Skip to product information
1 of 5

Slow Ride Home: A Mature-Age Christian Romance (A Sunburned Land Series Book 3) eBook edition

Slow Ride Home: A Mature-Age Christian Romance (A Sunburned Land Series Book 3) eBook edition

Heartwarming Christian Romance

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ over 600 five star reviews

Regular price $5.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $5.99 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Purchase the E-Book/Audiobook instantly
  • Receive download link from Bookfunnel via email
  • Send to preferred E Reader and start reading or listening!


  • Purchase Paperback (some paperbacks can only be mailed to US Addresses)
  • Receive Confirmation of Order
  • Paperbacks are shipped within 7 business days


He’s a cowboy who’s lost his way. She’s a daughter who’s lost her home.

Joshua Goddard has lived in the shadow of his father and brother all his life. He wants more from life than simply taking tourists on overnight cattle drives.
Stella Martin has done her best to keep her family’s cattle station afloat, but the bank has had enough and her parents have given up.
However, Indigo Downs is her home and she’ll do what she can to get it back. Even if it means taking a job at Goddard Downs.
She won’t lose her heart to Joshua Goddard, the good-looking cowboy she met at the rodeo. He’s no good for her. He doesn’t share her faith. It can’t work.
But maybe it can… if he would only allow God to heal his deep-seated hurts, maybe they can both find the love they’ve been searching for.
Slow Ride Home is Book Four in the Sunburned Land Series, a contemporary Christian romance set in the beautiful, rugged and remote Kimberley area of northern Australia.

A cowboy who’s lost his way. A daughter who’s lost her home.

Longing for more than just leading cattle drives, Joshua Goddard struggles with family expectations. Meanwhile, Stella Martin, determined to save her family's failing cattle station, Indigo Downs, takes a job at Goddard Downs, vowing not to fall for the charming Joshua. Their potential romance hinges on Joshua's willingness to confront his past and embrace faith, offering a chance for both to find love.

Slow Ride Home is Book Three in the Sunburned Land Series, a contemporary Christian romance set in the beautiful, rugged and remote Kimberley area of northern Australia. 

