counter create hit Love, Like Water - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Love, Like Water

Availability: Ready to download

Three years undercover with one of the worst gangs in the country left FBI agent Joshua Chastain shattered. Battling nightmares and addiction, he leaves the concrete jungle for New Mexico horse country, hoping to start over on his uncle’s ranch. Foreman Eli Kelly spends his life rehabilitating abused animals, and Joshua is just another lost soul. But as Joshua slowly begins Three years undercover with one of the worst gangs in the country left FBI agent Joshua Chastain shattered. Battling nightmares and addiction, he leaves the concrete jungle for New Mexico horse country, hoping to start over on his uncle’s ranch. Foreman Eli Kelly spends his life rehabilitating abused animals, and Joshua is just another lost soul. But as Joshua slowly begins to put his life back together, Eli realizes that Joshua is a lot more than his newest project. Joshua’s plan seems to work—maybe a fresh start was just what he needed. Then, just when he has finally found a sense of peace, crime and hatred nearly destroy all his hard work. forcing him to reevaluate what he wants out his relationship with Eli and his own life.


Compare

Three years undercover with one of the worst gangs in the country left FBI agent Joshua Chastain shattered. Battling nightmares and addiction, he leaves the concrete jungle for New Mexico horse country, hoping to start over on his uncle’s ranch. Foreman Eli Kelly spends his life rehabilitating abused animals, and Joshua is just another lost soul. But as Joshua slowly begins Three years undercover with one of the worst gangs in the country left FBI agent Joshua Chastain shattered. Battling nightmares and addiction, he leaves the concrete jungle for New Mexico horse country, hoping to start over on his uncle’s ranch. Foreman Eli Kelly spends his life rehabilitating abused animals, and Joshua is just another lost soul. But as Joshua slowly begins to put his life back together, Eli realizes that Joshua is a lot more than his newest project. Joshua’s plan seems to work—maybe a fresh start was just what he needed. Then, just when he has finally found a sense of peace, crime and hatred nearly destroy all his hard work. forcing him to reevaluate what he wants out his relationship with Eli and his own life.

30 review for Love, Like Water

  1. 4 out of 5

    ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    First 70% = 4 stars (nice character development and slow burn; strong comfort/healing theme) Last 30% = 2 stars (plunge into Melodrama Central) Epilogue = 1 star (pure unrelated fuckery) This book took a major nosedive when Eli (view spoiler)[was attacked and nearly killed by homophobic motherfuckers. (hide spoiler)] The story was already drowning in angst, what with Joshua's horrific past and addiction, and that tipped it right into melodrama territory. Plus, Josh played the martyr card: I'm not goo First 70% = 4 stars (nice character development and slow burn; strong comfort/healing theme) Last 30% = 2 stars (plunge into Melodrama Central) Epilogue = 1 star (pure unrelated fuckery) This book took a major nosedive when Eli (view spoiler)[was attacked and nearly killed by homophobic motherfuckers. (hide spoiler)] The story was already drowning in angst, what with Joshua's horrific past and addiction, and that tipped it right into melodrama territory. Plus, Josh played the martyr card: I'm not good enough for you, so I'm going to push you away and leave. And I can't with that shit. Speedwell writes beautifully; unfortunately, the story got bogged down with internal monologues that went on for pages. The prevalent homophobia seemed almost justified. Witness Uncle Tuck, who's supposed to be a sympathetic character, idly calling the men "queer" and telling them to keep their affection secret, cause real cowboys ain't got the stomach for them things. The ranch setting and dialogue felt authentic, and the times (not many) that Jesse and Josh came together burned up the page. But I needed a stronger HEA for these men. The epilogue was all about Josh's uncle, not the MCs. This one gets a rather reluctant 3 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ingie

    Written December 29, 2014 4.8 Stars - Delighted and truly emotionally moved, this was a big shot A Gay Cowboy Romance felt like a good choice. Rowan Speedwell was new for me but I'm sure it will be more books from her. This was an impressing start for me. Wow, I started to happydancing at once... To listening to this amazing wonderful narrated audiobook was a joy in ten hours. K.C. Kelly, who also narrated one of my top "reads" this fall, Ethan, Who Loved Carter (5 stars). T Written December 29, 2014 4.8 Stars - Delighted and truly emotionally moved, this was a big shot A Gay Cowboy Romance felt like a good choice. Rowan Speedwell was new for me but I'm sure it will be more books from her. This was an impressing start for me. Wow, I started to happydancing at once... To listening to this amazing wonderful narrated audiobook was a joy in ten hours. K.C. Kelly, who also narrated one of my top "reads" this fall, Ethan, Who Loved Carter (5 stars). This was a GREAT audiobook. ~ Highly recommended! *********************************************** Somewhere in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico... Former undercover FBI agent Joshua Chastain is after a three years gang-case in need if a big change. He leaves the big city jungle for his uncle's New Mexico horse ranch. The ranch foreman Eli Kelly has after leaving som wild years in the rodeo circus spent his days rehabilitating abused animals. Her comes a damaged young beautiful man, another lost soul. Eli has a new "project" to tender and carefully work with. This wasn't in any way a easy ride agains a HEA. Love, Like Water is quite angsty but also so very tender sweet and touching. I cared for them (Eli is great..) and I felt that warm hot sun there in New Mexico. This narrator did this adorable. He did it to a believable M/M romance and most of all a wonderful listening. Simply very good! *********************************************** It just isn't time... It was meant to be a long happy review about this wonderful cowboy romance, but there were a lot of holidays and stuff to do so once again, short and sweet: I was charmed, enchanted and fell in love with this story. I LIKE - yeh, yeah, yeh!!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    SYL

    3.5+ stars So…I’m on a cowboy kick. I like ‘em. Thus it’s pretty much a given that I’m predisposed to enjoy “Love, Like Water”. That, and its Rowan Speedwell, of whom I’m a big fan! This book is LOVELY. In fact, the first 75% of the book is a solid 4+ stars for me. The author manages to introduce us slowly and meticulously to Joshua, who for 3 years lived and worked undercover with one of the most notoriously vicious gangs in Chicago. And though he never lost sight of the goal, he did lose grip of 3.5+ stars So…I’m on a cowboy kick. I like ‘em. Thus it’s pretty much a given that I’m predisposed to enjoy “Love, Like Water”. That, and its Rowan Speedwell, of whom I’m a big fan! This book is LOVELY. In fact, the first 75% of the book is a solid 4+ stars for me. The author manages to introduce us slowly and meticulously to Joshua, who for 3 years lived and worked undercover with one of the most notoriously vicious gangs in Chicago. And though he never lost sight of the goal, he did lose grip of himself. Joshua is painfully broken and has given up on ever finding his way. Getting to know him was heartwrenching and difficult and sad. Enter the Triple C ranch, owned by his Uncle Tuck and a place, apparently, far enough removed that Joshua would not be found by this drug cartel. And on it, the foreman, Eli. Eli is, for all intents and purposes, perfect. And honest to goodness, I want that man. Again, in a beautiful and non-annoying slow build, the two men find each other and fall in love. The healing takes time, but it’s lovely. Now, here’s where the book goes a little awry for me. A terribe tragedy happens and there are miscommunications and misunderstandings along the way. And snap, bad turns into good and (view spoiler)[all is well and tidy in a HEA (hide spoiler)] . This all happens in the last 25% of the book. You can throw that slow-build out the window. Don’t get me wrong…I love me a (view spoiler)[HEA (hide spoiler)] , ya know I do. But, this one gave me whiplash. Thankfully, by this point I was already engaged and fully bought into the story (despite some suspension of law/crime reality). So, it didn’t ruin the book for me. I was just caught off guard a bit. Ultimately, the coupling of Joshua and Eli made my heart FULL and I truly enjoyed the book as a whole. PS – the cover is pretty much perfect for this book and I lurves it!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Trisha Harrington

