Series: Circle Eight #5
Published by Beth Williamson on 02-25-14
Genres: Cowboys, Historical
One part rancher. One part stubborn woman. Mix together and wait for the fireworks.
Nicholas Graham is caught in the middle: of his family, of his desires, of his own unhappiness. After he meets Winnie Watson, his self-imposed curmudgeonly existence pales in comparison to spending time with her. He wants to be with her, to get to know her. She is a beacon to all the secret cravings he has controlled. Until now.
Winnie Watson endured, and survived, a horrendous childhood that would give others nightmares. She started over, a new name, a new goal in life. Then she met the Grahams and everything went sideways. She’s done the unthinkable and struggles to accept it. She wants to forget it all again, but the specter of Nicholas Graham, physical and in her dreams, won’t let her move on.
Caught between their needs, their wants, and what the world will allow them, Nick and Winnie are doomed from the moment they met. However, love will teach them that even the biggest obstacles can be overcome if you believe.
FTC : This book was given to me by the author and I was asked to post this on this date. I did not let the fact I am a massive fan influence my review but I know I like this author’s writing, and this series, so I accepted this book expecting to love it. I wasn’t disappointed.
There are not many historical series I actually enjoy but this western series is one of the few that remain on my auto-buy list. The women are feisty, the men respect them as partners and the story-lines are straight out of the wild west… what’s not to love!
This is Nick’s story, the moody middle brother who can’t help but feel responsible for the kidnap of his baby brother and his subsequent slavery. Nick is a tortured man who can’t seem to enjoy life for the weight of his guilt and then he meets Winnie. She seems to ignite feelings within him that he didn’t expect or want; don’t you just love a reluctant hero 😀 I enjoyed the struggles of Nick, the way he couldn’t quite let himself believe he could be happy. Once Winnie started to show that she could accept his dark sides and share her own, he is helpless. He starts the book as a brooding, reluctant hero and then he becomes a gorgeous man who, without truly realising it, starts to become the hero trying to prove to himself that he is worthy of her. I have loved every single one of the heroes in this series but I think Nicholas may have moved to the top of my list with the way he acts during this book.
Winnie is a product of her upbringing. Her father prostituted her out at a very young age and she has suffered the consequences of that ever since. Heart-break and abuse have created a strong, independent woman who needs nobody to take care of her because no one ever has. I loved the way that she made Nicholas see what she was to him, what a real relationship could be like. Even when he started to try with her, she still refused to accept anything less than what she deserved without ever asking him to change. She was an amazing character to read about.
I am not going to spoil the storyline that brings them together, the hurt that they try to heal together as it happens after 30%. It is a truly heart-breaking look at the corruption in the wild-west and I actually got a little bit upset at the content. It made me adore these two as a couple, the pair of them using their darkness to to try to solve a mystery that not only brings them together but heals a little bit of their hurts. The ending made me sniffle …. I loved this book.
The sex, whilst on page, is quite sweet. The sex is not explicit and the language is tame whilst still being sexy. These two had quite a lot of sex, attracted to each other in such a way that they could not keep their hands off each other. It really is very sweet.
I have but one complaint about this story and it is the reason why it didn’t get 5 stars. Emma Lang usually introduces the couple from the next book as she did here. Tobias and Rebecca’s story is obviously getting started in this story but it didn’t really fit and felt like random, although enjoyable, scenes thrown into an otherwise perfectly meshed story. There weren’t many and, although they were intriguing as to how the next story will pan out, they took me completely away from the main romance. Again, it is a minor point in an otherwise amazing book because I really do enjoy the character of Tobias.
Overall, this is a fantastic edition to a fabulous series. With a damaged, sweet as sugar hero and a firecracker heroine, this is one that gave me the warm and fuzzies all the way through.