I loved the progression of the relationship between January and Hawk in this book. It boils down to “one-night stand” to “sexy weekend fling” to “casually meeting up across the country” to “oops, I think we’re dating” to “okay, I guess we’re in love and all-in now.” This arc includes plenty of highs and lows, the right amount of heat and spice, and a few stunning reveals and twists. The book is on the longer side, but I never felt that the story dragged or what I was reading could have been left on the editing room floor.
The novel Wrecked by the same authors is set earlier in the same universe, though both can be read as a stand-alone. I appreciated that I was lucky enough with my reading choices to read them in order because it was lovely to see Sky and Beck again, and it emphasized the danger that Hawk faces every time he’s in the arena. For how many books I’ve read by these authors featuring rodeo cowboys, this is the first one that features any actual rodeoing! Despite little to no knowledge of the sport, I was always swept up in the drama of the rides and never felt lost or like I didn’t understand what was going on. I still think it’s hilarious that I’m not into sports romances or cowboy romances, but that I’m delighted by the “cowboy-sport” romances by these particular authors!
From reading those rodeo romances, I thought I knew what the dark moment of this novel would be. However, Payne and Tortuga must have thought that would be too much to put Hawk through, considering his other hurdles. I was not prepared for the moment that came out of left field, even though the clues leading up to it were obvious in retrospect. It may have been brutal and hit me in all the feels, but it was the perfect catalyst for how January and Hawk finally get to their “all-in.”
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.