FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Inkslinger PR.
Series: Lonesome Point Texas #4
Publisher: Self Taught Ninja Press (Self-Published) on December 18,2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
This ride is going to last a lot longer than eight seconds…
Female professional bull rider, Reece Hearst, graduated from the school of hard knocks. With honors. Because life is like bull riding—when it sends you to the dirt, you do whatever it takes to get on your feet, even if you have to crawl. Like when officials stripped her of her rodeo queen title on the basis of vicious gossip years ago and not even her father would believe her side of the story. Reece could have stayed in the dust, wallowing. Instead, she fixed Lonesome Point in her rearview, joined the pro circuit, and never looked back. But now a serious injury threatens to end her career and she’s back in Lonesome Point, living next door to the family that once made her life a living hell.
After multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan and his father’s death, all Grayson Parker wants is to get his family’s cattle business back in the black and live a quiet life. But the return of Reece Hearst opens old wounds, throwing his ordered world into chaos. Grayson was serving overseas when Reece was a teenager and can’t believe the girl he once knew has grown into a heartbreaker as hardened as she is beautiful.
Grayson finds a kindred spirit in wounded Reece and soon longs to be the man to show her that there is life after pain and loss. But can two people as damaged as Reece and Grayson find their way to happily ever after? Or will the scars on their hearts forever keep them apart?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Reese Hearst left Lonesome Point far behind to prove herself on the rodeo circuit and avoid the small town, small-minded judgement of a community who only saw the worst in her. It’s been twelve years, but her latest potentially career ending injury has her sneaking back home while her family’s away, trying to come up with a plan to get back on the road and back to bull riding.
Grayson Parker has his hands full with a failing ranch and a sister whose abusive marriage has fallen apart, but when he meets a spitfire in a bar on a cold Christmas Eve, he’s more than a little intrigued. Finding out that she’s the same girl who ruined his father’s name position in town with her scandalous accusations should have him thinking twice about getting involved with her. But she’s like no one he’s ever met, nothing he ever expected, and everything he can’t get off his mind.
Well, first, I’m not sure what the “glitter” is about. The only mention of anything the least bit glittery is a rodeo crown won and lost over a decade ago, and Reese is about the last person in the world I’d associate with anything sparkly. The grit part makes sense, but I’m still trying to figure out the glitter.
Also, I was a bit disappointed that a story in a series focused on cowboy loving and country living really had very little to do with the setting. Reese is a bull rider forced off the circuit by an injury, and Grayson is trying to turn around the failing ranch he inherited, but other than some cowboy boots and a couple of pickup trucks, the whole country vibe is oddly missing. No one rides a horse or ropes a calf or really does anything ranch-y. Okay, so there was one time they fixed a broken fence. That was about it.
While Reese has been briefly mentioned in earlier books in the series, not much is known about her except for the fact that she turned tail and booked it out of town long ago, leaving her sister Tulsi and the rest of Lonesome Point behind. So it was interesting to get a look at who she really is, why she really left, and whether she’d be able settle down.
It’s clear from the beginning that Reese hates Lonesome Point, not because she had big city dreams or some idea that she didn’t belong but because the town itself betrayed her. When her riding coach made some aggressive and unwanted moves on her (i.e. attempted rape), she lost her rodeo queen crown for fraternizing with a judge, dealt with nasty gossip and judgement from schoolmates and townsfolk alike, and had to face the cruel realization that her own parents believed her lying attacker over her. Can’t really blame her for leaving.
Now dealing with a pretty severe head injury, she heads back home to hide out and recover a little while her parents and sister are out of town, and fate leads her to a bar stool beside a handsome, brooding cowboy. Thinking a little no-strings-attached fun is at hand, she’s horrified to wake up inside the home of the last man she’d ever wanted to see again, and finding out her handsome cowboy is the old pervert’s son is just the icing on the cake made of awful. But Grayson Parker isn’t like his dad, and when Reese’s head injury enters scary territory, he steps up to help and become a friend she rather desperately needs.
Reese’s character really surprised me in that she wasn’t the stereotypical armored heart normally served up in romance novels like this. Yes, she definitely had baggage, and she was in no hurry to let someone take care of her, but she was able to almost immediately separate the man in front of her from the sins of the rest of the town. Even as she was determined not to truly fall for Grayson, she let him in, cracking jokes and shamelessly flirting, proving she had more character and depth than some two-dimensional girl who’d once been hurt.
Grayson surprised me as well. He was obviously shocked to find the damsel in distress he hadn’t quite rescued was the same one who’d caused such a scandal with his father, but he knew his father had more than a few faults, and he didn’t immediately judge Reese over the muddied facts of the past. In fact, he turned out to be the incredibly nice, genuinely good guy he claimed not to be, and it was impossible not to like him just as much as Reese did.
I won’t spoil things by going into the crazy drama trip that popped up toward the end of the story, but like just about everything else, it was a rather pleasant surprise. It provided the decision point for Reese and Grayson, and it tied up the lurking past in an unexpected way that allowed everyone, presumably the rest of the town as well, to move on.
I did miss the cast of regular characters I’ve come to know in the series, since Reese was rather rootless, and just about everyone else was out of town, but I suspect if they’d all been around, we wouldn’t have gotten the fun and rather sweet love story that Reese and Grayson managed to build. The holidays and isolation allowed them to find their path together without interference from anyone else, and now that they’re all settled, I’m ready for the next Lonesome Point couple to come together!