Award-winning author Victoria Vane lets loose the fourth in the Hot Cowboy Nights series
WILD HORSES COULDN'T BRING THEM TOGETHER...
With exceptional talent and looks, cowboy "horse whisperer" Keith Russo once had the world at his feet - until his career was unwittingly destroyed by an aspiring filmmaker. After being rejected by his family for exploiting his Native American heritage, Keith has no choice but to turn back to his humble beginnings as a wild horse wrangler.
BUT MAYBE THEIR PASSION CAN...
Miranda Sutton always dreamed of making films, until wild mustangs captured her heart. But turning her grandmother's Montana ranch into a wild horse sanctuary proves harder than she thought. She needs someone who knows wild horses. Keith and the mustangs need each other. And while working together to save the herd, Keith and Miranda discover a passion as wild as the mustangs they love.
Praise for Slow Hand:
"Scorching...witty...a red-hot cowboy tale...their sexual chemistry crackles." -Publishers Weekly
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By Victoria Vane
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Victoria Vane
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With speakers blasting Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle," the buckskin-clad rider vaulted onto the horse's back. Squeezing moccasin-covered heels into the animal's flanks, he pierced the air with a war cry and entered the arena at a hand gallop, crouched low over the pinto stallion's neck.
Bareback and bridle-less, he performed an intricate series of maneuvers — flying lead changes, spins, and piaffes — before circling one last time and sliding to a stop in the center of the arena. Leaping to the ground, he strode the length of white-rail fence separating him from his enraptured spectators, leather fringe softly slapping long, muscular legs as his horse trailed closely behind.
His black eyes were piercing, his cheekbones prominent, and his features, chiseled perfection. His physique was equally mouthwatering, honed of lean, hard muscle. "I'm not here to teach you how to train a horse," he said, black eyes dancing over his captivated audience. "That's not what this is about. I'm here to tell you how you can forge a lifelong partnership, a spiritual bond that is virtually unbreakable." He paused, the connection with his spectators almost palpable.
"Just as in love," he continued, "there are three possible kinds of relationships you can have with your equine partner. The first is much like a stale marriage. You barely tolerate one another. When you speak, he mostly ignores you. Like a passionless husband, this horse is completely indifferent to you."
He glanced over his shoulder.
Cued to his movement, the horse turned his hindquarters and walked off.
The audience snickered.
"Unless, of course, he wants something from you."
The horse came sauntering back to nudge his pocket, snatched a treat, and then promptly trotted away again with its head in the air.
"As you might guess, this one-way relationship can lead only to frustration and ultimate dissatisfaction."
He paused again, this time for effect.
"The second kind of relationship is confrontational and combative. You fight all the time, exchange harsh words, maybe even blows. You use the crop, and he reciprocates with his teeth. You are almost fearful of him. When you ride, he bucks and rears, employing any tactic to get you off his back. You beg and plead, becoming euphoric with the least crumb of cooperation."
He reached out tentatively toward the horse. It reared, baring its teeth, then kicked out and bolted across the arena.
"The third kind of relationship is what we all seek — the romance and passion. The magical relationship when your two souls become one. Like a good lover, he not only responds to your sounds, moods, and body cues, but even comes to anticipate your innermost thoughts and unspoken desires."
He looked over his shoulder with a smile. The horse came trotting up, offering his muzzle with a soft nicker. The man once more scanned the spellbound faces and his mouth stretched into a slow, seductive smile. "Now I ask, which kind of relationship do you want?"
Miranda glanced up from the video monitor as her roommate, Lexi, passed by. "Whoa, Nelly!" she exclaimed with a double take. "Who. Is. That?"
Miranda paused the video. "That's the guy I'm filming tomorrow. He calls himself Two Wolves. He's supposed to be some sort of equine behaviorist."
Leaning over Miranda's shoulder for a better look, Lexi gave a low whistle. "Man, just look at that ass."
Miranda rolled her eyes. "Don't drool all over my keyboard, Lex."
Lexi peered closer, clearly appreciating the glittering eyes, silky black hair, and delicious hard body. "Rawrrr." Lexi gave a throaty growl. "I'd do him in a heartbeat."
