Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jerjen
Katya Smith is an army medic who was stationed in Khandahar with her military “family”. She is returned stateside following a traumatic experience, suffering from PTSD. She has to come to terms with what happened overseas and heal so she can return to her military life. She takes a job as a trainer for the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) hoping that this will help her to heal. She knows nothing about bull riding and feels like the athletes will be spoiled brats. So she is not worried about caring about them and thinks this will be a good way to start getting over her PTSD.
Cam “Cool Hand” Cahill is an award-winning bull rider who is competing in his last year on the circuit. His body says it is time to retire but his mind is not happy about it. He does not know what he is going to do with his life after bull-riding. He always thought he would have a wife and family by the time retirement hit, but that did not work out too well. He was married and is now divorced and does not see his happily-ever-after happening any time soon. When he meets Katya in the training room and spends time with her, getting to know her better, he thinks maybe things will work out after all. But it will not be an easy journey for either of them.
I loved this book for so many reasons. I learned about bull riding and competitions and found this very interesting. I was able to get a better idea of a bull riders mentality and personality and I found that fascinating. I was able to get a better understanding of how a soldier feels when they return from combat and are dealing with emotional problems. I am fortunate to not have personal knowledge of these issues but it sure got me thinking about how tough that would be. This is a very important issue in today’s society and I thinks it is important to be reminded of the sacrifices that our soldiers make daily, both overseas and after they return home. I want to thank the author for reminding me of that.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. While reading I found myself thinking “just one more chapter and then I’ll stop for tonight”. With each swipe of the page , I could feel the tension increasing. Tension as to whether or not Katya will be able to perform in an emergency situation, if she will be able to overcome her PTSD and return to the military. Tension as to whether or not Cam can win his last bull riding championship or will his body let him down. Will there be a life and death accident at one of the competitions that will end a bull riders career or life. These were some of the things that drew me into the story and I had to find out the answers.
The characters are realistic, well-rounded and three dimensional. Katya had a lot of inner struggles she was trying to deal with and I could not help but care about and worry about what would happen to her. She tried very hard to be strong and tough and to let that be the only side that she allowed people to see. But some things were just too hard to keep inside and when she let her vulnerable side show, she became even more human. Cam had problems of his own to deal with but after learning all that Katya had going on in her life, he realized that his demons were small compared to hers. I thought this showed growth in his character and I really like when you can see how a character grows and develops. The secondary characters added a lot to the story line and were more people to become involved with and concerned for.
The author’s writing style is very descriptive and helped to really draw me into the story. Whether I was reading about Khandahar, the bull riding competition, the locker room or the line dancing, I felt like I was right there. I felt like I was seeing, smelling and listening to everything first hand. This is another way that I felt drawn into the book from the first page until the last page.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an emotional ride while reading. There were a lot of ups and downs in the book and tension that kept building from the first page. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted story and enjoys getting involved in the characters’ lives. I have not read any other books by this author but I plan on getting the other books in the series and I cannot wait to read them.