“All I have to offer you is my word, which isn’t something I give without thought, but I’m giving that to you now. I’ve never broken my word once in my life, darlin’. We’re both findin’ our way here, but we will do that together and without holding back.”
Alpha cowboy romance fans, this is a book you’ll want to check out!
The story was about Maverick and Leighton who’d grown up together in the same town. Ten years ago, he’d left everything behind to pursue his dream. He was born to ride and over the years had become the biggest name in professional bull riding. However, unfortunately such accomplishment came with a heavy price and when he suffered one too many injuries, the doctor told him that even one more major fall would likely end his life and he was forced to cut his career short and face the past that he’d been running away from for so many years.
Everything I’ve worked for, gone.
Everything I had ever dreamed of, vanished.
I had every single thing I ever wanted in the palm of my hand. Riding was all I ever needed, and now that it’s gone, the only thing I have left to show for my broken dreams is a fat bank account, buckles thrown carelessly in the backseat, a duffle bag of clothing, and one fucked-up body.
See when he’d left his hometown, he hadn’t only left behind his abusive childhood, he also left the only woman he’d ever truly cared about. As they became teens together, she’d crushed hard on him but in a desperate and stupid attempt to cut things off with her before she hurt him, he’d wounded her heart first. They’d left on painful terms and the guilt over his actions had eaten away at him ever since but even still he couldn’t bring himself to return to his hometown because facing her again also meant facing his father and that was one thing he absolutely could not do.
I used my words to cause enough damage to ensure that I would never have the one thing that would keep me in this town and away from my dreams.
Only now I know that those dreams means nothing without her to share them with. I gave up one thing to chase the other, and right now I’m just praying I’m not too late to fix the mistakes of my past.
But when his father died and his career was cut short, he was called back to his home. Returning opened a lot of fresh wounds but it also brought him back to the only woman he’d ever cared so deeply for. And now it was up to him to make amends, open up, and show her the truth of his past and how much she meant to him.
Now… I’m not gonna lie — in the beginning of this book, Maverick is an absolute Asshole (with a capital A). I don’t know why but I kind of assumed he’d just be an all-round swoony guy but seriously the things he said and did just made me livid!! And I kind of wished that she’d have called him on his shit a little more strongly. Luckily, she did stand up to him a fair bit as the story went on but still — I was a little annoyed with them in the first half of the book even though I was really enjoying my read.
… cursing my boobs when I notice his eyes drop to where I’m sure they’re spilling out the top of my dress.
“My eyes are up here, cowboy,” I snap and drop my arms to point to my face. “Have a little respect.”
“Well, darlin’, if you didn’t want someone to look, maybe you should cover ourself. You put it out there, I’m gonna look.”
“You’re an asshole,” I fume.
But I’ll say thing — even though it took him a long damn time to come to his senses, open up, and apologize, I have to admit that when he did finally work up to it, his grovel was pretty epic. We’re talking like several pages long here. And after that, he kind of did a 180 and spun into the more of the swoony character I’d expected him to be at the start, so it was hard not to forgive him. Especially when he said things like this….
“Are you asking me to go steady, Maverick?” I laugh, swallowing down the emotion climbing up my throat at his words, trying to lighten the mood, but the seriousness in his expression makes me trail off until I’m just left staring into his eyes.
“I’m askin’ you to give me a chance to make you mine. I’m prayin’ you’ll give me that so I can prove to you that I deserve to, how did you put it? Go steady.”
He may have been an asshole at times and she may have been a bit of a pushover but people aren’t perfect and the one thing that became undeniably clear as the story went on was that they were it for each other. Over the years, despite the pain, separation, and hurt, neither one of them had ever considered sharing their lives with anyone else. (Side note: I really loved that there were no other romantic entanglements or evil ex’s). So it was just a matter of working through a decade’s worth of unresolved baggage to get the happily ever after they both deserved.
“I can’t fix the past. I can’t erase it, no matter how hard I wish I could. Hell, I can’t even promise that I’ll ever be able to forget it. The only thing i can do is make sure that each day I live is worth somethin’, from this day forward. I could spend the rest of my life stuck livin’ for nothin’, or I could work my ass off to make sure that I make up for my past mistakes, so I can make sure they become mistakes I learn from and finally find a way to live for everythin’.”
So when he finally pulled his head out of his ass and decided to make amends, show how sorry he was, earn back her trust, and win her heart, there was nothing stopping him from going all the way. And from this point on, I was definitely feeling the feels. I wish he hadn’t spent quite so much time in asshole-mode though in the beginning because some of the stuff he’d said was pretty hard for me to forget or forgive, but I did believe that he was genuine about wanting to try again so as a reader, I was willing to give him a second chance to prove himself.
And prove himself he certainly did. With flying colors. He turned into a right proper swoon-machine. It was hard not to fall for him after this point despite his transgressions because you could really feel his sincerity. I have to give the man the man credit for turning his attitude and life around. I believe anyone can change and when he decided to become better for her, he accomplished that all the way and turned into the kind of swoony Alpha I love to read.
“Let’s get something straight right now, sweetheart… If you want to spend the day with me, all you gotta do is tell me. If I’m busy, I’ll do what I can to change that. If I can’t, I’ll do my best to free myself up as early as I can. All I have to offer you is my word, which isn’t something I give without thought, but I’m giving that to you now. I’ve never broken my word once in my life, darlin’. We’re both findin’ our way here, but we will do that together and without holding back.”
See?? How swoooony is that?! And it wasn’t only swoony. This was also pretty steamy read! Once they reconnected, the heat certainly turned up so anyone looking for a sexier read should be pleased!
Maverick’s sister was also a wonderful supporting character in this book as she was also Leighton’s childhood best friend. She seemed to have a really level head on her shoulders and dished out some great advice (see below) so I’m really looking forward to her book which is the next standalone in this series!
‘Can you honestly tell me that since he’s been home, you don’t feel like that piece of you that’s been hollow since he left isn’t starting to feel like it’s mending a little? You’ve dated, sure, but you’ve never let that piece find a way to heal. My brother comes back home and not even twelve hours pass before you two are pulled back together… You both use your pain as a shield to keep people out, and that’s because you’re fighting against the one person that has the power to heal every second of that pain. Stop fighting.”
This is the first standalone in a series of standalones. Each book will be about a different couple. It was told in alternating POVs and in first person perspective in the present day with only the occasional flashback.
All in all, I enjoyed this book! I’ve been a fan of Harper Sloan’s writing for several years but hadn’t read one of her books recently so it was really fun to read this one. If you’re a fan of stubborn but sexy cowboy heroes, small town romance, and sexy second chance love stories, then you should definitely check this out!
Rating: 4 stars! Contemporary Adult Romance. Can standalone.
Series of standalones.