    Okay, so this book has gotten mixed review. I can see why. But, for me, this book was beautiful. One warning I will give is it's a slow burner. A lot of this is not just romance, but recovery. It's about Josh's recovery and Eli's love for him. Sounds cheesy. And it is. But it's also the truth. I'm not sure this will be for everyone, but I am saying that I am a huge fan of this book. The story is simple, when put together. But reading it, there are a lot of details in the story. Josh is an ex-FBI Okay, so this book has gotten mixed review. I can see why. But, for me, this book was beautiful. One warning I will give is it's a slow burner. A lot of this is not just romance, but recovery. It's about Josh's recovery and Eli's love for him. Sounds cheesy. And it is. But it's also the truth. I'm not sure this will be for everyone, but I am saying that I am a huge fan of this book. The story is simple, when put together. But reading it, there are a lot of details in the story. Josh is an ex-FBI agent. He moves to his uncles farm after rehab. He was undercover for three years. During that time he saw a lot of bad things. Things that he would rather forget. His uncle, Tucker, was such a good person for Josh to be staying with. He was clueless most of the time. But he offered Josh love, and sometimes, that's all that matters. There is an attraction between Josh and Eli straight away almost. But Josh is fucked up and doesn't have time to concentrate on his love life. Eli just wants to help him. That attraction leads to some lovely scenes and some difficult scenes. But I never felt like the characters had no connection. Their connection was strong and partly, I think it was because neither man rushed into anything. The romance was well built, and it filled out enough of the book. There are some scenes you can laugh at. Others that are no laughing matter. But it all blended well together. My favourite scene was the waterfall scene *swoons*. For a book to have a scene like that, it automatically becomes a 5 star book. It was just so sexy. Hell, romantic even. The jealousy was good, it showed how much both men cared. And Tuck? He had some funny lines that had me chuckling. “Well, I been reading, and they say that men think about sex every eight seconds, and gay men every five….” The epilogue was funny and it left room for a sequel. Maybe? I think a sequel would be nice, but not needed. Still, I would be happy to see these characters again. Highly recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    What a wonderful story! It has everything I'm looking for in a m/m romance. Hurt/comfort, love, tenderness, smoking hot sex... and cowboys. :) It's the first of Rowan Speedwell's books I've read and surely it has not been the last. Her skill in writing broken humans is awesome. Her poesy is unique and I really loved it. While reading the story I was gripped with the trauma Joshua has gone through. He's a man struggling with life, who thinks he is worthless. But when he meets Eli his wounds begin What a wonderful story! It has everything I'm looking for in a m/m romance. Hurt/comfort, love, tenderness, smoking hot sex... and cowboys. :) It's the first of Rowan Speedwell's books I've read and surely it has not been the last. Her skill in writing broken humans is awesome. Her poesy is unique and I really loved it. While reading the story I was gripped with the trauma Joshua has gone through. He's a man struggling with life, who thinks he is worthless. But when he meets Eli his wounds begin to heal. Eli is a compassionate man who wants nothing more than to save Josh’s soul. No matter what happens – and there's a lot that happens – he's not giving up on fighting for their love. Oh, and I loved the supporting characters Uncle Tucker and Sarafina. Their romance is so cute... I couldn't stop smiling when I read their happy ending. Josh's dancing beneath the waterfall is breathtaking. It's definitely one of the best scenes: ... And he kept dancing, but not the simple steps he had been using with Eli. He put one hand out to the side, and pressed the other against his belly, and danced, singing the words out loud. He picked up the beat, too, so that the music was spilling out of him, fast and rich, his body moving in the complex rhythm. Eli could almost hear the drums behind the voice. Joshua shot Eli a quick grin, then took a couple of quick steps so that he was dancing directly beneath the little waterfall that fell from the canyon wall. He was singing something about water, about love running like water, and dancing as if his soul were on fire. He was so beautiful Eli almost wept. He came out of the waterfall as he finished the song, walking straight for Eli, taking him into his arms and kissing him, hot and fierce. Eli closed his eyes, and fell. And I fell with Eli... :) Love, like water... Highly recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    I’m having a very hard time trying NOT to rate this 5 stars! Simply because… Eli. He was such a wonderful guy, a man you’d want to be friends with. A horse whisperer in the truest sense of the words. Guys like him can even pull of the ‘healing love’ trope. Joshua Chastain is an FBI agent who just came out of a three year undercover mission with a drug dealing street gang. The things he’s done, plus his heroin addiction, are rendering him unfit to continue working for the FBI. Wasted away to a skin I’m having a very hard time trying NOT to rate this 5 stars! Simply because… Eli. He was such a wonderful guy, a man you’d want to be friends with. A horse whisperer in the truest sense of the words. Guys like him can even pull of the ‘healing love’ trope. Joshua Chastain is an FBI agent who just came out of a three year undercover mission with a drug dealing street gang. The things he’s done, plus his heroin addiction, are rendering him unfit to continue working for the FBI. Wasted away to a skinny shell of a man after rehab and having nowhere else to go (mainly just wanting to find a quiet corner to die in), he accepts his uncle’s offer to help him run the ‘Triple C’ ranch – a place he’s last seen when he was eleven years old. Arriving in the remote town in New Mexico, he meets his uncle’s patchwork ‘family’ consisting of his cook Sarafina, her son Jesse and the many hands helping with the ranch. One of them, Elian Kelly, is a soft spoken cowboy who mainly deals with abused horses. And Joshua being a skittish, depressed man who is haunted by many demons, Eli takes him under his wing, hoping that life in the countryside will do him good. Eli doesn’t know that Joshua needs to take a much deeper fall before he can overcome his darkness… This story is really amazing. I liked both Eli and Joshua. Both guys go through hell in this story (which is always a big plus when I am judging a book). Both guys find love with each other. And both guys have to overcome their inner barriers before they are a true match for each other. Still, a couple of things felt awkward, which is why I should be rating this 4.5 stars instead of the full 5. For one thing, Joshua’s heroin addiction was depicted in a very strange way. Sometimes it was there, then it wasn’t present at all. Later on, it became an issue again. Almost like a light switch that you only push when needed. I also found it pretty hard to stomach that Joshua wasn’t there for Eli when he needed him most. Sure, he had things to work through, but couldn’t they wait until AFTER?! And the one big tragedy that most of the psychological issues drew from dissolves into thin air at the very end. I mean, WTF? Just when we have made peace with it, it was all for nothing?? And sorry for sounding totally superficial, but what was up with their first sex scene? I mean, how awkward was that?? Who does that?? LOL. I’ll shut up now, because it got better after that, but wow, that was sure a bummer, just when they finally made it that far after dancing around each other for so long… Still, I mean, Elian Kelly! Gosh! 5 stars!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kazza