"By the look of it, so would half the women in his audience," Miranda replied dryly, not about to admit she was just as enthralled. She'd never seen anyone quite like him. From the top of his head to the tips of his beaded moccasins, everything about the guy oozed raw sensuality. One thing for certain: He sure knew how to work a crowd. No wonder he'd caught Bibi's eye.
Lexi popped the top of her Dr. Pepper. "Randa, honey," she chided in her native West Texas drawl, "just because you aren't gettin' any doesn't mean you have to begrudge the rest of the world."
"My love life, or lack thereof, is none of your business, Lex."
"Someone needs to make it their business, because you certainly aren't doing anything about it."
"I don't have time —"
"No time?" Lexi snorted, nearly choking on her drink. "You have nothing but time. How many hours a week do you spend vegging in front of the tube, watching old movies?"
"It's work!" Miranda protested. "How can I learn anything if I don't study my craft?"
"All right, I'll bite, but why not take one lousy night off just to play? Go out and mingle with the other half, spread some pheromones."
"I don't know." Lexi shrugged. "How about the beach?"
"Are you kidding?" Miranda snorted. "With this skin? I have to wear SPF 40 just to walk out to my car."
"Then go clubbing with me."
"No offense, but I'm really uncomfortable in those kinds of places. I don't have the right look or wear the right clothes. I don't fit in with all the 'beautiful' people here."
In four years she'd had no real dates to speak of. Not that she hadn't wanted to date, but she'd never been all that comfortable meeting new people, let alone Lexi's flamboyant crowd of actors and musicians. No matter how hard she'd tried, she always felt like a fish out of water. That was the one thing she hated most about L.A., feeling insecure. She knew she didn't fit here. Although she'd accepted that long ago, acceptance didn't alleviate loneliness. Lexi had just about given up on her. Then again, who had time for a real relationship anyway?
Lexi laughed. "Honey, this is Southern California. Anyone can be beautiful. All you need is a credit card. Do you think this nose came naturally?" She turned her head to display a pert, perfect profile. "So what's the story with this hottie horse whisperer, anyway?"
"I don't really know," Miranda said. "Bibi called a couple of hours ago, telling me to drop whatever I had going on this weekend to go down to Rancho Santa Fe. Marty was supposed to video for her, but he's in the ER with a kidney stone. She wants me to fill in for him."
Bibi was a big name in indie filmmaking and long accustomed to everyone jumping at her command — not that Miranda had any plans this weekend, or any other. She didn't care that Bibi was giving her the assignment only because her lead videographer had called in sick. The reason didn't matter. All that counted was that she'd finally have a chance to get behind a camera and prove herself.
"In Rancho Santa Fe?" Lexi's brows rose. "Not quite slumming it, are you?"
"It's only a promo video," Miranda said, "but I'm hoping she'll finally let me have some creative input."
"Don't get your hopes up too high," Lexi warned. "You know how tough this business is."
"I know." Miranda sighed. "But I can't help hoping for a chance. Hey, do you want to go with me? We haven't done anything together in ages. It could be really fun."
"Wish I could," Lexi answered. "I'd love the chance to get up close and personal with him." She nodded to the paused image. "But I got a callback yesterday on the new zombie flick. I have to memorize the script."
"You actually have lines in this one? I thought zombies didn't talk."
Lexi grimaced. "No lines exactly. But I plan to raise my grunts and groans to an art form."
"Good luck with that," Miranda remarked.
Lexi's brows met in a scowl. "Need I remind you that Jamie Lee Curtis got her big break by screaming?"
"I'm sorry, Lex. I didn't mean to sound disparaging," Miranda replied, adding with an apologetic smile, "Break a leg, okay?"
In truth, she couldn't help feeling a pang of envy. Like her aspiring-actress roommate, Miranda had arrived in Hollywood with stars in her eyes. Lexi was at least getting callbacks, but thus far, the closest Miranda had come to fulfilling her own dream was fetching lattes for the camera crew.
After Lexi disappeared into her room, Miranda went back to the video. She'd initially hoped this would be her chance to prove herself, but put little hope in a project featuring a man decked out in Native American regalia doing a bunch of circus tricks. It was unlikely to win her any professional accolades, no matter how smoking hot he was.