Chapter One - Look Inside

There was nothing like Goddard Downs at dusk. Vibrant reds, oranges and yellows gave way to deep blues and purples as the clouds reflected the light of the disappearing sun. It was a sight Joshua Goddard knew well. One he’d taken pleasure in for as long as he could remember. Watching the sun set with his mother had been one of his favourite pastimes. But not tonight. Tonight, the once sweet sight filled him with bitterness.
The only sure thing in life was change, his mother used to say. However, that didn’t make change any easier. Life was constantly making choices for him, removing him from the equation while expecting him to accept the consequences of choices he had no part in making. He didn’t ask for his mother to die, or for his father to marry a woman he didn’t know. He’d taken no part in his older brother, Julian, becoming head over the cattle station, yet, he was expected to be the dutiful son and accept everything in his stride. But how could he when it meant his life was not his own?
His mum would have understood. She always understood, but she was no longer there. She hadn’t been for years, and no matter how many passed, it still didn’t seem real that she was no longer alive.
“What are you thinking about?” his cousin, Sean, questioned as he brought his horse to a stop alongside Joshua’s.
Sean’s reputation was less than stellar. Everyone knew it. Unlike others, however, Joshua was willing to overlook his faults. Sean had some good qualities, though they were often difficult to appreciate.
Joshua leaned forward in his saddle, crossing his hands casually over the horn. “Nothing important. Just remembering.”
Sean grinned. “Something good?”
Joshua pondered the question. The expansive sky over Goddard Downs once filled him with wonder, but lately, it had been losing its lustre in his eyes. He exhaled a deep breath. “Once.”
“Don’t worry, mate. Soon, you and I will be out of here and the wide-open world will be at our feet. No more restrictions or Julian looking over our shoulders. We’ll be our own men again like we were in Alice Springs.” He thwacked Joshua’s chest with the back of his hand.
Joshua chuckled. He remembered that trip. One week had quickly turned into three for him and Sean as they enjoyed everything the rodeo had to offer. Sean was there for the women and parties, while Joshua had basically gone along for the ride. Until he met a girl who’d made his time there more memorable than he could ever have imagined. A grin spread across his face at the memory of the gorgeous blonde who’d wound her way around his heart.
“See, what did I tell you? That smile alone assures me you’d rather be anywhere than here. Who wouldn’t? This place is dullsville compared to rodeo life. Excitement every day. Notoriety. Not to mention the ladies.” Sean smirked mischievously. He didn’t only think of women, just mostly. It was something Joshua was used to.
In Joshua’s case, the rodeo wasn’t that for him. Rather, it was a way of proving himself amongst others. Setting himself apart. Feeling special. Julian would never be caught dead on the back of a bull or a bucking bronco. He was too sedate for that. Too stable. An ideal son.
Again, a hand struck his chest as Sean studied him curiously. “Where are you, cuz?”
“Right here. Where else would I be?” Joshua turned his horse away to conceal his face. He didn’t need his cousin recognising the lie in his expression. He was usually able to hide his feelings, adopting a blank stare that had become his signature, but not with everyone. Sean was one of the few who could see through him.
“Don’t think I don’t know what’s bothering you,” Sean called from behind.
His profile appeared in Joshua’s periphery, but Joshua refused to look at him. “What?” he asked gruffly.
“The wet season’s coming. I know what that does to you. You start thinking of your mum, and then you start withdrawing from life. Happens every year.”
Joshua turned at his cousin’s comment. While Sean wasn’t the most discerning person, he often noticed what others didn’t. His cousin was his best friend. The guy who was always there with a plan for fun. A plan to take his mind off his troubles. Still, there were some things he couldn’t help with. This was one of them.
Swinging his gaze to the darkening horizon, Joshua’s mind filled with images of his mother. She’d been the rock of the family, the glue that kept them together. She’d made him feel he was an integral member of the family at Goddard Downs. Now, with all the changes, he felt lost, like he didn’t belong anymore. Sean couldn’t understand the depth of those feelings, the powerful weight that pressed down on him each year as the anniversary of his mother’s death approached. Joshua simply replied, “Yeah, I miss her.”
Sean remained silent as they led their horses home under the darkening sky. When the homestead came into view, Joshua’s chest tightened, and by the time the horses were stabled and the pair were walking towards the house, he felt as if he couldn’t breathe. Stopping at the bottom of the stairs, he said, “Go in without me. I’ll be right behind you.”
“What’s up?” Sean frowned.
“Nothing. I just need to deal with something. I won’t be long. Tell Dad and the others I’ll be right there, but don’t wait for me.”
Sean’s brows drew further together but he didn’t delve. Instead, he nodded and disappeared inside.
There were no walls falling in on him, but Joshua felt as if his lungs could get no air. It would be worse inside. It would be stifling, and not just from the heat. If only he could leave the cattle station. Be his own person. Live his own life. But could he?
