Love takes a special kind of courage . . .
Captain Sterling Garlington has faced down enemy fire without losing his nerve. But after a life-altering injury derails his military career, the former US marine is suddenly taking his marching orders from a sexy, edgy beauty at the Elk Heights Ranch. Even more amazing, equine therapist Harper Matthews makes him want to not only embrace life again—but give in to the attraction simmering between them.
Her love of horses is Harper’s magic bullet—her way of healing the painful past. And in the wounded soldier she recognizes a kindred spirit. Part of her wants to bolt, yet at the same time Sterling is drawing her closer. Maybe it’s his courage. Or his mega-watt smile. Or both. Either way, she’ll make a cowboy out of the wary war hero yet. It’s like getting back on a horse. They’ll just have to learn to trust each other—and be willing to open their hearts . . .
A sweet and tender love story, the third installment in a series that has won my heart over with the charming, complex characters and their lives and destinies that are relatable while intricate, tangled, and even messy at times.
Captain Sterling Garlington, the wounded Marine, had to deliver some serious goods to the table on The Cowgirl Meets Her Match, because of his actions in the previous books of the series. Was I nervous that he could not live up to the challenge? Not really, but the thought was there, regardless. Sterling turns out to be a good, solid man, with a strong need to protect and to be in control. He demonstrates a surprising amount of sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and emotional insights. He knows how to listen to understand, not just to respond. He is not perfect, he has his flaws, weaknesses, and challenges, yet he is honest, straightforward, and I claim trustworthy as well, even though that is challenged in the story. I liked him, I cared for him, and I rooted for him, even when he messed up, even when he hit the rock bottom, and especially as he stood by the equine therapist Harper Matthews and helped her wounds to heal.
Harper and Sterling have a lot in common, even though they seem to be the opposite at the first glance. Harper carries her wounds inside, her spirit was broken, her will to survive damaged for a moment. But she has champion through the horrors of her past, and she is stronger because of them, even if more careful now with whom she trusts, and whom she lets into her heart.
The attraction between Harper and Sterling is tangible, there is no doubt in my mind that they desire each other and long to be in the other's presence. The conclusion came faster and went further than I expected, I wish there would have been shown more of the hard work Harper and Sterling had to put into the relationship.
The conflict in the story came from an unexpected source. I didn't expect the story to take that route while it seemed that some things from Harper's past were left hanging. I don't say that was a bad turn, it is very topical right now in the States, and it does show the intensity of the dangers of opioid addiction, and how easy it is to get hooked on the medication, and how severe the detox can be.
A delightfully pleasing, luscious, and precious love story, truthful and lifelike, yet ardent and adorable. A story that brought me to tears, to smile, to laugh, and sigh with the happy ending. A great addition to the compelling series.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side