Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Rough Rider (Hot Cowboy Nights #2) by Victoria Vane (@SourcebooksCasa)

Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect-until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.

Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good-roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there's a void he can't seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts...but there's a certain cowgirl he can't forget.

When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he's determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?

Type: Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Amazon | All Romance | Book Depository | BAM | Goodreads
Mmmmm Vane writes downright tasty and lickable men of the cowboy variety. Seriously. *fans self* Yums!

Alright. So, Janice and Dirk's story is a long and rocky one. These two met when they were young and while on the rodeo circuit started to get close--he was a rider and her family provided stock. But then some wrong choices and misunderstandings sent them in opposite directions and life went on. Dirk to the Military. Janice to married life with someone else and motherhood. And now 10 years later they're getting a second chance as they wind up back in their hometown broken by life and in need of healing.

These two. Whew. They had some serious heartbreak and angsty bits happening on their way to their happily ever after. It was not easy on them at all. They lost so many years and had so many struggles from picking door two instead of door one. Painful marriages, injury, loss, loneliness. But they got their second chance and managed to hold on to it. To help heal each other from the traumas they'd been through and the hurt they'd caused each other. And it was both incredibly sweet and hard to see unfold. But wonderful at the same time.
"You have to over analyze every little thing."

"It wasn't a little thing! It was a very big thing--well, for me anyway," she murmured.

He chuckled. "I'll take that as a compliment, sweetheart."

Her head snapped up, her brown eyes narrowing as if she wanted to slug him. "That's not how I meant it."

He shrugged. "If the boot fits..." 
I enjoyed both Janice and Dirk. Janice is a strong woman. She's deep in a world dominated by men and she holds her own. She's not afraid to work hard, get her hands dirty and is doing whatever needs to be done for her family. And Dirk. Well there's a lot of sexy happening there. He's got the cowboy swagger and is a good guy when he's younger. And now after serving he's got a lot of hurt and anger in him from all that he lost being injured during the war--his leg, his life as a cowboy, etc. He's one of those tortured broody heroes I just lust after.

They were really good together. The connection and heat between them was amazing both when they were younger and their second time around though whew they do have some hard moments and a lot to work though. Both their misunderstandings when younger and now his injury and the feelings that go with it. There were a couple scenes regarding it that just, yeah, had me holding my breath. It's not all 'heavy' though. There was enough heat and humor thrown in to keep things moving and entertaining instead of depressing.

I did have one big issue while reading that brought the rating down a bit for me. It was more to do with format than the story which I loved. There were these huge time jumps that were extremely awkward to me and pulled me out of the story something fierce. A chapter would end then the next...4 years later...then a chapter later it's another 6 years later. All of the individual pieces were well written but there were no warnings the jumps were going to happen, no headers saying it was X years later, etc. It was just jarring for me and the first time I kept thinking okay is this a dream sequence happening?

Other than that, though, Rough Rider was an achingly beautiful story of love triumphing over all. Vane really writes amazing characters and brings them to life in the most amazing way. I'm quickly becoming addicted to her books. That's for sure.

Have you read Vane? What did you think?
Do you have a favorite second chance at love story?
Have you read one with a main character that was an amputee?

More Vane on herding cats
Review--Slow Hand
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