    The water ran from the sides of his mouth. Eli set the bottle down carefully and held Josh in his lap under the silver blanket, waiting helplessly, his heart breaking. "Oh, baby boy," he whispered, "don't do this to me. No me hagas esto, mijo. Please don't. Please don't." I have never read any of Rowan Speedwell's books before so I didn't know what to expect. However, I really liked the premise for this one. Was I in for some kind of ride!! I have officially fallen completely and utterly in l The water ran from the sides of his mouth. Eli set the bottle down carefully and held Josh in his lap under the silver blanket, waiting helplessly, his heart breaking. "Oh, baby boy," he whispered, "don't do this to me. No me hagas esto, mijo. Please don't. Please don't." I have never read any of Rowan Speedwell's books before so I didn't know what to expect. However, I really liked the premise for this one. Was I in for some kind of ride!! I have officially fallen completely and utterly in love with Elian Kelly, and I have the hots for Joshua Chastain as well - not to mention my heart broke for him. I have a ridiculous number of status updates on this book, so if you want to get a feel from them...they're there. If you like turbo-angst. If you like a broken character If you like a cowboy (Do I need to add anymore to that sentence?) If you like a character that is full of support and caring...and is a cowboy If you like the idea of family caring for one of their own If you like a good plot If you like angry sex, sexy sex, sex in places you can get caught - but never gratuitous, and just right for the plot to sex ratio If you like the sound of, as Eli does, a man dancing for you under a waterfall in a sexy Latino way If you like horses (I love them) If you like a slow build and then, BAM, explosive sex (Yeah, I know, sex again) If you like understated but country style humour If you like something that will keep the pages turning If you like the fact that a book takes you in a direction you didn't think it would Then read Love, Like Water. I loved this book, I adored the MC's. I even loved secondary characters, barring those who deserved my total and utter disdain, as it should be. What. A. Good. Book. Proper review at On Top Down Under Book Reviews http://ontopdownunderbookreviews.com/...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather C

    I've been waiting so long for another Rowan Speedwell book that I snatched this one up for review without even reading the blurb! I may have been more hesitant at choosing this if I had snuck a peak first since I'm not usually a huge fan of cowboy stories....normally. Beautiful! I know I probably sound a little lame, but that's the only word I can articulate right now. The beauty of this story has left me speechless! So, please bear with me while I blather on... Joshua Chastain has come to I've been waiting so long for another Rowan Speedwell book that I snatched this one up for review without even reading the blurb! I may have been more hesitant at choosing this if I had snuck a peak first since I'm not usually a huge fan of cowboy stories....normally. Beautiful! I know I probably sound a little lame, but that's the only word I can articulate right now. The beauty of this story has left me speechless! So, please bear with me while I blather on... Joshua Chastain has come to his Uncle Tucker's horse ranch to get a new start in life following a horrific undercover assignment that has left him broken and drug addicted. There, he meets Elian Kelly, the ranch foreman with a specialty in helping abused and traumatized horses. Eli immediately takes a liking to Josh and is determined to help him mend just like any other horse on the ranch. Oh, but what is to be done about that slow boiling attraction between them? I loved everything about this story. I said it earlier, and I will say it again...it was beautiful. Rowan, as always, did an amazing job of giving us a broken, traumatized hero, barely living, who is then brought back to life through love and the power of a relationship with another man. And Eli was the perfect man for the job. Their HEA didn't come easy, and it got really, really angsty there for a bit. There were a few scenes near the end that had my chest tight and made me want to scream! I felt for both of these characters sooooo much...they were so real to me. Other things I loved: The Pace: This was not a fast paced story. No, it was a slow, meandering journey, and I couldn't tear myself away. So, it actually ended up being a very fast read for me. The Sexual Tension: I was especially hooked in by all the sexual tension. So no, the romance was definitely not rushed. Plus, it was resolved by some very hot, passionate sex...outdoor sex...near public sex... Josh and Eli were HOT! The Uncle: Uncle Tucker was awesome!! One of the funniest old cowboys...ever! The Imagery: Lots of beautiful New Mexican landscape... The Horses: I know absolutely nothing about horses, but all the horse talk didn't bother me, and I actually found it interesting. Not sure of the accuracy but it all sounded good to me. The Epilogue: I will just say that this had one of the best epilogues in all my romance reading history. Now I want a follow-up! I easily give this 5 Stars. Recommended. Reviewed for The Blog of Sid Love

  9. 5 out of 5

    Macky

    To be honest there are so many high rated reviews out there that echo my exact thoughts about this truly lovely story that I could quite easily have just said read those but this is one of those emotionally charged books that once I'd finished reading it, left me with that " Wow, that was amazing " feeling and how can you not want to share that. Its a slow burner so don't expect insta love and 'wham bam thank you man ' bed hopping scenes every other page because its not going to happen. What you To be honest there are so many high rated reviews out there that echo my exact thoughts about this truly lovely story that I could quite easily have just said read those but this is one of those emotionally charged books that once I'd finished reading it, left me with that " Wow, that was amazing " feeling and how can you not want to share that. Its a slow burner so don't expect insta love and 'wham bam thank you man ' bed hopping scenes every other page because its not going to happen. What you get is a beautifully written story of a man completely broken because of a horrific undercover operation that has left him guilt ridden and suffering the awful after effects of a forced heroin addiction that he's left fighting every day. Things are so heartbreaking at the beginning that you just can't fathom how he'll ever get over it. When he's sent to stay at his Uncle Tucks ranch he's emotionless, undernourished and barely a shadow of the man he once was. Then Eli enters the scene. Lovely, patient,gentle Eli, with his quiet aura and caring nature. He sees this emotionally and physically battered man and in the same way that he's drawn to the neglected horses that he and Tuck care for on the ranch, so he's drawn to Joshua and from then on the healing begins but its far from an easy journey for either of them. Joshua is carrying so much emotional baggage that for a while no one can get through to him until he does something that shakes both Eli and Tuck pretty badly. Its at this point that Eli realises just how much Joshua means to him and it was from this point onwards that it became a 5 star plus story for me. I really loved it. Its heartrending but its also a beautiful love story and whether you like angst with your stories or not I thought this one was balanced perfectly. All the supporting characters are vivid and give the story extra depth and I know Eli and Joshua are the true MC's but in my opinion Uncle Tuck was just as much a lead character as they were and deserves a special mention. He was one of the standouts for me. There were many beautiful moments in this book but I think the one that I loved the most was when Joshua danced for Eli at the waterfall. That was truly special. Thank you Rowan for this poignant but gorgeous story I recommend it highly.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    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 reso 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 ~