Determined not to go into the project blindly, she spent the rest of the afternoon researching her subject, but Google gave her almost nothing besides his appearance schedule and clinic videos. Other than a brief bio on his website, the man in the ass-hugging buckskin was a complete mystery.
* * *
The following morning, Miranda tossed her overnight bag in the back seat of her VW Jetta and rolled down all four windows before pulling out of the drive. The AC had quit working months ago, but rather than wallowing in misery, she chose to fantasize that she was behind the wheel of the shiny red Mustang convertible she'd promised herself once she got her big break. It was the car she'd vowed to drive in the entire length of the Pacific Coast Highway — still another unfulfilled promise she'd made herself the day she'd arrived in L.A.
Everything about California had been so exotic and exciting back then, but over time, disappointment and disillusionment had begun to tarnish the glitter of Tinsel Town. Passing the historic Studio City Theatre on Ventura, she was vividly reminded of the dream that had driven her west in the first place — the chance to make movies. Would she ever get a break? Statistics weighed heavily against it. Only stubborn pride had kept her from hanging it all up and going back home to Ohio.
Hedged in by traffic on all sides, she crept along, lost in her thoughts, until finally merging onto the Hollywood Freeway. Although this assignment wasn't quite what she'd hoped for, she was determined to make the best of it. She consoled herself that it was at least a step up from the weddings and bar mitzvahs that normally filled her weekends. The drive would also give her the chance to escape the monotony of her real life for a few days.
Approaching the junction of Interstates 5 and 710 in East L.A., she suddenly felt like she'd come to a fork in her life. For five years she'd been too blinded by ambition to enjoy herself, and what had it gotten her? An overpriced apartment the size of a postage stamp and a lonely single bed.
Her hands tightened on the wheel.
A horn blasted as she swerved right into the lane leading to the Long Beach Freeway. The ocean route would add at least two hours to her drive, but she was determined to fulfill at least part of her dream.CHAPTER 2
Rancho Santa Fe, California
Arriving ahead of schedule, Miranda presented her employee ID to the security guard manning the entrance. "Hi. I'm Miranda Sutton with Starlight Productions. We're filming an event here." With Lexi's reminder of her neglected love life lingering in her mind, Miranda flashed her most disarming smile.
"Sutton?" He scanned a sheet for her name. "Go ahead." He nodded, and then opened the gate without even looking up.
"Thanks," she replied, disappointed in having wasted her best smile.
Pulling through the elaborate wrought iron entrance, Miranda found not one, but three full-size equestrian arenas and a parking lot dotted with high-priced cars. Pulling between a Lexus and a Mercedes convertible, she parked and climbed out of her car, camera bag slung over her shoulder. Finding no sign of Bibi, Miranda checked her watch. She was an hour early.
Miranda decided to scout the site. As she approached the main arena, she encountered a curvy brunette in tight-fitting white dressage breeches and glossy black boots leading a huge chestnut horse with a stud chain wrapped tightly around its nose. The horse was visibly agitated, with its ears pinned and nostrils flared. Although Miranda hadn't been around horses in several years, she knew enough to recognize the signs of its distress. Any time he snorted or pulled his head away, the woman gave a hard jerk on the chain, which only seemed to increase the animal's agitation. Miranda was almost ready to speak out when a man appeared and snatched the lead from the woman's hands.
"What the hell are you doing?" the brunette demanded.
"Pain is only going to get resentment from him, not respect. Right now this animal is fighting you every step of the way — and this is why." To Miranda's amazement, he unsnapped the chain and then removed the animal's halter as well. The moment the horse realized it was free, it spun and bolted, bucking all the way to the far end of the arena. "Most horses will walk or trot over to the fence when released. Picasso ran like his tail was on fire. What does that tell you?" he asked the gaping woman.
"He's difficult to work with," the brunette snapped. "All the horses in his bloodline are high-strung."
"That's because high-dollar show horses like him spend way too much time confined in a stall. You need to let your horse just be a horse now and then."
The woman frowned at the chestnut that was now galloping laps around the arena. "How the hell am I supposed to control him now?" she demanded, hands on hips.
