Wednesday, February 8, 2017

ARC Review: Wild Horse Springs

Wild Horse Springs
Jodi Thomas
Contemporary Romance
Ransom Canyon/Book 5
Harlequin Books/January 24, 2017

In the heart of Ransom Canyon, sometimes the right match for a lonely soul is the one you least expect. 

Dan Brigman may not lead the most exciting life, but he's proud of what he's achieved: he's a respected lawman, and he's raised a bright, talented daughter on his own. But finding a lone, sparkly blue boot in the middle of a deserted highway gets him thinking maybe the cowgirl who lost it is exactly the shake-up he needs.

After losing her baby girl, Brandi Malone felt like her soul died along with her daughter. Now singing in small-town bars to make ends meet, she's fine being a drifter until a handsome sheriff makes her believe that parking her boots under his bed is a better option.

College grad Lauren Brigman has just struck out on her own in downtown Dallas when a troubling phone call leads her back home to Crossroads. Her hometown represents her family, friends and deepest hopes, but also her first love, Lucas Reyes. Will Lauren's homecoming be another heartbreak, or a second chance for her and Lucas?

I've said it before, reading Ms. Thomas' stories are like coming home. They are filled with wonderful characters who feel like family and good friends the more you read about them. The newest addition to the Ransom Canyon series is no different. Wild Horse Springs catches up with some familiar characters while introducing a few new ones as well.

As previous novels in the series did, Wild Horse Springs doesn't solely focus on one story line but starts new plots as well as following up with established story lines. Some plots grab my attention more than others but I always leave satisfied when I am finished.

Sheriff Dan Brigman has been there since the beginning. He's been a stable, intelligent figure lending his control and experience to help his community. Sheriff Dan enjoys his life, even if it is rather predicable. Then he makes one small change and he could not have predicted the effect it would have on his life. I liked seeing Dan, in essence, come out of his shell. We get to see more of the man behind the lawman.  And this is a romance so it's no surprise the change in Dan's life is caused by a woman.

Leaving your old life behind and starting fresh somewhere else. It's a romantic notion, one many of us have most likely had at one time or another. But the romance ends when that leaving is brought about by tragedy. This is the case for Brandi Malone. Brandi is running from her tragedy but it continues to follow her. She has no desire to settle in any one place so she keeps moving. Then she meets a man with a boot, her boot.

I loved how Dan and Brandi's meeting came about. How Dan envisioned what the owner of the boot might be like. And how pleased he was when he met Brandi. I did like their romance but at the same time, I found myself more drawn to what was happening between Lauren, Tim and Lucas. Or perhaps I should say what might happen with Lauren and Lucas. Their intertwined relationships have been going on for so long, it is almost as if they will never be fully resolved. But... I have hope that the next book will have Lauren and Lucas back together. Please.

Thatcher Jones. Just saying his name makes me smile. He's such a likable character. I dare you not to like him. He has this way of speaking his mind that is so refreshing. His outlook on life is different from the other characters because of his rough upbringing.  Thatcher has this solemness about him. He has such a strong sense of right and wrong. For all his "country boy" charms, he also has this air of nobility. I can't wait to see more of Thatcher in future books.

And then there's Cody Winslow. He lives on the edge. On the edge of town and on the edge of life. He is rescued from his lonely existence by some of the most unlikely heroines. Yes, that's heroines, plural. Cody's life is turned upside down and inside out. And it turns out, he's okay with that. This romance was such a treasure to read. The characters of Cody and Tess are an entertaining mix of lonesome cowboy and take charge park ranger. I loved how their relationship started with Tessa saving Cody and basically taking over his life. While Cody is busy feeding the local gossip mill. Things get a little out of control but Cody and Tess work it all out and give the town even more to talk about.

Wild Horse Springs is small town romance set in a charming town with enjoyable characters that leave the reader wanting to come back for more.

Rating: B+

Ransom Canyon ~

Winter Camp (novella)
Ransom Canyon
Rustler's Moon
Lone Heart Pass
Sunrise Crossing
Wild Horse Springs

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