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kade Boehme

    *le sigh* I don't think it's possible for Rowan Speedwell to disappoint me. And then she used cowboys on top of it *happy shivers* Speedwell is such a master at writing broken human beings and even more genius at putting them back together. Her stories are flawless, man. From the poetic way she writes (that still manages not to be too flowery, still masculine in voice) to the way you just care for the characters. Oh and good lord does she do her research and noone uses their knowledge in a less *le sigh* I don't think it's possible for Rowan Speedwell to disappoint me. And then she used cowboys on top of it *happy shivers* Speedwell is such a master at writing broken human beings and even more genius at putting them back together. Her stories are flawless, man. From the poetic way she writes (that still manages not to be too flowery, still masculine in voice) to the way you just care for the characters. Oh and good lord does she do her research and noone uses their knowledge in a less patronizing way nor does it ever feel heavy handed. This is why it pays to take your time putting out a novel. She does the research, keeps her prose tight and creates magic. This is what being a great writer is all a out. Kudos. (No one has ever made me lose my shit with just ONE line --- the very last line of Finding Zach. OMG. I can't.) Anyways... Thank you so much Rowan. I loved this and Josh and Eli just had me from effing hello, man. Er.... Two niggles before I go... 1) OMG I could have made a drinking game out of the use of "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ" by Eli and Uncle Tucker... And I'd've gotten shitfaced pretty quick. Like... Balls to the wall hammered. But I digress... And the wowzer overuse of Spanish by the effing white dude! I, for the longest time, kept thinking Eli was the Hispanic one of the pair of them rather than Josh. But that was really not a huge deal... Just made me giggle a few times 2) The big one. I don't wish it to seem I'm singling out this author whom I genuinely adore... My pet peeve above all pet peeves in the M/M genre when female writers are at the helm (and yes, out of the hundreds I've read y'all are the only ones who do shit like this so I'm not singling out Rowan here): this phrase: "the pickups that were part and parcel of any gay man's life". That phrase I read in variation in these books ALL the time and I always leave the note "part and parcel of ANY man's life" ... Hookups are not a part of "The Gay", nor is it an epidemic among gay men... Everything with a dick sticks it in as many things as it likes until the old ball and chain comes along (<--- and I made my point over how offensive it was when your hackles rose seeing that generalization). So can we please stop this? Can we just say "he liked to hook up like ANY MAN his age" and stop feeding into gays being so promiscuous. Your boyfriend probably scored as much tail before he met you as my last boyfriend did so let's cool this. I'm quite tired of this intolerance that's hidden by the mistaken view just bc you write gay romance you're actually tolerant. That's like saying a man writing m/f erotica can't be a sexist and we all know that's not true at all. (And no I don't mean all female writers do this... I'm just saying they're the only published MM writers I've SEEN make this generalization AD NAUSEUM) /rant Those things do NOT reflect the overall book (tho I do really suggest the drinking game with "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ"... A bottle of vodka and this book would make for a wild night). I absolutely loved it as I have everything else Rowan has done. Try as the may, None shall surpass you ever, ma'am, in the hurt/comfort story. Kudos and 5 stars!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    I could listen to K.C. Kelly recite the phone book and I think I would be in heaven. DAMN he had a perfect voice for this book! I'm not sure if he is Hispanic or Native American but he had that soulful, deep, perfectly accented tone to his voice that fit this book like a glove. I love Rowan Speedwell. She consistently and artfully produces stories that never fail to touch me. This one was no different. Admittedly, cowboys are not my thing and neither are guys in the closet. However, this one work I could listen to K.C. Kelly recite the phone book and I think I would be in heaven. DAMN he had a perfect voice for this book! I'm not sure if he is Hispanic or Native American but he had that soulful, deep, perfectly accented tone to his voice that fit this book like a glove. I love Rowan Speedwell. She consistently and artfully produces stories that never fail to touch me. This one was no different. Admittedly, cowboys are not my thing and neither are guys in the closet. However, this one worked for me. I enjoyed the slow burn relationship between the two MCs and the angst in this book. What? I love being emotionally shredded! However, I thought that Joshua was a bit too stubborn and pig-headed for me to fully relate to him. I wanted more from his character, more something. He went back and forth with his feelings so often that I got whiplash. And while I certainly felt the beginnings of love between him and Eli, I felt like the romance could have used more marinating. I probably would have given this book 3.5 stars or maybe 3 stars for the content if it wasn't for the spot-on narration that elevated this book to a work of art. I'll be looking for this narrator in the future, you can be sure! **Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

  13. 5 out of 5

    JustJen "Miss Conduct"

    4.5 stars I am a huge fan of the movie, Donnie Brasco, which, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do so. It reminded me so much of Joshua and what he went through being so deep undercover for so long that he had trouble keeping the different persona's separate. What he had seen and endured had changed him into the person he had to be to survive in that setting. Then, he had to forget all of that and somehow return to a "normal" life. Josh basically suffers from a degree of PTSD from be 4.5 stars I am a huge fan of the movie, Donnie Brasco, which, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you do so. It reminded me so much of Joshua and what he went through being so deep undercover for so long that he had trouble keeping the different persona's separate. What he had seen and endured had changed him into the person he had to be to survive in that setting. Then, he had to forget all of that and somehow return to a "normal" life. Josh basically suffers from a degree of PTSD from being undercover in one of the worst gangs in the country. Even though he was connected through his father, he still had to work hard to win their trust, often performing killings and beatings. He even endured a few beatings of his own, as well as a forced addiction to heroin. So, now Josh is out, though the chances are still pretty high someone in the gang world will hear about it. He goes to his uncle's ranch after rehab to recuperate and start over. He's pretty damaged and has a very low opinion of himself, which are the least of his problems. Eli, the ranch foreman who helps retrain and rehabilitate rescued horses, sees Josh as a bit of a rescue and decides he just needs the same treatment. It doesn't always work, but the two become closer, though not right away. Things don't always go so well for Josh and Eli. They hit a few bumps here and there, some pretty large. When they are on the right track though, things are smokin hot. Eli really knows how to handle and give Josh what he needs. Luckily, they realize this is truly the case in the end. This was another wonderful story by Rowan, who is one of my favorite damaged character authors. While this had some sad parts, the happy ones more than make up for it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gigi

    Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I can't remember a character as angst-ridden as poor Joshua is in this book! You name it, he's been through it. He is in desperate need of a caring touch and he eventually finds it in Mr. Perfect, (my description) MC Eli. Could. Not. Love. Eli's. Character. More. This was one of those rare M/M romances for me that became much more about the feelings and comfort between the two MCs than the sexual connection. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love both, a good healthy balan Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I can't remember a character as angst-ridden as poor Joshua is in this book! You name it, he's been through it. He is in desperate need of a caring touch and he eventually finds it in Mr. Perfect, (my description) MC Eli. Could. Not. Love. Eli's. Character. More. This was one of those rare M/M romances for me that became much more about the feelings and comfort between the two MCs than the sexual connection. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love both, a good healthy balance preferably, but I found myself actually skimming over the sex here to get back to the story. For me? That's weird! This was a gut wrenching book to read because of the pain Josh was going through. I also thought he handled a lot of his pain like a giant toddler, but it did give the story some great drama, so there's that too. As a hurt/healing/comfort junkie, this one ranks right up there for me and I can highly recommend it to my fellow junkies. As for as a M/M romance? My opinion is that this really isn't romance material. There are thousands of other books out there to get your romance fix without ripping your guts out with Josh's pain. *shrugs* If you do read it, I certainly hope you enjoy it! I sure did.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mandy*reads obsessively*

    Well, this is a powerful book about redemption, healing and forgiveness. Joshua has had an agonizing three years of undercover work, seeing and doing things no one should have to, he's come to his Uncle Tucker's ranch to heal, both physically and more importantly mentally. The ranch, the animals and especially the foreman Eli are good for Joshua, he starts his road to recovery. Things aren't easy for them, I was frustrated by both of them at times, but I understood. Joshua is complicated and has so Well, this is a powerful book about redemption, healing and forgiveness. Joshua has had an agonizing three years of undercover work, seeing and doing things no one should have to, he's come to his Uncle Tucker's ranch to heal, both physically and more importantly mentally. The ranch, the animals and especially the foreman Eli are good for Joshua, he starts his road to recovery. Things aren't easy for them, I was frustrated by both of them at times, but I understood. Joshua is complicated and has so much baggage and guilt weighing on him he can't think straight a lot of the times. Eli is so patient with everyone and all the animals but his patience somehow fails him at times with Joshua. I very much enjoyed following and accompanying them on their journey towards love... There wasn't the magical healing and all is well, the road is bumpy and rough, full of pitfalls. Joshua needs to forgive himself and love himself again first. but finally by the end they were together on the same road looking at the same place they want to reach- together.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katharina

    4.5 I'm a real sucker for these slow, quiet, emotional stories that wrench your heart with their earnestness and their silence rather than their big action and drama scenes. And this is exactly that kind of book - a story about healing and forgiving yourself and about finding something new when the old is tainted so black it blinds you. Joshua Chastain has gone through hell. As an undercover agent for the FBI he has been part of one of the cruelest gangs of Chicago for three years - and the thing 4.5 I'm a real sucker for these slow, quiet, emotional stories that wrench your heart with their earnestness and their silence rather than their big action and drama scenes. And this is exactly that kind of book - a story about healing and forgiving yourself and about finding something new when the old is tainted so black it blinds you. Joshua Chastain has gone through hell. As an undercover agent for the FBI he has been part of one of the cruelest gangs of Chicago for three years - and the things he did and saw during that time, his guilt and his subsequent self-hatred, have hollowed him out. It doesn't help that the heroin addiction he was forced into still has his grip on him and his drug-mangled body. The ranch of his uncle way out in New Mexico is as good a place as any to be strangled by ghosts or so he figures. What he doesn't expect is that his uncle and his foreman are dead set on helping him heal and they use every trick they've ever learned while working with abused animals. Eli Kelly is foreman on Josh's uncle's ranch and the gaunt shadow he picks up from the bus station is definitely not what he expected the ex-FBI nephew of his boss to be. But he knows an abused creature when he sees one and he will do everything he can to change the dead look in these eyes. Josh is not an easy patient, though, definitely more stubborn, and less predictable than any horse Eli has ever worked with. It's hard to break through the walls of self-contempt that Josh has built, but Eli will have to, because he learns pretty early that not only Josh's heart and life might depend on it. To be honest, I had a few rather minor issues with this story ((view spoiler)[e.g., Josh's never-ending self-doubt frustrated me to no end sometimes- although I kind of get where it is coming from (hide spoiler)] ), but I loved Josh and Eli so much that I can completely overlook that. The writing style in this whole book was perfect for the story, slow and deliberate, and the way people talked (the dialect, the phrasings) seemed authentic. Of course, there was drama involved, which is almost a given with Josh's background, but it felt pretty understated to me. I love how those two worked together, how the reader was invited into the slow healing process, and that not everything was easily resolved and perfect in a few days because of the power of love. Because that's just not how it works in my experience. Great read, very much recommended!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    DaisyGirl

    0.5 Star Wow. This one was a total bust for me. I haven't disliked a book this much in a long time. It wasn't a badly written book. The writing was clear and crisp; and, there weren't any glaring editing errors. I liked the horses and the cat. But, seriously, that was it. I didn't like the characters. Not a one. Joshua was a self-pitying, selfish, jerk IMO. He was immature and inconsiderate. Was he damaged? Hell, yes. Did bad things happen to him? Absolutely. Was he blameless? No. Was he entitled 0.5 Star Wow. This one was a total bust for me. I haven't disliked a book this much in a long time. It wasn't a badly written book. The writing was clear and crisp; and, there weren't any glaring editing errors. I liked the horses and the cat. But, seriously, that was it. I didn't like the characters. Not a one. Joshua was a self-pitying, selfish, jerk IMO. He was immature and inconsiderate. Was he damaged? Hell, yes. Did bad things happen to him? Absolutely. Was he blameless? No. Was he entitled to treat others the way he did? F*ck no! Did he deserve Eli? Not in a million years. Eli was ... a doormat. I hate those. He was a sappy, wussy, push over. Although he deserved better than Josh (because seriously, I wouldn't wish Josh on my worst enemy), he kinda got what he asked for IMO. He pined and pursued and pined and pursued despite Josh being a total jackass for leaving Eli when Eli needed him most. Josh ignored all of Eli's call, texts, and emails. Yet, Eli (yes, you read that correctly, not Josh but Eli) reached out to Josh first to apologize, professes his love, and ask for reconciliation. Hold up. Did I miss something? WTF did Eli apologize for exactly? He did nothing wrong except upset Josh. UGH!!! To make matters worse, Josh didn't apologize for shit! Yup. That's right! Nada, zilch, zip, nothing. Not a thing. Well, at least he was consistent. Josh never - not once - took accountability for any of his decisions regardless of who he hurt or negatively impacted. In fact, everyone practically tripped over themselves to make excuses for his behavior or apologize. Why? Because Josh was "damaged" and they believed that everyone and their mother should be more supportive of him. What. The. Fuck. Ever. Okay, so no apology from Josh. Ever. Fine. But he admitted his love for Eli too, right? Um, nope! Not once. I went back and checked. Ran a search on my Kindle and I can state with 100% certainty that that sorry-excuse-for-a-"hero" didn't tell Eli he loved him. Not once. What a loser. Bottom line: I can't respect a hero that doesn't take responsibility for his actions or inaction. It's part of being an adult. (BTW, so is refraining from engaging in baby-talk unless actually talking to a baby. So saying things like "Uncatuck" is just plain wrong.) Josh was the worst kind of "hero" in my book because there was nothing heroic about him. Everything happened to him. Nothing was his fault. Latent "guilt" over his past misdeeds did not excuse them. Using guilt to act like an insolent jackass was even worse. (BTW, what FBI agent is commended for being a mass murderer? Last I checked, whether a person "deserved" to die remained in the sole purview of a jury.) I'm tired of ranting. You get the picture.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Candice

