared to believe in what seemed too good to be true and the way fate lined things up. A swoony country-fried romance that left me hungry for Jasmine’s cooking and envious for one of Flint’s fiery kisses.

So, the surprise of getting a pair of stories when I thought there was only one. The earthy, every day romance and characters was heartily appealing and draws me in each and every time to Carolyn Brown’s writing. Small Town Romance fans who like it sweet and sassy should give this one a go.

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Mercy and Hunter's initial encounter in a desert town is fraught with tension and misunderstandings. Mercy, reluctantly on a mission trip with her religious friend Jenny, finds herself annoyed by the town's conditions and Hunter's taunts. Despite their rocky start, Hunter, overseeing a cantina for a friend, is drawn to Mercy's beauty and determination. Despite objections from Jenny, Mercy decides to pursue a relationship with Hunter, challenging her friend's control over her life. Their budding romance faces obstacles from judgmental outsiders, testing their trust and feelings for each other. Eventually, after some soul-searching, they confront their issues and work towards a happy ending, despite initial reservations about each other.

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I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley

Man I love this author so much. I normally go for spicy books but her way of writing hits every heart string. Thank you so much I cried and laughed.

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loved this romance and how the journey stated and ended. loved the friends and all of the trials that they went through on the journey. loved the cast and i can't wait t read more.

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Mallory and Hunter first meet under unusual circumstances. When she sees him in a town near her hometown, she's surprised and excited to learn he owns a ranch nearby. They start dating but then his past comes to light and instead of letting him explain she refuses to give him time to get explain. Since her best friend moved out to get married and her job ends when the dental practice closes, she returns home to her parents.

She's saddened at not having Hunter in her life. When he shows up unexpectedly and her mother makes the decision to send her off on a weekend with him to work out their differences, she has mixed feelings. They talk about his past and agree to give a relationship another chance. After a few bumps along the road true live wins out and they're on the way to marriage.

A quick and fun read. Carolyn Brown never disappoints!

Although I received a free ARC ebook, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Jenny and Mercy are best friends and roommates. They also work together. Jennie wants to marry Kyle and become missionaries. Mercy likes to drink and party. So just like any friends would, they start to drift apart

They go on a trip to a desert place in extreme West Texas and stay in the hut where Jenny and Kyle are going to be living when they become missionaries. No air conditioning and Mercy hates being there . There is a cantina next door that was playing their music so loud they couldn't have church. So Mercy storms in complaining about the music. Then she meets Hunter

Loved this story and I think you will too.

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When Mercy meets Hunter they don't get off to a good start. But neither can get the other off their mind. This is a wonderful story about second chances. Wonderful characters and a HEA.

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EXCERPT: 'I'm never coming back here again,' Mercy said as they walked out of the one-room hut that was furnished with only the barest of necessities. Two cots, a broken mirror above an old table with a washbowl and pitcher, and a bathroom with a toilet and a makeshift shower.
Before they were halfway to the church, sweat was dripping off Mercy's face and running all the way down Mercy's neck to puddle up at the band of her bra. She pulled a paper towel from the pocket of her denim shorts and tried to stop the moisture at her forehead and upper lips, but it did very little good.
She waded through dust tornadoes that boiled up almost to her knees and vowed that she would never come back to this place.

ABOUT 'ON THE WAY TO US': He's a tempting heap of Texas trouble… Mercy Spenser promised her friend and roommate she'd spend her vacation in west Texas for a charitable mission―she didn't agree to the oppressive heat, massive spiders, or the rowdy cantina next door drowning out her gospel singing. She's not the type to sit idly by, so when she clashes with the sexy-as-hell man who runs the place, her temper is hot enough to nearly burn down the entire town. Despite refusing to turn down his jukebox and inviting Miss Mercy to leave his cantina alone, Hunter Wilson can't get that gospel singer with the ice-blue eyes out of his mind. Finding her again in their tiny town isn't the problem. Convincing her that he's interested―well, that's another story. But if Mercy will give Hunter one more chance to show his true feelings, they just might find the love of a lifetime.

