The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
This is the eighth book in the Jackson Hole Series however it can be read as a standalone.
This book started off great. Nothing like a character on the brink of death struggling to get home, to save his dog, to see his mother to start things off, and then just when he thinks he’s at his end someone comes out of the blizzard to rescue him, and that someone just happens to be a beautiful woman. This was a good way to introduce the two main characters and do it in a way that was more interesting than just having them pass each other on the street in the middle of summer in good weather where nothing else really happens. There’s something about having your characters introduced during a crisis that adds an extra element to the beginning and makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens to them.
The attraction between Talon and Cat is pretty quick developing. But they are both hesitant as well, both have scarred pasts Talon from his time at war and his PSTD and Cat with her distrust of men due to what her father did to her in the past. While they are both somewhat struggling with themselves and their emotions they are also drawing on each other for strength even if the other doesn’t realize it initially.
Like other books in this series it’s so good to see some of the people from earlier books in the series again, this time Gus, Val and Griff were present and played a fairly important role in Cat and Talon’s story. Gwen was also in this book, though I believe she has been in nearly all of the sequels in the minor role of town gossip.
I liked how as the story progresses the reader not only learns more about Talon and Cat’s backgrounds, especially Cat’s unpleasant past and what makes them both who and what they are today, but we also learn more about Val, who like Talon, and to a certain respect Cat, suffers from PSTD from her time with the Air Force. I hadn’t known that little detail when I read The Wrangler though there had been a few clues to say that she might it had not been officially mentioned but it does make sense for her to have it and really adds and extra layer of understanding between the characters in this book.
Seeing some of Cat’s abusive past come back to not only haunt her but also physically hurt her put things in a whole new perspective. It showed how hard abusive relationships can be and that even when she tried hard to avoid that man, Magee, he kept coming back after her and had no good intentions for his visits either. This was where Talon’s protectiveness over Cat took a whole new level and it helped to push their relationship past that awkward stage that they had been in, a stage that had been what they both needed for a long time. This allowed both of them to truly open up to their feelings and though those feelings and their openness towards each other had been growing up to this point it helped push them over that hump to realize how much they each truly needed each other on a mental and physical level.
There was a nice amount of action as the end of the book was coming up, and it was good to see Zeke at work along side Talon. I had been hoping to see both of these characters training play a part in this book and while I had a while to wait for it I was happy when it came up. It was this part also brought in Shelby, from the previous book, to play a minor role as well in finding Cat.
Though Kurt Downing is now gone his presence is still somewhat in this book, as his company Ace Trucking is still around but under new ownership. It shall be interesting to see how that trickles down into the next book as well. Additionally his name is a key in helping Talon find Cat. While I admit that I do miss his character I am glad for these mentions of him and to see how his presence is still noted as events progress.
One thing I really like about this series is how the books are separate enough that anyone can jump into the series at any point and they won’t feel lost or need to read the previous books. But for those of us who have read the other books each new book adds a new layer to the story and since some of the older characters come back in smaller roles you also get to learn a bit more about them as well as get the satisfaction of seeing them again.
Overall I have to say that I loved this book. While I’ve enjoyed nearly every book I have read in this series so far I think that Cat and Talon are my favorite characters. The reason for this being that I often enjoy stories with damaged characters, especially when two such characters come together and help each other out through the common bonds of troubled pasts. I would definitely recommend this book, as well as the rest of this series. I will be looking forward to whatever the next book holds in store.