A last-minute conference cancellation is the perfect opportunity for veterinarian Haley Jones to come home earlier than planned. The perfect opportunity to surprise her girlfriend of five years with a homemade birthday breakfast and a proposal. Unfortunately, Haley is the one surprised when she arrives home, groceries and ring in hand, to find her girlfriend in bed with another woman.
Needing to mend her broken heart, Haley leaves England to visit her identical twin sister in San Francisco. Another curve ball is thrown her way when she arrives to find her sister has married over the weekend in a whirlwind romance, and now has new family obligations to attend to. Left to her own devices, a stranger in a new city, she accepts an invitation for a night out on the town. Letting loose and armed with a temporary alter ego, Haley draws the attention of an alluring cowgirl.
Dani is in San Francisco on business trying to acquire new clients for her ranch. Having walked away from her education and her past love to save the family property, she puts everything she has into ensuring its success. Business responsibilities taken care of, she heads to a local club for some fun. Inexorably drawn to a stunning woman on the dance floor, Dani cuts in for a steamy dance with Haley culminating in an off the charts one-night stand.
After the incredible evening, both women are left with lingering regrets. Not for the night of unbridled passion, rather for the singularity of it. Fate will reintroduce the women, but can they overcome their emotional barriers and embrace their happily ever after?
Brison has developed wonderfully layered and complex characters each with their own emotional scars. Watching them both wrestle with their emotions and ghosts as they try to overcome trepidation and grasp the possibility of happiness really connected me to the characters.
Haley had given up so much for love but was rewarded with the ultimate betrayal. She is guarded with her emotions and hesitant to repeat the mistakes of her past. It is easy to understand her reluctance to surrender all that she has worked for in life once again, even though her attraction to Dani is powerful. Her internal struggle between her desire and love for Dani and refusal to repeat the past is angsty and heart wrenching. She just wants someone to put her first.
Dani is the quintessential cowgirl. She is hardworking and driven. Once a competitive barrel race rider, she has traded in her saddle, education and girlfriend to save the family ranch. Fully committed to her dream of turning it into a tourist hotspot, she has had little time, or desire for love, preferring single night dalliances to long term commitment. But there is something about Haley she can’t deny. It is hard not to admire her commitment to both her family and her dream and as a reader, you yearn for her to take the plunge with Haley. I truly enjoyed watching her arc progress to finally acknowledging that love is really what matters most.
The Writing Style
The book is relatively well paced and doesn’t dwell in a particular mood for too long. The tension and angst are well mingled with comedy and heartwarming joy.
The story is told via first person narrative from the point of view of both Haley and Dani in alternating chapters. This really allows their personalities to shine through and draws you into their inner turmoil. I really enjoyed seeing the story through their eyes especially witnessing the beauty of the Wyoming landscape from the perspective of someone seeing it for the first time.
And speaking of landscape, the most striking stylistic aspect for me is the wonderfully descriptive language Brison uses in her descriptions of the Wyoming countryside. Having backpacked through the Teton Mountains myself, I can attest to how well she captures the beauty of the scenery.
Every now and then I like to let my hair down (so to speak) as a reader and read something that is simply heartwarming and enjoyable. This book definitely fills that need. The plot is not overly complex, but is believable and entertaining. The tension at times is palpable but is well balanced with a lot of humour and romance. There is also a healthy smattering of insights into the rodeo world, specifically barrel racing which I found extremely interesting.
The copy provided was an ARC so I am not certain if these were fixed before release, but there are some grammatical and spelling errors which I did find mildly disruptive as the language, for the most part is beautifully written. Also, be aware that the book does begin with the main character discovering her longtime girlfriend cheating on her if that is a topic you wish to avoid.
Brison has written a wonderfully entertaining and heartwarming story. If you’re looking to tickle your fancy with the perfect cowgirl romance, this is one rodeo you don’t want to miss!
Excerpt from Unbridled by Fox Brison
“Yes.” Dani pulled me into a darkened corner and her calloused finger set off an arousal chain reaction as she stroked from the top of my shoulder down to the tips of my fingers. I had no control over my body as it succumbed to her touch; my nipples tightened, my breath hitched, the colour in my cheeks heightened and the tingle in my core quickly became an ache that only this woman could cure. It was apparent that Dani wasn’t only a regular visitor to the rodeo, she owned a whole chain of them. Lowering her head she feathered my lips, gently at first, almost chastely, but that lasted all of about, oh, naught point two seconds before our tongues engaged in an excited game of tag.
I have a hotel room not far from here,” she said nibbling on my ear, whilst grabbing my thigh which I was trying to wrap around her waist.
“Yes,” the one word dripped with yearning, the kind of which I’d only read about. Dani took me by the hand and essentially dragged me out of the club and into a waiting taxi. If Badlands cowgirl was her alter ego, she had it down pat. I wanted to jump her as soon as we pulled away, but I didn’t.
Damn me and my English reserve.
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Bits and Bobs
- ASIN number: B06Y2K95ZM
- Publisher: Bold Fox Publishing
Fox Brison Online
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