Wednesday, 25 January 2012
365 books in 365 days Challenge ... Book #297
Rancher and Protector - Pamela Britton
Harlequin American Romance
N.B. This is a North American Release
From the back cover:
"Amber Brooks took the job at Camp Cowboy to find a way to reach her special-needs nephew—not to go gaga over the best-looking guy she's ever laid eyes on. True, Colt Sheridan can teach her a thing or two about horses, but Amber knows better than to trust anyone with her secret. And yet…just what is it about cowboys?
Going undercover at the camp is Colt's way of finding out where "Aunt Amber" has hidden his buddy's little boy. In exchange, his friend's promised him a prize-winning horse. And what this rodeo rider really wants is a shot at the national championship. Unfortunately, what he's got is a crush on the softhearted equine intern. But if Amber is such a good person, how can she keep a man from his own son?"
I think this has to be one of the best covers I have seen on an American Romance book, it's much less cheesy than others!
The hero Colt arrives at a children's therapeutic ranch to help out with the horses, however he is really there to find out where one of his friend's son is. The heroine Amber is the guardian of the little boy and she is working as a therapist at the ranch, so Colt plans to get to know her then hopefully get her to open up to him. Amber is desperate to try anything to help her severely autistic nephew, both with the therapy through the ranch program as well as keeping him away from his imprisoned father. Colt approaches Amber and helps her learn about horses, pretty soon he begins to realise that his friend's description of Amber as a cruel, heartless woman is wrong. Instead Amber is a warm and caring woman, whom he is undeniably drawn to. Amber is also very attracted to Colt and they grow closer and closer. As much as he hates lying to her, Colt still tries to find out where her nephew is but is only left frustrated when she doesn't give anything away.
This is a really deep and moving story. There is quite a bit of sadness in the book, but it's weaved through the book with some fun moments. The issues raised around children's learning disabilities are handled with honesty and sensitivity. Both the hero and heroine are complex characters and perfectly portrayed, they fit together well and I felt that there is a lot of depth to their relationship. I loved the inclusion of the hero's dog, it added such charm to the story!
The only moan I have is that the little boy's father was made out to be the baddie throughout the whole book yet in the closing pages he had completely reformed and was the nicest man possible - it felt weak and a little shallow.
There is angst, emotion, and passion in this book. I really liked it.