    2.45 stars While this was a very well written story (and had cowboys), and had a slow burning romance with some angsty parts, there were just some things that I ended up having a problem with that took away from the story. Eli calling Joshua "son", way too many times, made him seem like he was closer to Tucker's age than Joshua's and I just kept picturing an older man in my head, it was just weird. Unfortunately as much as I wanted to enjoy this story, I ended up really disliking Joshua. Especia 2.45 stars While this was a very well written story (and had cowboys), and had a slow burning romance with some angsty parts, there were just some things that I ended up having a problem with that took away from the story. Eli calling Joshua "son", way too many times, made him seem like he was closer to Tucker's age than Joshua's and I just kept picturing an older man in my head, it was just weird. Unfortunately as much as I wanted to enjoy this story, I ended up really disliking Joshua. Especially when he just up and leaves Eli when he really needed him the most. I realize that he had gone through hell, but I really didn't want him to end up with Eli, he just came across to me as a self-absorbed person.

  19. 4 out of 5

    R.J.

    This book has everything. Hurt. Comfort. Love. Lust. The world building of the ranch was perfect and I was so caught up in this story I couldn't put it down. I will certainly be recommending this book to everyone. This book has everything. Hurt. Comfort. Love. Lust. The world building of the ranch was perfect and I was so caught up in this story I couldn't put it down. I will certainly be recommending this book to everyone.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cole Riann

    Review posted at The Armchair Reader. 3.75 stars I’ve been so excited for the release of this book! It’s been a long time since I read something by this author. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read a novel by this author since I read Finding Zach, a book which remains one of my all-time favorite m/m romances. So I knew going into this book from the blurb and from loving that book that this would most likely be an intense read. In some ways it was, but less so than I think I was expecting. But, it did Review posted at The Armchair Reader. 3.75 stars I’ve been so excited for the release of this book! It’s been a long time since I read something by this author. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read a novel by this author since I read Finding Zach, a book which remains one of my all-time favorite m/m romances. So I knew going into this book from the blurb and from loving that book that this would most likely be an intense read. In some ways it was, but less so than I think I was expecting. But, it did live up to my expectations and ended up being a good read. Joshua Chastain is a shade of the man he once was — a strong, confident, healthy and intelligent undercover FBI agent. Those qualities were all taken away from him during his three year undercover mission infiltrating a ruthless and dangerous gang in Chicago that heavily trafficked heroin. And though he did everything he was put there to do — bring down the operation from the inside — he also did other things, made sacrifices to himself and others to get the job done. And now, after leaving the FBI and in rehab for his heroin withdrawal and addiction and the unbelievable depression from his memories of death, Joshua is so far from the man he once was that his family no longer recognizes him. His mother and his uncle Tucker conspire to bring him out to his uncle’s ranch in New Mexico. It’s a place he frequented and loved as a kid, but it’s also the perfect place for him to start to come back to himself. In an ironic twist, the ranch’s main operation is the rehabilitation of abused horses, a program run by Tucker and the ranch’s foreman, Elian Kelly. Eli is more than a foreman to the ranch, but also Tucker’s good friend. And seeing Tuck’s young nephew is heartbreaking. He sees him as a broken man he can try to put back together just like the horses that he has a gift with helping. The fresh air, good and hearty food, and reliable and loving family are what Joshua needs to put the past behind him and learn confidence in himself again. The connection and eventual relationship between Joshua and Eli wasn’t part of the plan. Much of this book was what I was expecting from this book and this author. This is a hurt/comfort story of epic proportions, something that was similar to Rowan Speedwell’s other novel, Finding Zach. Joshua is not much a guy who needs a little rehab, but a severely traumatized person, emotionally, physically and chemically, from his forced addiction to heroin. And Eli is the gentle giant, reliant and safe and perfect in a lot of ways. I mean, this makes for a good setup, something that has worked well for this author in the past. And I liked this couple together. I felt like a lot of time went by setting up the story and I would maybe have liked to get to know Eli and Joshua actually together in their relationship for longer than we got, but they have a crazy amount of chemistry that came through for me, and the dynamic works well for them and goes hand in hand with the setting really well. So the problems that I had with the book didn’t really spoil my enjoyment of the book — it remained something highly enjoyable to read. Maybe it’s that Finding Zach is such a hard book to live up to for me, especially with a character like Joshua who so reminded me of Zach with all of the emotional turmoil he has to work through throughout the book. Still, this wasn’t a perfect read for me. Some of the behavior of the characters seemed a little too… contrived, like the totally happy-go-lucky family atmosphere at the ranch. On the one hand this made the book not overly filled with excess problems but it made Joshua’s problems seem overbalanced in counterpoint, which made their behavior and constant support grating (not their support for Joshua, but just in each other, day to day in the way they act). That probably makes no sense, but I don’t know how to describe it better without making it seem too nitpicky and as if it was a bigger deal than it really was. It just bugged me a bit. The real difficulty I had with the book was the ending. I was hoping that this book wouldn’t end with (view spoiler)[a resurgence of the gang and the men who would obviously love to come after Joshua if he wasn’t so hidden. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. But, I still would have probably preferred the ending to be a bit more subtle. I liked that Eli and Joshua were getting to know each other and work through their problems and I would have admired the story more if it continued in that direction without needing an outside conflict to come in from seemingly nowhere to act as a catalyst for the couple. And the way it was done made it a little worse than that, with the whole gay basher thing having been written so many times. (hide spoiler)] So while I wasn’t quite happy with the ending, I still enjoyed the book and I liked the first half in particular. It really held my interest. The fact that the main character is dealing with a shitload of issues is just something that depends on the reader to like or dislike. I mean, on the one hand it does seem a bit much because poor Joshua’s life just kept going from bad to worse over and over again. So much of whether you like this book or not will depend on how you feel about that kind of character and conflict. In general, I don’t so much like that, but as I said before I was interested in seeing how I liked this one since I did like that kind of conflict in the hands of his author previously. The other early reviews I’ve seen for this book have so far been raving, which is good. I think I’m maybe a little pickier than many other reviewers and that’s fine. Rowan Speedwell remains a great author and I’ll continue to look forward to her books.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This was my first Rowan Speedwell book and I enjoyed the story and writing. Joshua is an FBI agent that has just come out of 3 years in deep cover with a violent gang that left him severely damaged both physically and mentally. He agrees to go to his uncle's ranch to recover and learn the business. Eli is the ranch foreman and a talented horse trainer who immediately sees something in Josh. The romance is a slow burn and Josh has a lot of issues in the way. I was glad to see the plot did not go c This was my first Rowan Speedwell book and I enjoyed the story and writing. Joshua is an FBI agent that has just come out of 3 years in deep cover with a violent gang that left him severely damaged both physically and mentally. He agrees to go to his uncle's ranch to recover and learn the business. Eli is the ranch foreman and a talented horse trainer who immediately sees something in Josh. The romance is a slow burn and Josh has a lot of issues in the way. I was glad to see the plot did not go completely in a way I expected. The secondary characters were all well written and I did feel all the emotions the MC's were being put through. One thing bothering me though is that I wish I would have had a bit more time with Josh and Eli together as a couple outside of just the chemistry drawing them in. Not sure if there are plans for a follow up since the ending left it open for more without all the threads being tied up neatly.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Irina