Sighing, he pulled his phone from his pocket and dialled Stella’s number. She rarely answered, but today he hoped she would. He put the phone to his ear. With every fibre of his being, he prayed he’d hear her comforting voice on the other end.
Stella Martin crossed the yard to the paddocks to check on the two heifers that were due to give birth to their first offspring any day now. Indigo was a small cattle station close to the town of Kununurra, and her family’s home for the past twenty-five years, but not for much longer. The family’s livelihood stood on a precipice since the announcement of the live cattle ban. The export of live cattle was the foundation of their entire business. Their lives. They were trying other options to sell their beef and to stay afloat, but given how slow things had been for them in the past few years, there was no way they could afford the changes.
She tried not to think of the dire situation they were in as she approached the paddock where the cows were stabled. Their head hand, Daku Henderson, was filling up their feed boxes.
“How are we doing, Dak?” she asked as she pulled her sandy blonde hair into a bun and held it in place with the hairband from around her wrist.
“So far so good, Miss. I think we should see our new calves in a few hours,” he replied, flashing a smile as the dying sun shone on his chocolate-hued skin.
Standing beside him, Stella cast her gaze over the cows. She was tall for a woman, with sun-kissed skin, high cheekbones, and a strong, slender frame from years of working on her family’s cattle station. She leaned against the paddock rail and smiled. “Great.”
She hoped the new calves would arrive soon. She had plans for the following day and didn’t want to put them off longer than she already had.
Shuffling his feet on the dry earth, Daku lowered his gaze before lifting it slowly to meet hers. “I have to tell you something, Miss.”
Stella frowned. “What is it, Daku?”
“I…I found a new place.” His dark eyes watered, his gaze barely holding hers.
Stella groaned as her shoulders involuntarily drooped. Although many of the station hands had already left, Daku, along with a few others, had remained, but it seemed that was about to change. How many would still be there by the time the rainy season came? The thought worried her. They needed every hand they could get during that critical time.
She forced a smile, but inside her heart was breaking. Daku had been with them for as long as she could remember. Unlike many cattle stations where the hands were just that, at Indigo, the hands were family. Stella had been raised with these men, women, and their children. She had no siblings, but their children were like her brothers and sisters. Each day, when someone else informed her of their departure, it was like she was losing more of her family.
“When do you leave?” she asked, forcing her voice to remain steady.
“Two weeks. Gina and I wanted to give you more time, but our new bosses need us right away or not at all.”
Stella nodded. “I understand. You can’t lose this opportunity and risk the job. I get it.”
“We feel terrible. But your father hasn’t paid us in three months. We’ve stuck around out of loyalty, but that doesn’t cover the bills. We know when things turn around he’ll make good on his promises, but we can’t wait.”
Stella’s brows arched. She knew things were difficult, but her father hadn’t mentioned not paying the hands for so long. What else was he hiding? “Dak, I understand. You and Regina have to think of your family, of Rianna, Koa, and Tarka.”
The Henderson children were all under the age of ten and had been born at Indigo Downs. Now they were leaving, and Stella already felt the loss. “Be sure to tell me how to contact you. I wouldn't want to lose touch just because you've moved.”
Nodding, Daku smiled. “Of course. You are family, Stella. We will never lose touch. Tarka wouldn’t allow it. He loves you so much.”
Tears stung her eyes. The little boy had stolen her heart from the moment he’d made an appearance into the world four years earlier. “We’ll miss you all, Daku.” She stepped forward and gave the man a hug.
They lingered for several seconds, the pain of the family’s coming departure already filling her with an inexplicable feeling of loss, but it was for the best. She had no idea when things would turn around. She couldn’t expect Dak and his family to stay until then, no matter how much she might want them to.
When they separated, he said, “I know you won’t want to consider this, but if things don’t change soon, you’ll need a job. I heard through the grapevine that Goddard Downs’ large animal vet is retiring. It could be an opportunity for you, Miss. I’ve never met a vet who cares as much as you do. You’d be excellent for the job, and I’m sure with your experience, they’d pay you well.”
Stella smiled wistfully. “Thanks for thinking of me, Dak, but I can’t leave Mum and Dad. They need me, especially when things do turn around.”
He nodded. “I thought you’d say that. Still, I had to let you know. It’s not public knowledge yet that the vet’s retiring, so it would give you an edge before they start advertising. The rains will come soon and they’ll need the vet before then.”
“That’s true, but as I said, I can’t leave my parents.”
“You are a good daughter, Miss. Your father’s lucky to have you.”
“Thank you, Dak. And I’ll speak to my father and ensure that somehow you get paid what’s owed to you.”