MY THOUGHTS: Be still my beating heart! Not one, but two tall handsome cowboys to fall in love with! For there's not one, but two tempting novellas contained in On The Way To Us by Carolyn Brown. There is the title story as outlined above, PLUS Love Struck Cafe which I enjoyed even more than the title story. PLUS (but wait there's more!) the Kindle edition contains a 3-chapter teaser from The Sisters' Cafe. Sorry, but it's not included in the audio version.

Now before I start telling y'all how much I loved these stories, there is something just a little strange going on here. Because I had both the audio and Kindle versions I was swapping back and forth and in Love Struck Cafe, Flint (don't you just love that name!) is Flint Jackson in the Kindle edition and Flint Walker in the audiobook. 🤷‍♀️I'm not sure why this is so but, take it from me, it is. Moving on . . .

Both novellas have characters that are easy to love. Mercy can be little quick to fire up, but underneath her redheaded temper there is a warm and loving nature. And Hunter? Well, he is a strong man, but one who has had his heart broken more than once. Mercy is battling with her friends and family, all of whom want to marry her off to dull men. Her mother is the only person who seems to understand, and she takes matters into her own hands. I loved Mercy's mother!

In Love Struck Cafe, Flint Walker is putting as much distance between himself and his conniving cousins as he can, when a stray dog almost causes an accident, and he meets Jasmine - owner of the Chicken Fried Cafe. They are thrown together by circumstance, but will they stay together?

I really enjoyed both these romances. I loved the characters and found myself hoping for HEA endings. There's always a lot of humor in Carolyn Brown's writing, and the bathroom scene in On the Way to Us had me laughing with glee. Mercy sure doesn't show any mercy in her dealings with dishonest women.

One thing I really loved about these novellas was the way the author emphasized the importance of liking your partner as well as loving them - the need to be great friends as well as lovers.

Carolyn Brown is an autoread author for me, and I read everything of hers that I can get my hands on. If you like romances with feisty, strong women, this is a great read. Abigail Reno does a superb job of the narration of these novellas.


#OntheWaytoUsCarolynBrown #NetGalley

I: @carolynbrownbooks @sourcebookscasa

T: @thecarolynbrown #sourcebookscasablanca

THE AUTHOR: Hi! I'm twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can't trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who've made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He's even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio's box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it's about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn't changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter... all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I've touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it's brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there's enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I'm writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I'm telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Dreamscape Media via Netgalley for providing both a digital and an audio ARC of On the Way to Us by Carolyn Brown for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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Carolyn Brown is one of my authors that if she writes it I will be reading it!! This one didn't disappoint me at all. I absolutely loved the characters and the plot will keep you wanting more. I would HIGHLY recommend this book and all of her other books!!

Thank you NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca for allowing me to read this ARC early for my honest opinion.

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On the Way to Us by Carolyn Brown is a book that has some interesting but not always likable characters. I will admit first off that I had trouble with Mercy Spenser for most of the book. Her sass turned into snarkiness early on in the story. Her friend, Jenny, accused her of being “edgy, hateful, and mean.” I have to agree. Now the bartender, Hunter was a nicer sort of character. Him I liked especially as he chased after Mercy, though I didn’t exactly understand why. Just goes to show that there is someone for everyone. 3 Stars

Love Struck Café, the novella included in the book was much more to my liking. The characters bold, sassy but never mean-spirited. I had high hopes from the beginning that Flint would change his mind where he wanted to buy a ranch. This story gets a thumbs up from me. 4 Stars, so rounding the book set to 4 Stars.

An ARC of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley which I voluntarily chose to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I enjoyed reading about Mercy and Hunter's fun and fast-moving romance in Carolyn Brown's On the Way to Us. Also enjoyed the bonus novella The Love Struck Cafe in which Walker's journey North to find a ranch to buy took an unexpected turn at the Chicken Fried Cafe. Thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Casablanca and the author for the advance copy to read and review.