    Audible This was my much needed rebound romance. Simple, and a little bit mushy, with some angst and suspense to make it more emotional and intriguing, Eli and Joshua's story served well as a distraction from my latest 'moody' reads. I loved the Wild Wild West set up, complete with the cowboys, horses and hot unbearable sun. Eli's talent in soothing horses worked its magic even on me and I got rid of all of my worries while listening to this audiobook. Just what I needed! ***3.7 stars*** Audible This was my much needed rebound romance. Simple, and a little bit mushy, with some angst and suspense to make it more emotional and intriguing, Eli and Joshua's story served well as a distraction from my latest 'moody' reads. I loved the Wild Wild West set up, complete with the cowboys, horses and hot unbearable sun. Eli's talent in soothing horses worked its magic even on me and I got rid of all of my worries while listening to this audiobook. Just what I needed! ***3.7 stars***

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    3.5 stars This was one of those stories that had me loving it, it was absolutely love. until….something happened in the story and then I was left with WTF are you doing? Don’t do that! No stop acting like a jerk!! But does he listen? NOOOOO…he just acts like more of a jerk….damn it. But, let’s back up a bit… Like the blurb states Joshua is trying to recover from 3 years of being undercover, which got him hooked on heroine. So his mother sends him to live with his uncle Tuck on his farm, Joshua cal 3.5 stars This was one of those stories that had me loving it, it was absolutely love. until….something happened in the story and then I was left with WTF are you doing? Don’t do that! No stop acting like a jerk!! But does he listen? NOOOOO…he just acts like more of a jerk….damn it. But, let’s back up a bit… Like the blurb states Joshua is trying to recover from 3 years of being undercover, which got him hooked on heroine. So his mother sends him to live with his uncle Tuck on his farm, Joshua calls him “uncatuk” (how cute is that). Joshua is broken, beaten down, way to thin and freshly through detox. And of course there are the nightmare memories and guilt that he can’t shake. My heart absolutely broke for Joshua. When Joshua gets off the bus he meets his ride, the farm foreman Eli. Now Eli is your basic, soft spoken, gentle soul, sexy as hell, can I just stare into your eyes forever, cowboy. Am I drooling? I think maybe I am a little. LOL. I loved the pace of this story, I enjoyed watching Joshua slowly start to heal and open up. How he eventually started to relax around his uncle Tucker and the others on the ranch. And then Joshua finds himself attracted to Eli, is he gay? is there a chance? Oh my romantic heart just started getting all warm and fuzzy. *sigh* What was hard to witness was Joshua’s lack of self confidence and his low self worth. That despite having people around him who cared and were constantly trying to get him to see himself differently, he just never could. Ultimately this is what caused his reaction that so had me pulling out my hair. And while I could understand some of this, I couldn’t accept it all. So my love of this story just started to wane. So when I finally reached the end, I was feeling unfulfilled. I loved Uncle Tuck and the housekeeper Sarafina, I loved the ranch, the entire place gave me a feeling of rest and healing. I think the author is a gifted writer, her descriptions of the surrounding area and the farm put pictures in my head I wanted to visit. I could see the farm, the horses, the waterfall, I could almost feel the hot wind on my face. Overall, a very good read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    Smoldering spirit. Raw recovery. Patchy poise. I was instantly captivated with this pair of smexy cowboys. My heart bled for Josh... I wanted to pull him right out of my kindle and crush him in a breath-stealing hug. I saw the burn begin between him and Eli, and I was sold. Couldn't wait to see things catch fire. Joshua~ Broken. Depressed. A far-cry-from-whole Joshua. He is a prime example of how even the bravest and strongest of men can fall to pieces, lose themselves, and struggle to hold onto li Smoldering spirit. Raw recovery. Patchy poise. I was instantly captivated with this pair of smexy cowboys. My heart bled for Josh... I wanted to pull him right out of my kindle and crush him in a breath-stealing hug. I saw the burn begin between him and Eli, and I was sold. Couldn't wait to see things catch fire. Joshua~ Broken. Depressed. A far-cry-from-whole Joshua. He is a prime example of how even the bravest and strongest of men can fall to pieces, lose themselves, and struggle to hold onto life. Deep undercover FBI agent, he infiltrates a ruthless gang in Chicago, and was dominated into a heroin addiction to maintain his loyalty. Enslaved by his ravenous need for the smooth fix of the illicit narcotics, his hand was forced in unforgivable ways. By the time he was freed from his prisoners, only his battered shadow remained. His mother convinces him to find solace at his Uncle’s ranch in New Mexico; hoping to shake the demons from his past and try to find a way forgive himself and want to move forward. Eli Kelly~ Typical man of the earth. Through-and-through cowboy from his hat to his boots. Also happens to be gay. Truth, honor and respect run deep in his blood and his gentle soothing words wash over Joshua with the same effect he has on spooked and wild horses. He sees past the junkie, past the scars, and the shell of the man that came to ranch and yearns to restore and protect the man inside. The waterfall...*sigh*...you must read this if only for this unforgettable scene. I am still struggling to put my finger on where things fell apart for me, because it began with such great potential. I was consumed with desperation to help Joshua, I ached for him and I truly felt a solid connection to him. I can only conclude there too much of waiting to get ‘there’ and then not enough time spent on 'it' once we got there. Beginning gradually and the first half of the book was spent on catching up on history and getting to know both men. Boom, things explode in a hot sweaty fusion of skin and things are good. Their happiness is brief, too brief for my liking and tragedy hits. Poor Josh is still too fragile and caves under the pressure of his own head. So, for me I felt like… 50% of their journey was cautious, slow and informative. 20% was passion and frankly the ‘good stuff’. 20% was shattering, frustrating and upsetting. Then the final 10% was prep for the follow up story. Yes, yes I like Uncatuck and Sarafina and Jesse too, but honestly I wanted one more tender moment, unsaid promises and a (view spoiler)[ steamy passion-filled love scene erasing some of the pain...the rough/against the hospital room door just wasn't enough for me. Call me crazy, or needy but I wanted more... (hide spoiler)] Sense of balance was way off for me. I don’t mind slow and steady as long as the end result is satisfying. As much as I adored Eli and Josh, I couldn’t help feeling gypped with the end result of their love affair. Ohhh, and the honky-tonk slang was slightly overpowering, endearing at first but proved to be too much for my taste. And the constant 'Jesus Christ' 'Jesus H. Christ' 'Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ'...well, it was almost distracting at times... All bitching aside, I did enjoy it. I am a sucker for a broken man put back together with the love of another man. Even though I had my issues, I imagine I will seek out the next book when the time comes. *3 mellow-mending-missing stars*