Dak’s eyes welled. “Thank you, Miss. I appreciate that.”
Stella trudged back to the house, kicking up red dust that lingered in the air. Her heart was heavy. What did the future hold? She knew she shouldn’t worry. She trusted God to look after her and her family, but there were moments when despair hovered like a heavy, dark cloud, and this was one of them.
Her father’s truck was parked outside the house. He’d left early that morning without a word and she’d been wondering all day where he’d gone. It was out of character for him to disappear like that.
“Mum? Dad?” she called as she hurried up the front timber steps. The paint had peeled off them, and the house itself was in general disrepair, but it seemed her parents didn’t notice anymore.
She headed down the hallway to the back of the house. Her parents were standing together in the small office, their expressions grave.
Her heart pounded. “Mum? Dad? What’s wrong?”
Her mother’s cheeks were damp. She sniffled and turned away. “You tell her, Jim.”
A cord tightened around Stella’s heart. “Tell me what?”
“We’ve lost it,” her father choked. “I met with the bank today to plead for more time to pay the loan, but they wouldn’t budge. They’re foreclosing on us, Stell. We have two weeks to get everything cleared out.”
Stella could barely draw breath. “What?”
“We haven’t paid the mortgage in six months. I was hoping the deal with Emcorp would save us, but they weren’t interested in our cattle. There’s nothing left.” He raked his hand across his balding head and slumped into the chair. “I hoped the bank would come good, but they offered nothing. I can’t blame them. I can’t think of any way to turn things around, and if I can’t, how can I expect them to?”
Stella slipped a comforting hand onto his shoulder. She hated seeing this man who’d raised her and put everything he had into providing for her and her mum so defeated. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“We didn’t want you to worry, love.” He covered her hand with his and squeezed it.
“What are we going to do?”
He drew a deep breath. “Your mother and I have decided to move back to Cootamundra. We still have friends and your mother’s family there, and your grandmother’s house is empty. It’ll take time to get it liveable, but one of your mother’s friends has offered to let us stay in their guest house for a while.”
Stella couldn’t believe what she was hearing. They were giving up so easily? They were willing to give up more than three decades of hard work just because of some money issues? Yes, the bank was taking the station, but things could still turn around. They could get it back, they just had to try. “Dad, you can’t mean this.”
Her mother stepped closer and placed a hand on her shoulder. “I know this is difficult for you to hear, Stella, but it’s over. We’ve done everything we can, but it didn’t work. Your father did his best. It just didn’t happen for us this time.”
“That was because I didn’t know. I could have helped.” Stella sounded petulant, like a child who couldn’t accept being told she couldn’t have something she wanted, but she simply couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It was craziness. Her parents were going to leave all this behind and move to Cootamundra? Unbelievable!
“What could you have done that I didn’t?” Her father pinned her with his gaze.
She couldn’t answer. She didn’t know what she could have done, but she would have tried harder. There was no way she would have given up. Fumbling for words, she contemplated what could be said to make things better, to make her parents believe that things could turn around. Something that would encourage them. Praying silently, she searched for words that might turn their despair to hope but came up empty. When her phone rang, she didn’t look at it. There was nothing in the world more important than what was happening in this moment. Whoever it was, they didn’t need her more than her parents.

Main Tropes

  • Mature-age/seasoned Christian Romance
  • Heartwarming
  • Inspiring
View full details

What Readers Say About A Sunburned Land Series....

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "I read this 6-book-set in a few days. Ms. Duncan is one of a few Christian authors that I prefer. She is skilled at creating characters that are realistic and have the strengths and weaknesses of normal people. I laugh with them and cry with them and rejoice with their triumphs. If you're new to juliette Duncan's books - I think you'll love them as much as I do." DRP1649

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "I absolutely loved this series. I hated for it to end. The characters were all so believable and the storyline drew me in. I felt a part of the Goddard family. You just felt you knew the main characters, like you were part of the family. You walked through their joys and their sorrows, triumphs and defeats. I really hated to see it end. Juliette Duncan is an amazing author who draws you into each book she writes. She is my new favorIte author." Janice V

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    "I absolutely loved this series . I hated for it to end. The characters were all so believable and the storyline drew me in. I felt a part of the Goddard family. Juliette Duncan is my new favorite author." I love all your books, butespecially loved the Sunburned Land series!!!! Barbara W

Watch the trailer...

"I have a problem with Ms. Duncan's books - once I start one I don't want to put it down until I have read it all, sometimes I'll read most of the night." DRP