The One I Left Behind - Piper Rayne

The One I Left Behind

By Piper Rayne

  • Release Date: 2024-05-15
  • Genre: Western Romance
Score: 4.5
From 72 Ratings


It’s the classic story—boy goes off into the world to fulfill his dreams and leaves the girl behind.
Not every boy returns home, and I wish Ben Noughton wouldn’t have come back to our small ranching town at all after he retired from playing professional football.
I figure it’s a quick layover for him. He always wanted out of this town and off his family’s ranch. I just have to bide my time until he turns his back on all of us again.
Then he takes on the coaching position for the high school football team and starts milling around too much, bulldozing the protective walls I’ve built around myself. But he goes too far when he takes my son under his wing to help him be the best player he can be. Leaving me to protect not only my own heart but my son’s too.
Because I promised myself a long time ago that I’d never be the girl in the rearview mirror again.

A second chance, he falls first, ranch romance from USA Today Bestselling Author Piper Rayne.


  • Such a cute small town romance! 💘

    By shanellemareereads
    4🌟 1.5🌶️ What’s not to love about a Piper Rayne book? There’s tension and angst, steam, meddling town people, and a love story you can swoon over. This was obviously no exception. This is a second chance small town romance you definitely don’t want to miss out on! Ben and Gillian start off as high school sweethearts, but then Ben is accepted into a college for football and he leaves their small town. Things happen while he’s away, and him and Gillian end up separating. But what happens 10 years later when Ben retires from the NFL, and returns home to their small town?? So much has happened in their time apart, but can these soulmates find a way back to each other? I thought this book was really fun. It was lighthearted and there the perfect amount of everything to make this a really great love story. Ben and Gillian are just meant to be, it’s clear as day. Their story was adorable, and I loved that Ben wanted Gillian’s son to like him and accept him. He didn’t bulldoze his way in, just gave him the time he needed to be able to accept Ben into their lives. Would it really be a Piper Rayne small town romance if it didn’t have meddling townspeople?? 😂😂 They’re always in everyone’s business and I find that hilarious. 😆 I listened to the audiobook for this, and it was fantastic. Robert Hatchet and CJ Bloom performed this in duet style, my favorite type of audiobook, and they both played their parts extremely well. Brought the characters to life with their voices. I loved it. 💖 Pick this up if you like any of the below tropes, you will not regret it! 🏈 football romance 🏘️ small town romance 🏈 childhood lovers 🏘️ second chance 🏈 single mom 🏘️ protective mmc
  • Wonderful world

    By Renavoo
    I always know that when I read a Piper Rayne book, I'm going to laugh. This story, while not as outright funny as some of their other books, also had some laugh out loud moments that made me love the cast of characters (especially Ben's family, who were a hoot and I can't wait for their stories). This is a second chance romance- Ben left to become an NFL superstar and Gillian had given birth to a son, Clayton. While the town was trying to figure out of Ben was the father, it was made clear quickly that he wasn't (so no surprise baby trope). That said, the romance rivaled that gorgeous cover- beautiful chemistry that spanned the ages. I also liked the integration of Clayton throughout the story- he wasn't just a background figure that didn't play a role. What a beautiful fun story and I will be reliving this story through the audiobook
  • Sweet small town romance

    By Dytdyrroys
    Audiobook review: Narrated by CJ Bloom and Robert Hatchet 4 stars for story / 5 stars for performance This is a sweet and heartwarming story about a retired football player that returns back to his hometown only to run into his high school sweetheart and decides he wants to put the past behind them. She is not so keen off the bat but quickly realizes he will be impossible to avoid so they decide to become friends. The relationship does progress rather quickly which is understandable to a point. The story was lacking a bit as far as providing backstory into why they broke up to begin with. Especially having read the prequel and feeling the strong bond they had. I would have appreciated that extra layer of angst. Otherwise, it is a wonderful start to the series. I do adore the other brothers, Emmett in particular, and can't wait to continue with the rest of the Plain Daisy Ranch family and their stories. The audio aspect of this book was great. The duet narration is always a plus. CJ Bloom is one of my absolute favorite narrators and she was thoroughly entertaining in this one (drunk Gillian in particular was on point.) Robert Hatchet did a great job with every character he voiced. He was a master at differentiating between the male characters and I forgot he was just one man. The scenes in which the brothers were together stood out because he did such an amazing job. I highly recommend this in audio.
  • Ben Noughton’s Turn!

