Strong Romance – With A Couple Of Issues. As a romance book, this one works. It has the all the requisite parts and even a couple of the optional ones – clean/ sweet crowd, you’re not going to like all the XXX sex in this one, and there is more of it here than many romance novels, even those that include such scenes. As a bit of a psychological drama, it still kind of works, with the female lead clearly having issues she needs to work through. As a suspense… well, the only actual action here occurs in the last few chapters, the rest of the suspense here is more of the “looming threat” variety. Which works well enough here, but never really makes the pulse pound.
No, there really are two primary issues, one of which has been mentioned by at least one other reviewer and the other of which no existing review on Goodreads mentions: First, this is a female who it is made quite clear fairly early on (to the reader) has been assaulted. While there is indeed a fair amount of studies and even anecdotes of this turning the woman a bit promiscuous – for a variety of reasons – the more general feel seems to be that women become much more closed off to sex after this, particularly when still struggling with dealing with the events – as our female lead here is. And yet, the sex scenes here start pretty damn rapidly once she and our male lead connect. Again, in-story, it works well enough. This is mostly a “wait a second” level observation after the story, at least for this reader. (For others, it may well be a true game-stopper.)
The other issue, that hasn’t been mentioned in a Goodreads review yet, is the constant mention of a gun’s “clip”. NO! It is a “magazine” or “mag”. It is NOT a “clip”, and a former Army Ranger and current US Marshall would *damn* well know this! Still, even with this rather glaring example of complete unfamiliarity with the subject, it is one that readers similarly unfamiliar with the subject would think works reasonably well within the story.
And then there is the whole thing about this being titled as a cowboy story… and yet there is very little cowboy’ing happening here. Other than a ride inspecting fence posts, the rest of the “ranch” scenes could pretty well have any other location as their base of operations and the book would both read and work the same, almost without any even word changes.
Still, these are mostly more observational level issues that didn’t really detract from the book – other than the “clip” / “magazine thing – and the story itself, even with the magazine issue, is pretty solid with an action packed ending. And despite being marked as “Book 3” here, it actually works quite well as a standalone, which is how I read it.
Very much recommended.