"You're going to get nowhere unless you give him some downtime. When he snorts, tosses his head, bucks, or kicks up his heels, he's not being bad, Steffi. He's just feeling good."
"I thought I was paying you to work with him," she said, still visibly miffed.
"I will. But first we need to teach him that work can be fun. Let him have it, and he'll start to relax. Once that happens, he'll concentrate better on what you want rather than trying to escape at every opportunity."
"I don't understand the point," the woman argued. "How is any of this going to improve his performance under saddle?"
"Performance is all about cooperation. Just give this guy a few minutes to release some pent-up energy and I promise he'll be a different animal. Time spent on this kind of activity will pay off in spades once you're in the saddle."
The cowboy tossed the lasso he held in his hands toward the horse. The startled animal changed course and began trotting in the other direction. The man's soft, sexy voice was as confident as his movements. "I don't care what gait he's in as long as he's moving in the direction I send him in. In essence, we're acting the way a dominant horse would in a herd situation."
Mesmerized, Miranda watched the interplay between man and horse. She uncapped her camera lens and began filming the cowboy and the horse. Within minutes, the animal was moving in a relaxed, floating gait. Although her personal experience with equines was limited to the working livestock on her grandparents' ranch, she recognized the expert skill with which this man directed the animal's movements.
After several more laps, it lowered its head and approached the cowboy. He stretched out his hand and caressed the animal's muzzle. "You see how little effort that took? Now he's willing to get to work."
The cowboy turned in Miranda's direction. It was only then that she realized he was the man she was looking for. The long, loose hair he'd worn in the videos was plaited in two long, neat braids covered by the cowboy hat. In his jeans, faded denim shirt, hat, and boots, he'd looked far more cowboy than Indian — until he'd faced her. Their eyes met for the first time. His black brows rose as his gaze dropped to her camera. "I didn't realize we were being filmed."
The brunette speared Miranda with a haughty stare. "Filming someone without permission. That's presumptuous, don't you think?"
"I'm sorry," Miranda said. "Maybe I should have asked, but I hated to interrupt you." She lowered her camera and climbed over the fence rail. "I'm Miranda Sutton. I came to film the clinic." She stepped forward, hand extended. He took her hand in his, flashing a smile so dazzling it made her breath catch. She struggled not to gape.
"I'm Two Wolves," he introduced himself.
"I kinda figured that out," Miranda said dryly.
"This is Steffi Hoffman," he said. "A ... client of mine."
"A pleasure," Miranda replied, once more offering her hand.
The brunette ignored her.
Excerpted from Saddle Up by Victoria Vane. Copyright © 2016 Victoria Vane. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Saddle Up" is not your typical cowboy romance. Miranda has been an aspiring videographer working for one of the toughest directors, Bibi, but not able to take charge of what she produces. It is on one such assignment where Miranda meets Keith (whose Shoshone name is Two Wolves). Miranda is set to film Keith showing how to train horses, the way he has made his living from what he had learned living with his father's family on a reservation. The video ends up turning into something career and personally destroying after he declines Bibi's sexual offer (although it's not entirely clear what happened to the video and we only get tidbits here and there of what happened). Fast-forward a couple years, and Miranda takes a filming job for the court to observe how Mustang round-ups are being conducted. Much to her surprise, Keith is working the job also- and he hasn't forgiven her for her role in the video. Since the video, he has been unable to work with training horses and unable to go home, where his family feels he exploited his heritage (his father was full Shoshone). The round-ups are being conducted by the government because the mustangs are dying out due to dehydration, etc. They are then relocated to training facilities and/or grazing pastures where they can be preserved. The round-up goes awry due outside influence, and Miranda finds herself more involved than she ever could have expected. After a few twists of fate, she and Keith find themselves alone overnight. Their attraction is undeniable, but Miranda really finds her bigger calling. They part ways after a passionate night only to run into each other later. After the round-up, Miranda decides to travel home to her grandmother Jo-Jo's ranch, where she is convinced that she should take on some of the mustangs in the currently unused pasture land- however, making this happen would require someone with experience working with the horses, perhaps someone like Keith. Overall, it's a solid romance and acts as a stand-alone (although part of a series). I found it a little hard to like Keith, because he's pretty hot-and-cold and it's tough to really pin down his personality/motivations. However, Jo-Jo is amazing, and I loved the parts with her in it- she's a warm, funny, and clever woman. Miranda was also an understandable and passionate character. The book flows really well and although there's a tinge of sadness at the end, it's overall happy. I only wish I had been better able to delve into Keith and understand his motivations a bit more/like him better. Please note that I received this book from a giveaway. All opinions are my own.
