Professional rodeo cowboy “HW” Morgan has finally achieved his dream of competing in the national rodeo finals—but his career has come at a price. His twin brother wants nothing to do with him and a string of hookups haven’t warmed his bed. He’s got to get his head on straight—and the only place to do that is at home, if his family will have him. Samantha Kelly isn’t sure what she’s doing at a new dude ranch. The army veteran is barely back on her feet again, still struggling to rehab an injury. But she’s willing to give equine therapy a try, even though her riding instructor is bold, brash, and distractingly easy on the eyes. As she and HW warily try to work each other out, slowly and surely an unbreakable trust is built—one on which dreams can be built . . .
Source: Netgalley and Purchase My Rating: 4/5 stars
HW Morgan has always been very good at two things, the rodeo and disappointing his family. With his age, various injuries, and general level of exhaustion the rodeo is quickly becoming a no-go, which leaves returning to the Morgan ranch and hoping he can mend some literal and figurative fences there. Going home won’t be easy, but the Morgan’s have a long history of forgiveness; all HW can really hope for is that the forgiveness will extend to him.
With the ranch on the verge of opening for “real” guests, the timing of HW’s return couldn’t be better. He’s willing to pitch in anywhere, anytime, and glad to be back to the honest, hard work of ranch life. With a herd of trial-run guests coming to the ranch, HW is willing to work hard, not just for himself, but also, to prove to his family he’s ready to settle down, leave the bright lights of the rodeo behind. His first assignment, outside of the everyday ranch chores, is to teach the newbies how to ride a horse. Though HW initially grumbles and groans about the assignment (he is a rodeo star!) he quickly figures out, he’s a pretty good teacher, and one guest in particular is well worth his time and attention.
Samantha Kelly frustrates HW to no end! She is strong, sassy, intelligent, and not like any other woman he has ever known. Every time he takes her out riding, Samantha surprises him or pisses him off and there’s certainly no in between! She’s admittedly nosy and pushes HW to talk about the issues that have clearly made him so angry. What’s more, her outspoken nature has made her a Morgan family favorite which means she’s learning more about HW from his family than he would normally share on his own. That pisses him off too! Finally, there is the intense attraction he has toward Samantha. She is sexy as hell and seems interested in nothing more than a no-strings-attached fling. Yeah, that also pisses him off!
HW’s life is generally a mess, but Samantha is working hard to help him sort it out. She insists on him talking about and dealing with his past even when it pushes them further away from one another. As the weeks fly by, HW is confronted with one issue after another, and each seems more emotionally wrought than the last. With his nerves frayed, his sexual frustration at an all time high, and his future uncertain, HW needs Samantha more than ever, but he just isn’t sure he is what she wants or needs. Needless to say, everything blows up in spectacular Morgan fashion long before an HEA can be reached 😊
The Bottom Line: You know what? I am still really enjoying this series, and with the exception of a few unanswered questions, I particularly liked this read. As I discovered, HW isn’t so much a bad boy, though he has done some bad boy things, but a guy with a great many unresolved issues related to his family and his past. He has secrets he fears will separate him from his family forever, and that drives much of his behavior and anger. Samantha is a force of nature with her own issues that often collide with HW and his issues. However, at the end of the day, Samantha and HW are perfect for one another, and with the support of the rest of the Morgan family (to HW’s great surprise!) they can be together and be amazing! As much as I liked HW and Samantha, my favorite part of this read was the extended information about the Morgan family history. The secrets just keeping rolling out of this group and it certainly keeps me interested and coming back for more. The family history reveal is buttressed by the ongoing evolution of the entire Morgan clan (and partners!) and interesting book-specific plot lines that fall right in line with the series plot line. In all, I am still impressed with and totally entertained by this series!