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mercedes

    3.5 stars This is an OK story about a messed up guy and the guy who saves him. Joshua makes it to his uncle's ranch after spending three years as an undercover FBI agent in a Chicago gang. This assignment has left him completely messed up in the head. He is a recovering heroine addict and has many regrets and nightmares about his experiences while undercover. At the ranch he meets Eli Kelly who works rescuing horses who have been abused in the past. You can guess what follows: Eli "rescues" Josh w 3.5 stars This is an OK story about a messed up guy and the guy who saves him. Joshua makes it to his uncle's ranch after spending three years as an undercover FBI agent in a Chicago gang. This assignment has left him completely messed up in the head. He is a recovering heroine addict and has many regrets and nightmares about his experiences while undercover. At the ranch he meets Eli Kelly who works rescuing horses who have been abused in the past. You can guess what follows: Eli "rescues" Josh with his gentle voice and manners and the parallels between the work gentling horses and Josh are everywhere. Be prepared to "spend" a fair amount of this book at the hospital. Three different characters make it to the hospital at three different times during the narrative. This made it seemed like an abused plot device to create drama and conflict resolution. This was an enjoyable read to me as I love reading books about messed up guys. If Eli had been less perfect I probably would have enjoyed it more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ❧ *´¸. A BookishBerkeleyGirl ❧ ‘•´¸.* ❧ Gwendolyn

    3 Stars This was a CRAZY TEARFUL journey....yet, the romance was captivating.I enjoyed it, My only and BIG niggle was......the melodrama...was a bit much.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book could have been great. I loved the first half and had great expectations of the second half. But there were some things that made me like this book less. Joshua has come to his uncle’s ranch to recover from the last 3 years. He is a former FBI agent who has been undercover in a gang for the past 3 years. He had to kill people and got addicted when heroin was forced on him. So not only did he have nightmares, but he had an addiction to get over. It is there that he meets Eli, the foreman This book could have been great. I loved the first half and had great expectations of the second half. But there were some things that made me like this book less. Joshua has come to his uncle’s ranch to recover from the last 3 years. He is a former FBI agent who has been undercover in a gang for the past 3 years. He had to kill people and got addicted when heroin was forced on him. So not only did he have nightmares, but he had an addiction to get over. It is there that he meets Eli, the foreman of the ranch. Josh reminds Eli of one of the scared, rescued horses they work with, so he knows a thing or to how to act with caution. The two form a friendship and when they find out they are both gay, nothing stands in their way of a relationship. Except the demons Joshua’s battles daily.. --Minor spoilers ahead-- The part of this book where we get to know Joshua and what happened to him was really well done. My heart went out to him and I admired his strength. He was just so sad. The tentative friendship between Josh and Eli was amazing. I was totally on board with the sweet way Eli handled Josh and his issues. But my main problem with this book was the relationship itself. As soon as these two share a first kiss I felt they were rushing everything. Especially their first time having sex. It was kind of over before I knew it. I was anticipating something more. And then the ‘event’ that leads to Josh thinking he was not good enough for Eli and the resulting break up. It could have worked for me, really. I am not opposed to all angsty stuff. But I felt their relationship was not established enough for something that big to happen yet. A large part of this book is these guys getting to know each other, a very small part is their relationship and the other big part is their time apart. I felt like they had just started, and bam, it was over. There is a HEA, but after all the pain they both endured, I was not happy when their big make up moment was nothing more than a few sentences said to each other. It just wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be after such a promising start..

  28. 4 out of 5

    Awilk -never sleeps-

    I am developing a love/hate relationship with Rowan Speedwell. I enjoy the writing, and the subjects this author covers are interesting and a little different, but the books never quiet go to the depths that I wish they would. In this book, Josh, has moved to his uncles ranch to heal from the effects of a long term undercover operation. He is suffering from PTSD and the fact that he was involuntarily addicted to heroin. I felt that we could of seen more of how he struggled. Eli was the perfect cow I am developing a love/hate relationship with Rowan Speedwell. I enjoy the writing, and the subjects this author covers are interesting and a little different, but the books never quiet go to the depths that I wish they would. In this book, Josh, has moved to his uncles ranch to heal from the effects of a long term undercover operation. He is suffering from PTSD and the fact that he was involuntarily addicted to heroin. I felt that we could of seen more of how he struggled. Eli was the perfect cowboy, and partner for Josh. He was patient and kind, the perfect man for someone with the problems that Josh faced. The was a nice slow build up to the relationship between these two men. It felt right to me that they wouldn't just jump into bed. I enjoyed the secondary characters very much. They added to the story without taking away from the main story line. All in all I enjoyed this very much, I just wish that there had been a little more about Josh and his struggles to find himself again.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tully Vincent

    Enjoyable book, I liked both of the MC and also the secondary characters (and secondary romance :-) This is my second book by this author and I favor this one by far over the first, "Finding Zach", mainly because there were just two POV characters in this one and lots (too many for me) in the first. Also, I really enjoy listening to K.C. Kelly. Excellent narrator. 4.75 stars rounded up. Enjoyable book, I liked both of the MC and also the secondary characters (and secondary romance :-) This is my second book by this author and I favor this one by far over the first, "Finding Zach", mainly because there were just two POV characters in this one and lots (too many for me) in the first. Also, I really enjoy listening to K.C. Kelly. Excellent narrator. 4.75 stars rounded up.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Passick Lumsden

    I liked it, but I also kinda hated it. The constant stubborn assholery from Josh grated on my nerves. Would have been better with a wee bit less frustrating melodrama, and perhaps a little better chemistry. Removed from Kindle

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.