Author: Rowan Speedwell
Genre: m/m romance
Print length: 261 pages
Publication date: July 9, 2013
Rating: Four Stars
Blurb: Three years undercover with one of the worst gangs in the country left FBI agent Joshua Chastain shattered. Battling nightmares and addiction, he leaves the concrete jungle for New Mexico horse country, hoping to start over on his uncle’s ranch.
Foreman Eli Kelly spends his life rehabilitating abused animals, and Joshua is just another lost soul. But as Joshua slowly begins to put his life back together, Eli realizes that Joshua is a lot more than his newest project.
Joshua’s plan seems to work—maybe a fresh start was just what he needed. Then, just when he has finally found a sense of peace, crime and hatred nearly destroy all his hard work. forcing him to reevaluate what he wants out his relationship with Eli and his own life.
But I like Rowan Speedwell. As an author, she is remarkably dependable. When you get your hands on one of her books, you can be sure that genuine effort has been put into every aspect of it. So when she came out with this book I hesitated for a day or two then threw caution to the wind. I remember thinking, ‘It’s Rowan Speedwell, it can’t be that bad.’
And it wasn’t. It was surprisingly good. For this type of romance, incredibly good.
Joshua is not your typical wounded character. He’s broken but still complex. I’m glad he wasn’t made out to be some sort of a pretty boy from the very beginning. Years of heroin addiction do not leave anyone looking attractive; that’s just reality. Watching him slowly get back on his feet through Eli’s eyes was so much more powerful than it would have been otherwise. Eli’s character must have taken serious skills too. In some ways, he’s your typical cowboy, the ranch foreman, quiet and steady. In less capable hands, he would have fallen flat and become just another slow-drawling, horse riding, stetson-wearing guy. But instead, he’s wonderfully fleshed out and stays consistently so throughout the book.
The chemistry between them was very sweet. If you’ve read Rowan Speedwell’s work before, then you know that she has the romance down pat every time.
The descriptions of the landscape were lovely without being overpowering. Some authors will spend pages and pages making sure you’re familiar with every blade of grass. It’s unnecessary and most of the time, boring. True ability lies in drawing a complete picture with just a few well-worded sentences and this is something Rowan Speedwell accomplishes with ease.
The story line was good, but it stuttered in a few places. The incident with Eli in the city seemed just a little too convenient. But the flow was relatively smooth and the happy ending left me with a smile.
All in all, I now finally have a cowboy romance to add to my ‘favorites’ pile. Don’t even bother with the others, they’re not worth the time or money.