He’s used to risking it all in the ring, but nothing prepared him for love…
After flying half-way around the world to surprise her boyfriend, Evie Forrester finds herself heartbroken and stranded in a strange city. What could be a total disaster becomes something else when a tall, dark bull rider turns out to be a white knight in disguise. Evie isn’t sure she needs saving, but Tanner Harding is a difficult man to deny. He’s even harder to resist…
Tanner Harding can tame a monster bull with ease, but he never expected to be floored by someone like Evie. Sparks fly between them until injury threatens to end Tanner’s career –and suddenly he’s the one in need of a rescue.
Evie can’t turn her back on her wounded hero and, as Tanner struggles with his recovery, she’s not sure she can guard her heart against him either. Tanner knows Evie has slipped under his skin, but she lives in Australia and his future is under a cloud. Can two people with too many reasons to walk away make the bold decision to stay?
Source: Netgalley My Rating: 4½/5 star
Tanner Harding has a plan and so far, everything is going according to plan. He’s a successful bull rider and ranch owner who fully intends to retire with at least one more million-dollar season behind him. As the saying goes, we plan and God laughs.
Evie Forrester has plans of her own and not anywhere in those plans did she anticipate her boyfriend screwing another woman and leaving her stranded in the States for 10 days. Heartbreak sucks and if it weren’t for the happy accident of meeting Tanner Harding, Evie would be all kinds of screwed. Though she doesn’t really know Tanner, he does save her from a potentially dangerous situation which earns him a measure of trust. Though he is a man of few words, the words he does speak tell Evie he is a kind man with nothing but good intentions. And then he takes off his shirt and it’s not Tanner’s intentions Evie is suddenly worried about.
Though he has no intention of taking advantage of Evie, she is certainly easy on the eyes and pretty good company. With her brutal honesty and first-hand experience with her now ex-boyfriend, Tanner is aware of Evie’s situation and aims to help her as much as he can. All he has to do is remember his life plan and not get distracted by the hot little Aussie currently sharing his space. For the first 24ish hours, Tanner has only limited issues sticking to the plan and then Evie gets good and drunk and crawls into bed with him. Drawing on what could only be described as superhuman willpower, Tanner refuses to have sex with drunken Evie, but now knows the door is wide open for a little action. Again, I point out, we plan and God laughs.
Tanner and Evie get about 48 hours of bliss before the world turns upside down and right side out. Tanner is on the cusp of winning yet another rodeo event when he is a part of a devastating accident that threatens both his future bull riding career and his life. Evie is a good person and knows the right thing to do when she sees it and caring for Tanner is the right thing to do! He not only needs help during his hospital stay, but he’ll need a ride from Oklahoma to Colorado, and someone to be with him for at least a week. Evie’s already stranded and Tanner has been good to her so there’s no way she will abandon the battered, broken, and incredibly stubborn man.
Caring for an injured man is hard to do under the best of circumstances and Evie and Tanner are by no means under the best of anything. After two long days on the road, Tanner has added angry, bitter, and resentful to his list of emotions. He likes Evie, but he doesn’t want to have to depend on her (or anyone!) for his comfort and care. However, Evie is equally stubborn and knows the man under all the anger, bitterness, and resentment. With patience and what she quickly realizes is love, Evie dives right in and makes herself a part of Tanner’s world. What Tanner quickly realizes is that Evie has somehow become a part of his life plan and he just doesn’t know how to handle that information on top of everything else. What they both realize is Evie’s time in the States is rapidly coming to an end and if one of them doesn’t speak up, all the plans and the feelings and all the desire is going to be lost.
The Bottom Line: I usually find the first book in a new series a bit difficult to really like, but I didn’t have that problem with Tanner. Both Evie and Tanner are wonderful characters who were so easy to get behind and root for! Where Tanner is the strong silent type, Evie is a bit more vocal though no less strong. I like the very unusual circumstances around their meeting and I particularly liked the twist causing Evie to travel to Tanner’s ranch with him. While this could have been a train wreck, Mayberry smoothed this path and created a natural progression rather a contrivance to keep the two together. At the end of the day, this is a sweet love story with some heat to it and I enjoyed every minute of Tanner!