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Mercy and Hunter’s first meeting included lots of tension, angry words on her part and a fair amount of taunting on his. Both are in the small desert town on the behest of their friends. Mercy’s very religious friend and roommate, Jenny, badgered her into giving up her vacation time to come with her to help on this mission trip. She never mentioned the heat, abundance of dust or the bugs and spiders that have made Mercy very cranky and more difficult than normal. Her encounter with Hunter is just one more reason to dislike this town and vow never to serpent foot in it again.

Hunter is town to look after the cantina his friend owns and runs while he is on his honeymoon. When the tall blonde beauty comes into to the cantina to demand the jukebox music be lowered, he can’t help but admire her and rile her up a bit more just to see her eyes flash. The instant attraction to her is enough to send him looking for her weeks later after she has returned home. He owns a ranch not too far away from where she is living with Jenny. He manages to run into her in town, where she promptly dismisses him and runs off. Hunter is not to be deterred, and manages to finally get a chance to ask her out. Mercy is attracted to him, but her friend Jenny is badgering her once again to go out with the man she has deemed suitable for Mercy. Unfortunately, for Jenny, Mercy has finally realized that she has let her friend have too much control over her life and allowed her to preach to and at her for far too long. Mercy makes the decision to go out with Hunter, who has sparked feelings she has never experienced before, despite the objections of her friend or anyone else.

Mercy and Hunter both have to deal with those who feel they have a right to object to, interfere in or judge their relationship. Their trust and their deepening feelings are tested time and again. After weeks of misery, Hunter makes up his mind to hash everything out with Mercy so that they can decide together which direction they want their relationship to go in the future. Thankfully, he is helped by someone on their side to give Mercy a hard nudge in his direction.

Their story is entertaining, a bit twisty, filled with a fair bit of angst and requires both Mercy and Hunter to do some soul searching. I wasn’t sure I liked either of them at first, but that soon changed and I began to cheer them on to a happily ever after.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

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ON THE WAY TO US – Carolyn Brown
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 978-1728280059
December 12, 2023
Contemporary Romance

Texas & Oklahoma – Present Day

Mercy Spenser is helping out her friend in West Texas at a charitable mission when one day the music from the cantina next door gets too loud to hear over the church singing. Mercy marches over to the cantina and demands to the man in charge that he must turn the music down. He introduces himself as Hunter Wilson and only smirks at her in response. After a brief standoff, he finally agrees, and it is then that they both realize there are some sparks flying between them. Mercy wouldn’t mind getting to know Hunter, but her friend is appalled that she would even think about hanging around a sinner like Hunter. Mercy soon leaves to return home.

Hunter can’t get Mercy out of his mind, so he does some searching and finds her in her hometown in Oklahoma. The sparks continue to fly and though Mercy likes Hunter, she is told by her friends that he is all wrong for her. Too bad her heart doesn’t feel the same way. Thus begins a courtship between them that is on, then off, then back on. Too many outside forces see Mercy and Hunter as being wrong for each other, but they can’t ever seem to totally quit the other.

ON THE WAY TO US is a cute little story with some funny scenes thrown in. Mercy and Hunter are instantly attracted to each other, but she can’t believe that he is as good as he claims to be. Turns out that Hunter was only helping a friend at the cantina, and his real home is on a Texas ranch. Hunter hides the fact that he is rich for fear of attracting gold diggers. But once Mercy realizes it, she doesn’t care. She is more concerned about why the female vultures keep trying to warn her off from Hunter. In this tale, they go back and forth over whether they are going to date. He is persistent, and she would rather see him, even if it means losing the friendship of her best friend.

Who will win in the end in ON THE WAY TO US as Mercy and Hunter battle their feelings for each other? There are plenty of faith-based leanings in this tale, but Mercy isn’t a virgin. If she likes a man, she isn’t holding out for marriage. But in the end, their faith in each other will decide their future. An intriguing tale that is both fun and dramatic, don’t miss grabbing a copy of ON THE WAY TO US.

Patti Fischer
Romance Reviews Today

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I've seen Carolyn Brown's name on so many books over the years, but - dare I say it? - this is the first book I've read by her. Not sure why I haven't picked one of hers up before. I think I will be reading more. There are really two books in this: On the Way to Us and following it is Love Struck Cafe. I enjoyed them both.

