Dan thinks about just driving, leaving the whole mess behind. He's got enough money. He could just arrange to get his stuff and his horse shipped to wherever he's going. Taking off is what he used to do when things got to be too much, and it worked pretty well, really. Dan Wheeler thought he'd found lasting love and stability with his life and work partner, Justin Archer. But when Dan finds himself alone again, still working as a horse trainer for Justin's parents, he has to find a way to accept that his perfect life is gone forever. Then he meets billionaire Evan Kaminski, who arrives to buy a horse for his younger sister, and Evan's lover Jeff Stevens, a horse trainer who seems to understand more than just Dan's job. Struggling to deal with all the upheavals in his life, Dan finds himself drawn to both Evan's mercurial passion and Jeff's quiet wisdom. Is Dan strong enough to take a chance on new love, or would it be better—safer—for him to be alone?
For me to read 500+ pages in three nights during NaNoWriMo? Yeah, let’s just say this was really, really good. I have cried like a baby, because at least the first third of this book just plain shattered me.
But it also has some pretty fabulous humoristic touches here and there, to lighten it up a bit.
(I liked it despite it being in present tense, which I hate. But at least it wasn’t in first person, which I despise).
The author demonstrates how to write Show, Don’t Tell-scenes.
She could have written: “Evan was confident and polite.” But she didn’t. She wrote, instead:
“When a minivan cuts in front of him and then slams on its brakes, Evan’s right arm shoots out to catch Dan as they brake hard to avoid a collision. Evan steers around the minivan and glances inside as he passes. He looks over at Dan and shrugs. “Damn, he’s got a pack of kids in there—I bet they’re driving him crazy.”
The author does more good work—it is not easy to describe the frame of mind of a person who is used to being thrown away, discarded. But here, I found a couple of phrases that just perfectly encompass that feeling inside you; here, look:
“I’ve been ‘like part of the family’ before, Robyn…it never lasts. People say the dog is like part of the family, right before they get rid of it because one of the real kids gets allergies.”
“It would be too easy to get comfortable here and too hard when he has to leave.”
It’s the “when” in that phrase that gives away the sad and resigned mindset.
This book really got to me, and the horse setup was really just a backdrop. The eventing described (eventing comprises dressage, show jumping and cross country jumping) was good and didn’t crowd the story. I liked the attitude to the horses, and I loved the vivid descriptions of nature.
But most of all, I loved these characters, a whole bunch of them, both men and women, working hard together. Lots of people from different walks of life and different ages too. They all seemed real.
I loved the men, who were men. I adored the women, who both acted and sounded like women.
And I loved how they interacted, without one being put down to pull the other up.
I hear there are more books to this series, I now have to investigate this, as the HFN ending was all very good, but I need more. I’m not done with these people, not by a long shot.
Because "Sometimes you just know."
I was given an ARC of this book for free from the publisher, Dreamspinner Press. A positive review was neither expected nor promised in return.
Thank you for reading, hope you liked this review.