As a child, Nakos Hunt left behind the familiarity of his Native American Arapaho tribe for time on Cattenach Ranch. Now the foreman, he's happily settled into his life, but the girl who befriended him all those years ago suddenly has him twisted inside out. He craves stability and purpose, and Amy Woods is anything but a calming presence. Though she's unbelievably gorgeous and about the only person who can drag a laugh from him, he's never been able to understand her. Then a moment changes everything, and an urgent need to protect her rises inside him. And doesn't let go. So does an aching desire and a bond he can't seem to control, no matter how hard he fights the need.
She's no one's version of ever-after...
Amy's not a stranger to disappointment. She's spent the majority of her life pulling up her bootstraps and flipping Karma the bird. Once, she may have dreamed of things like happiness and love, but those were for other people. Nakos has never been someone she deserves, yet the attraction between her and the meticulous sexy-as-sin cowboy is undeniable. And too tempting to ignore. Not only is he strong, patient, and respectful, he's showing her a kind of romantic passion she didn't think existed. But the secret she's keeping could shatter their perfect bubble, and when an old nightmare comes crawling back from the past, she realizes losing Nakos will be the one thing she can't recover from.
Benediction floored me completely with the avalanche of profound emotions and characters whose stories will stay with me, will echo in my heart and mind, for a long while. I know as a fact that whatever I say about this book will not do justice to it, but I will give it my best try to communicate why I loved every single word of it. Why I went back several times while reading the book because I wanted to savor the words, the moments, the scenes, and stay in that glow for a little longer.
Redemption, the book one in the series gave a solid foundation for Benediction. Even though both books can be read as stand alone novels, I wouldn't. First, both are absolutely remarkable, and Redemption starts the back story to Benediction that gives you a different point of view to the events.
Nakos Hunt, the considerate, kind, protective man is a hero like no one else. I love him, his honesty, his insights, his openness with Amy was amazing. His patience, his fortitude, his humbleness when facing the new stage in the relationship with Amy, his best friend, was beautiful and admirable.
Amy Woods has never felt like she was good enough, that she mattered, that she was loved. Her parents constant belittling of her, constantly tearing her apart, the mental and physical abuse she had suffered through her life, it all had left her hollow, hiding behind smart-alecky comments and big smiles. She had such kindness, caring spirit, talent, and beauty in her, yet the castigation made her believe the hateful words and critique she had heard all her life.
Love is a powerful force and can start the healing process from the deepest, most painful wounds in our bodies, minds, and souls. The story of Nakos and Amy took me for an emotional ride like no other. There were laughs, smiles, and sighs. And there were tears, so many tears, of pain, sorrow, but also for the happiness and tenderness. The ache in my heart for Amy, the agony of some of the events, the grief of missed chances because of the abuse and its consequences, it all made such an impact, the scenes were so realistic, raw, sobering. And then there was the love. Not only between Nakos and Amy, the love and connection that burned in their souls, but also the love of friends, and the support and guidance they provided that helped them find their way to each other after the mending process from the past had started.
It is amazing how each emotion, on the whole scale of feelings, can be lived through the words and images on your mind so vividly, so sharply, and strongly. I was right there with the characters, in each scene, living them through, learning to love, learning to move on, learning to forgive and learn to let go, opening my mind to all the possibilities that future can hold right along with Amy and Nakos.
Benediction and Redemption are both on the very short list of 'My 2017 favorites' - maybe I should have started with that one. Absolutely loved it, and can not recommend highly enough!
~ Five Spoons!
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me