Once comfortable on stage in front of thousands, Joely Crockett is now mortified at the thought of walking—or rolling—down the aisle at her sisters’ wedding. Scarred and wheelchair-bound, the former beauty queen has lost more than the ability to walk—she’s lost her fire. But when one handsome, arrogant guest accuses her of milking her injuries and ignites her ire, Joely finally starts to feel truly alive again, and soon it’s impossible for her to resist her heart’s desire.
Alec Morrissey knows a little something about loss. A famous rodeo cowboy before he was injured in Iraq, he’s managed to create something of a normal life, even if it’s not the one he always imagined. Encountering stunning but damaged Joely, he sees a kindred spirit who can learn from his mistakes.
As these two healing souls begin to fall in love under the Wyoming stars, they must discover if they are willing to give in to the tragedies of life or fight for a future together.
An Avon Romance
Start this series from the beginning: you won’t regret it.
An accident just as she was starting to realign her life after finally declaring her marriage over, Joely lost her horse, many of her belongings and her ease of movement in a crash with an overloaded logging truck not far from Paradise Ranch. Lucky to be alive, she was left with several scars, severe muscle damage in her leg and a bucketful of self-pity. Growing up, Joely had always been told by her father that she was ‘the pretty one’, and her dreams of veterinary school with an equine focus were ‘too much’. Always feeling a bit on the fringe with Harper and Mia’s battles or the triplet’s seeming unification, her self-esteem, determination and perseverance are at an all-time low. But the joint wedding of her two older sisters, in which she tis meant to participate, brings her back to the family home.
Alec Morrissey is Mia’s husband to be’s friend and groomsman. A former bronc rider, he disappeared from the rodeo scene and the fame that went with it. He’s one of the only people who doesn’t seem to take Joely’s “I Can’t” for truth – prodding and pushing her forward, challenging her stubborn refusal to try, forcing her into facing her own lack of effort and fears about regaining her mobility. But he’s not just speaking to her from a cheerleader’s perspective: he lost his leg in an IED blast, and spent many months learning to work with his prosthetic, even as he buried other issues in a hatbox in the closet.
These two spark off one another instantly, and bringing Joely face to face with her whinging and defeatist attitude is one of the first changes: she does make some early changes mostly due to her anger and a ‘how dare he’ response. But she’s also intrigued by Alec, and finds his belief in her abilities, and the no-nonsense approach he takes to her attempts are far less annoying than the sense of being smothered and coddled she gets from her family.
It’s not a quick or particularly easy read in many places, Selvig has drawn us deeply into Joely’s depression and throws us right against the wall that Alec has built around himself: but these characters grow and develop a need for one another that is palpable. Alec is calmed and lightened by Joely’s presence, she’s challenged by and strengthened by his. Most importantly, they prod and poke at one another in just the right way: making them face fears and issues that were long ignored, buried or even unknown. Together they do find the best, if not easiest, versions of themselves as they both grow up and change. This is a story that grows on you, mixing laughter, tears, outrage and even some “OOH I need to SHAKE you silly” moments that had me reading through to the end. Start this series from the beginning: you won’t regret it.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.