    By asildroffops
    The One I Left Behind is the first book in a new series, Plain Daisy Ranch, by Piper Rayne. This book is about Ben Noughton. Fans of the author may recognize him from My Scorned Best Friend. Ben Noughton was a teammate of Xavier Greene with the San Francisco Kingsmen who unsuccessfully tried to date Clara. Now it is time for him to get his own happily ever after. Ben Noughton had just retired from his football career and his father asked him to come home to the family ranch. His former high school coach subsequently had a heart attack and asked Ben to take over coaching the football team while he was recovering. Most of the small town where Ben grew up was happy to see him return home. The notable exception was his ex-girlfriend, Gillian Adams, who was still hurt by their breakup when Ben was a freshman at Clemson University. She was determined to do everything she could to avoid him. However, it was quickly apparent that it was impossible to escape him in their small town, and that Ben wanted to find his way back to her. If you want to know how Ben gained Gillian’s forgiveness and convinced her that they had a future, you must read this captivating novel for yourself. What a story! I loved Ben from the start and was impressed with everything that Gillian had done with her life in the intervening years while Ben was away living his dream. These two people had been very much in love as teenagers and their relationship ended due to the distance between them, not because of a betrayal of trust. I was rooting for them from the very start and loved them more as a couple the further I read. Gillian’s son added an additional layer to their relationship, and I loved the fact that he made Ben jump through hoops before he accepted him. If you love small town contemporary romance/romcom and enjoy the second chance trope, you will definitely want to check out this book. It is a classic Piper Rayne story with emotion, fun, and a happily ever after. I would like to thank Valentine PR and Piper Rayne for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
  • Enjoyed it!

    By _bookish_kristy_
    The One I Left Behind is book 1 in the Plain Daisy Ranch series. It’s a second chance, single mom romance. Ben and Gillian had great chemistry that I felt , even after years apart. I loved the tight family dynamic. The drama, sweet moments and entertaining storyline made this book a fun read. I can’t wait for the next book! Robert Hatchett and CJ Bloom did a really great job narrating this book and bringing the characters to life.
  • Great start to the series

    By Nola.passionista504
    TOILB, is the first book in the new series by Piper Rayne Plain Daisy Ranch. They also just put out a prequel/novella as an introduction to Ben and Gillian called One Last Summer which will give you the back round on these two. Make sure you check it out. What a great start to the series. Ben and Gillian have a past but can these two forget and move on and have a future. This small town, slow burn second chance,single mom romance was so sweet with a twist of slight angst. 14 years have passed and the dashing and handsome Ben is back in town after retiring from the NFL. One thing that hasn’t changed is the instant spark, attraction and banter between these two. We go on a roller coaster as they try to figure out the new roll in each others life. Gillian’s trust issues, the past, the town gossip, the meddling , Ben’s Guilt, and Clayton’s lack of acceptance of the relationship really test them. After some growing pains I loved to see how everything came together. Loved the closeness and support from Ben’s family and the town. Great read. Can’t wait to read Jude’s story. Loved the bonus content. Make sure you check it out. I also listened on audio. The story was narrated by CJ Bloom and Robert Hatchet. This duo made me fall in love with them and this couple yet once again. Great characterizations, and emotions portrayed.
  • Loving Plain Daisy Ranch

    By Zamboni_tlm
    Oh my!!!! Ben & Gillian’s story gave me all the heart eyes. From a heartbroken young girl who was forced to grow up without the love of her life at her side to the country boy making his dreams come true in the big city, but at the risk of leaving his one true love behind. Life & work got in the way of my ultimate devouring of this book, but every single moment I got to read or listen, I was completely consumed with watching these two learn to trust & love again. I absolutely adored seeing Clayton being so protective of his mom & ultimately finding himself on a common ground with Ben. Their relationship was so special once given the chance to form. And the side characters!! Some just tend to jump off the page & demand to be noticed. There’s so much potential for the people of Plain Daisy Ranch & I cannot wait to see them all fall harder than the one before. Audiobook Review: Robert Hatchet & CJ Bloom brought these characters to life in a way that drew me in & kept me wanting more. Their portrayal of these characters made me fall in love with the whole town & made me desperate for more.
  • Super cute second chance sports romance!!

    By JenJenBookFan
    𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐈 𝐋𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝 is the first book in the new Plain Daisy Ranch series by Piper Rayne, featuring a cute second chance sports romance for Ben in Gillian. She was the girl he left behind in order to pursue his big football dreams. Now he’s back 14 years later, retired from the NFL, and ready to get Gillian back. Gillian, though, is not the same naive girl he left in the rear view. Life has thrown her some curveballs, and she’s a single mom to a teenage boy named Clayton. Even though the old feelings come rushing back, can Ben convince Gillian, and Clayton, that he is worth the risk? I love a good second chance story, and I really enjoyed these characters! I will admit that I was a bit surprised by how quickly Gillian gave in, but they definitely were meant to be.🥰 The authentic emotions and secrets that end up coming out will tug at your heartstrings. I also loved the way Gillian prioritized her son, and the way Clayton clearly loved his mom, even when he was being a surly teen.😉 It was also fun to watch Ben in coach mode, and watch him make an effort with Clayton. I hope to see more of the dynamic of these three in the future. Ben’s family was fantastic as well, and really enhanced that found family/ small town vibe. I can’t wait to see what happens next!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 🌶️🌶️