A wonderful, gentle story about healing and putting the horrors of the past behind you.
After witnessing brutal crimes whilst undercover for the FBI as a gang member, Joshua is left a broken man physically, mentally and emotionally. Joshua has to start finding himself again and is sent to his Uncle's ranch in New Mexico.
His uncle Tucker runs a ranch that takes in horses that have been cruelly treated or abused by their owners and rescued by the ASPCA. Along with his ranch foreman, Eli, they resocialise the horses by winning their trust and nursing them back to health. They do this with no use of force, but with a lot of patience and care. I really liked this part of the story as a parallel to Joshua's situation who was also broken and really no different to the horses. It was amusing to hear Eli talking about how to handle Joshua like caring for one of his horses and nursing them back to full health. However, humans are more complicated then horses and Eli finds this out."I reckon there'll be plenty of times we can't figure out what he's thinking. Might as well get used to it!"
Joshua arrives to take over the ranch as his uncle is looking for someone to continue when he no longer can. Joshua should take on the office work. At least that's the plan for his uncle. His uncle has limited knowledge of PCs and the internet, but realises that if he is to develop the ranch he will need to get someone in that does."Fact is, I've been needing someone to help me with the business end of the ranch for a while. I'm not interested in all the society network stuff"
I loved the way Uncle Tucker would always get words confused with things that he doesn't really understand. However, he is an open and intelligent man and knows that Eli is gay."Well, I been reading and they say that men think about sex every eight seconds, and gay men every five...."
While Joshua is there he finds himself attracted to Eli, but still can't believe that Eli would fancy him let alone a rough and tough cowboy could be gay. He keeps things bottled up and tries not to let his feelings show. He is carrying to much baggage anyway to worry about relationships. Eli believes that he can be gentle with Joshua and start to nuture him back, again learning from his patience that is needed for the horses. After some dancing around each other they finally get their act together and then Joshua starts to bloom."Yeah, sometimes friends give you strength you don't know you have."
There are a few hitches, trials and tribulations on the way before they get to their HEA, but with the help of the ranch Joshua finds himself and someone he can love.
I really loved all the characters portrayed in this book, from the MCs to uncle Tuck, also Sarafina the hispanic housekeeper who was like a mother to everyone. I really felt the love, contentment, closeness, support and healing power that this ranch has. A wonderful place to be, not only for the horses.
The lesson I learnt from this book for me personally is one of being gentle on yourself. Joshua's self-confidence is low and is constantly believing himself not worthy of anyone or beating himself up for events in the past. Always thinking yourself as not deserving pushes people away. You have to be able to love, respect and like yourself before other people can love you back. It was a long road to get there for Joshua, but he did it in the end.
The plot was simple, but this gave me the chance to feel the turmoil in Joshua and the pain he was going through. Also to see how he heals with all the love and support around him on the ranch.
It is a truly uplifting story from being at rock bottom, getting back on your feet and finding happiness.~ A copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press for a fair and honest review ~