Published by Harlequin Books on January 24th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
In the heart of Ransom Canyon, sometimes the right match for a lonely soul is the one you least expect
Dan Brigman may not lead the most exciting life, but he's proud of what he's achieved: he's a respected lawman, and he's raised a bright, talented daughter on his own. But finding a lone, sparkly blue boot in the middle of a deserted highway gets him thinking maybe the cowgirl who lost it is exactly the shake-up he needs.
After losing her baby girl, Brandi Malone felt like her soul died along with her daughter. Now singing in small-town bars to make ends meet, she's fine being a drifter until a handsome sheriff makes her believe that parking her boots under his bed is a better option.
College grad Lauren Brigman has just struck out on her own in downtown Dallas when a troubling phone call leads her back home to Crossroads. Her hometown represents her family, friends and deepest hopes, but also her first love, Lucas Reyes. Will Lauren's homecoming be another heartbreak, or a second chance for her and Lucas?
Monday morning he carried the boot into his office and set it on the corner of his desk, still thinking about what kind of woman would own it. It might be nice to meet her when he wasn’t in uniform. Maybe, halfway through his life, it was about time he did something unpredictable.
All morning he worked on the paperwork that always piled up over the weekend like leftovers from Sunday dinner.
The blue boot kept crossing his line of vision as if whispering to him.
Pearly, the county secretary, came in a little after eleven with the mail. She spotted the boot. “You thinking of cross-dressing, Sheriff?”
Dan simply stared at her. Pearly hadn’t asked a question worth answering in years.
“I have to leave.” He stood. “I’ll be back in an hour or so.”
“Might as well eat lunch while you’re out, Sheriff.” Pearly started planning his day. “It’s already almost lunchtime, and you know when you get back you’ll have calls to return, and by the time you’re finished it’ll be too late to catch a lunch special. Next thing I know, Lauren will be home from Dallas complaining about how thin you look and telling me I should take better care of her father, like she left you in my charge.”
“And the point of this discussion, Pearly?”
She puffed up. “Eat!” she shouted as if he needed to be addressed in single syllables.
Dan dug his fingers through hair in need of a cut and put on his Stetson. “Thanks, Mom, I’ll remember that.” He grabbed the boot and walked past Pearly. Dan hated being mothered, but some women had that gene wired in them.
He was two miles out of town when he glanced at the boot and grinned. “Where you want to go, babe?” he asked as if a woman were beside him.
Funny. Something about the boot riding shotgun made Sheriff Dan Brigman feel reckless.
You can follow the Ransom Canyon series on Goodreads.
~~Reviewed by Evelyn~~
WILD HORSE SPRINGS, the fifth entry in the Ransom Canyon series by Jodi Thomas, is an interesting look into life in small town Crossroads, Texas. The plot is full of colorful characters, mystery, and several delightful romances. It all starts with a blue cowgirl boot.
Romance #1: Sherriff Dan Brigman, a single father, is very lonely since his only daughter, Lauren, moved out to be on her own. While on duty, Dan finds the fancy blue boot in the middle of the road. After searching for its owner, the boot is eventually reunited with country singer Brandi Malone, who is booked for a few weeks at a local bar. Brandi , who is very secretive about her past, is immediately attracted to Dan, but both have to decide if they can put their pasts behind them and commit to a new relationship.
Romance #2: Lauren Brigman, Dan’s daughter, went to law school but has decided that she would rather be a writer. She misses her hometown dearly, and returns home when a situation develops that involved some of her high school friends. This requires that she meet up with Tim, her friend with benefits, and Lucas, her unrequited long-time crush.
Romance #3: Texas Ranger Cody Winslow is seriously injured in an accident on his ranch. Park Ranger Tess Adams finds him and gets him to the hospital. While Cody recovers, Tess takes care of things on his ranch.
All three romances come together in a mystery involving a young man named Thatcher who, while attempting to help a young, apparently abused girl, ends up in jail. The mystery plays out primarily at the end of the book, and it drives the mostly satisfying conclusion of the book. A few things are left unsettled, obviously to be carried over to the next book in the series.
WILD HORSE SPRINGS held my attention from start to finish. It is well written, and the pace is steady until you get to the somewhat frantic conclusion. The characters are all likeable and realistic, and their storylines are interesting. The problem with the book, however, is that there are too many romances going on. Instead of the two usual main characters, there are many main characters. While each is important to the plot, it is difficult for the reader to get invested in any of their individual stories.
Romance #1, Dan and Brandi, is probably the main romance if there is one. It is very sweet, emotional and engaging, but it lacks depth. Romance #2, Lauren/Tim/Lucas, started in one of the earlier books, and even though their relationships were fully explained, I felt like I was missing something by not having read the previous books in the series. I also felt like I am going to have to read the next book to see how this romance plays out. Romance #3, Cody and Tess, was a bit unbelievable. Cody and Tess met for the first time when Tess found him lying injured on the ground after he fell off of a cliff. In just a couple of days, she was taking care of his financial business. I imagine this storyline will also play out in a future book.
All in all, however, I enjoyed my trip to Crossroads Texas. I enjoyed getting to know all of the main characters and watching them fall in love. The sex, when it happens, takes place behind closed doors and is left to the imagination of the reader which I prefer. The mystery of the little girl adds much needed depth to the story and it is well-written. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, but I hope the author concentrates on just one romantic couple instead of several so that we can really get to know them. That’s the main thing that is missing in WILD HORSE SPRINGS.
I voluntarily read an ARC of this book.