He's a tempting heap of Texas trouble… Mercy Spenser promised her friend and roommate she'd spend her vacation in west Texas for a charitable mission―she didn't agree to the oppressive heat, massive spiders, or the rowdy cantina next door drowning out her gospel singing. She's not the type to sit idly by, so when she clashes with the sexy-as-hell man who runs the place, her temper is hot enough to nearly burn down the entire town. Despite refusing to turn down his jukebox and inviting Miss Mercy to leave his cantina alone, Hunter Wilson can't get that gospel singer with the ice-blue eyes out of his mind. Finding her again in their tiny town isn't the problem. Convincing her that he's interested―well, that's another story. But if Mercy will give Hunter one more chance to show his true feelings, they just might find the love of a lifetime.

My Thoughts:
Romance is not usually my go-to genre in books, but I do enjoy one every once in awhile. Both of the books here were good ones.

In On the Way to Us, ot, hansome Hunter and spunky, fierce Mercy make good character leads in this one. Hunter has a few secrets that need to be spilled. The book was a quick read with an absorbing storyline that kept my attention. The plot moved quickly and gave me a smile.

The Love Struck Cafe was another romance, but with a different plot. In this heartwarming tale, Walker was just passing through on his way north to buy a ranch when he stopped a the Chicken Fried Cafe (what a name!) where he met Jasmine, the owner. What proceeded after just seemed like fate (all a little too convenient, but it worked). Walker's plans from that point on changed drastically.

I liked the romance and the author's prose, so I will likely be reading more of her books. Thanks toSourcebooks Casablanca through Netgalley for an advance copy.

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This is a fun novel about friendship and the growing pains that come with that & finding love at the most unexpected time!

Mercy and Jenny have been best friends since college. They work together. They go to church together. They're roommates. Eventually, life will start coming in between friends who are together all the time, especially when life sets them on two different paths.

Jenny is holier than thou while Mercy is a tell it like it is. Jenny thinks she knows what's best for everybody else and lets everyone know it. She gets mad when people don't do as she insists. It's only after she becomes newlywed and leaves home to become a missionary with her new husband that she really finds out life isn't always what it seems.

I enjoyed the riff raff between Mercy and Jenny and the banter between Mercy and Hunter. Mercy meets Hunter in a Cantina while helping Jenny with a Bible school but never expects to see him again. Hunter had other plans. He tracks her down and works hard for a date with her.

This book was just a feel-good story that is short and perfect to uplift your mood.

Thank you, Netgalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca, for the e-ARC.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I badly needed a soothing comforting read after being passed over for a reviewer influencer group. I was completely bummed.
Reading On the Way to Us and the bonus novella hit the spot.
Brown creates such dear characters that I really want to go live in her books.
Hunter is a hunk of yumminess and I loved how determined he was to catch Mercy. Jenny was Ms. pious and insufferable.
The two quotes that stand out are “money is just dirty paper with dead presidents on them and get your flirting’ britches on.”
Flint Walker in the novella reminded me of Clint Walker from the old tv show Cheyenne so that’s how I envisioned him.
Nothing like reading CB to chase the blues away.

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I am a HUGE Carolyn Brown fan! This book did not disappoint! Her characters are great, and she spins such a fun-loving story. I loved this story the reversal of some characters and things that happen. The love story pulls me in and makes me root for it all the way through.

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Mercy Spenser is spending her vacation in west Texas doing missionary work with her best friend. She is not enjoying her time in this town. When the music from the cantina is too loud, she goes over to tell them to turn it down. Hunter Wilson is running the cantina for his friend who is out of town. Hunter is instantly smitten with her and tries to get to know her, and she is not interested.
When she returns to her hometown her BFF lets her know she is getting married asap. This means she will need a new roommate. Her BFF also is very religious and doesn't approve of the time she spent with Hunter in west Texas. After returning to his home he runs into Mercy at a local eatery. She is not interested in a relationship with him. He manages to follow her back to her hometown and finds out more about her. He shows up at her church and they spend the day together; Hunter is hiding secrets and when she finds out she dumps him. Can they finally find their way to true love.

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