Title: One Brave Cowboy
Author: Kathleen Eagle
May Contain Spoilers
Behind the bravado was a complex man. War hero. "Indian cowboy." Walking wounded in search of answers. Cougar needed to build a new life, and he’d start with what he loved most. Horses. Which brought him to the Double D Wild Horse Sanctuary. And into the orbit of ranch volunteer Celia Banyon and her very special son.
The boy had suffered an unspeakable accident, and his mother felt unspeakable guilt. But something about Cougar brought her back from the brink. He represented her chance to be a woman again. Now, suddenly, one name wasn’t enough for what they could have if they’d just let themselves. Healing. Love. Family. Forever. In fact, the possibilities were endless….
I think this is the first book I have read by Kathleen Eagle, and I can guarantee that it won’t be the last. I enjoyed this story very much, and quickly came to love Cougar, the emotionally fragile hero. Both Cougar and heroine Celia are carrying around a ton of baggage, so it was gratifying to see them learn to lean on each other and not bear all of their guilt and remorse alone. If ever two people needed and deserved each other, it is these two characters.
Cougar is a former soldier. He is like a leaf in a stream, though; aimless, undecided, and struggling to find direction in his life. He is suffering from PTSD, so when he meets Celia, a divorced mother suffering from her own difficult past, they are drawn to each other like the kindred souls they are. Their attraction for each other is instant and spontaneous, burning quickly out of control. I bought completely into their romance because they are both so desperately lonely. They need each other, and they deserve the peace and comfort they find when they are together. I loved the romance; it’s blazing hot yet sweet at the same time. I felt reassured that they would find their happily ever after, even with all of the issues plaguing them.
Celia is divorced, and her ex is a complete and utter jackass. I could not stand this selfish guy! All he’s after is a hefty insurance settlement for the injuries suffered by their young son Mark. Even though Greg was one-dimensional, it was fun hating him. There are some villains that you just love to hate, and Greg is one of them. He belittles Celia every chance he gets, he mocks Cougar every time they meet, and he sees his son as a large bank account. He does not deserve a HAE, though it would be fun to see him suffer a life-changing event and transform himself into a decent human being.
I loved the subplot of the book, too. Cougar is looking for an inner peace, and he chooses to pursue it through his love of horses. He has adopted a wild mustang, and he intends to train it for endurance events. Both Cougar and Mark connect with the wild horse, and their training sessions help to heal them both. This was a story thread that I found compelling. I have horses, and even when they are being less than cooperative, I still enjoy every minute I spend with them. The stress of the day vanishes the moment I step into the barn.
If I had to nitpick about the book, I have to say that the problem resolution was too easily won and too overly simplified. There are huge mental and emotional issues at work here, but they are all but erased by the end of the story. Despite this, I could not put the book down once I hit the halfway point. Now I have to backtrack through Kathleen Eagle’s prior releases, because I am dying to learn more about the secondary characters in One Brave Cowboy.
Review copy provided by publisher