As usual, Vane brings the cowboy way to life in a big way, mixing chemistry with romance, the outdoors with hard work, for an altogether rowdy good time. Her picturesque writing brings the setting forward in a manner that allows readers to see it, not simply read about it, creating the perfect backdrop for her uniquely plotted novel. The way that horses, and mustangs in particular, were developed really worked to further the tale without being completely off the walls. Both of the main characters were quite well developed. I actually quite liked getting to know them. I enjoyed how they were thrown together by circumstances that highlighted both their similarities and differences from one another. The chemistry between them, even if denied at times was impossible to ignore. I did find the fact that they both had tendencies to blame others for the way that their lives were currently turning out to be both ironic and a little tedious at times but, it worked for them for the most part. As a whole this was a fun romance with a twist. It was great to read as a standalone or as part of this series. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
An exciting, well-paced, action-packed tale that is guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings. He'd cautioned her from the outset about snakes, scorpions, and even Gila monsters, but she never could have imagined that he'd be the greatest danger. SADDLE UP by Victoria Vane is the fourth book in the author's Hot Cowboy Nights series, but it works very well as a stand-alone read if that is your preference. I would not do justice to this book to describe it solely as a captivating cowboy romance as it's so much more than that! It's a gripping expose on the plight of the wild horses and the desperate efforts to save them. It's the story of a broken half-white, half-Shoshone man and his difficult journey to find himself and his purpose. It's the story of a woman who dreamed of making it big in movies only to find that life was not what made her happy. SADDLE UP is a compelling, well-written, solidly plotted western romance featuring a couple whose attraction burns hot and steamy, but whose future is untenable at best. Two days after finishing it, I'm still day-dreaming about it. Horse whisperer' Keith Russo was a man straddling two worlds. His native American grandfather named him 'Two Wolves' because he had a vision that a dark and light wolf were battling inside his grandson for control. Perhaps Keith had such a strong affinity with the horses because he struggled as much as they did to find his place in the world. Besides his bond-ability with the horses, Keith also had a way with women; He had quite the womanizing reputation and never lacked for a female to warm his bed. He made good money as an equine clinician spellbinding both the animals and his women clients until aspiring filmmaker Miranda Sutton's boss put an end to his career with a film that distorted the truth about Keith - because Keith wouldn't sleep with her. Keith blamed Miranda - but Miranda had only wielded the camera. It was her boss who did the editing and who had the personal vendetta against Keith. To add insult to injury, Keith's native American tribe shunned him after the film was released because the film wrongly depicted Keith as exploiting his heritage. The whole episode threw Keith into a downward spiral until Miranda entered his life once again when she took a job filming a round-up of wild Mustangs where Keith was the lead wrangler. Their attraction sparked immediately, but learning to trust each other and falling in love was a much slower - albeit never boring- process. The horses are never far out of the picture; I found myself wanting to save them all. SADDLE UP was an exciting, well-paced, action-packed tale. The strong characters - both human and animal - will capture readers' hearts. Be prepared for elements of danger that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is my favorite book in this series that I've read so far. That said, I hadn't realized that I'd missed reading the second book in this series until now, but I plan to rectify that omission quickly by reading ROUGH RIDER next! I highly recommend SADDLE UP to anyone who enjoys fresh, emotional, highly entertaining western romances. My full review is posted at Reading Between The Wines Book Club. Please check it out there! 4 1/2 out of 5 Wine Glasses!
Saddle up by Victoria Vane is yet another amazing "Hot Cowboy Nights",#4, but can be read as a stand alone. Set on a Montana ranch. Well written with captivating characters and a mesmerizing storyline. Cowboys, Indians, wild Mustangs, passion and romance. Keith Russo, (aka Two Wolves) a half Shoshone Native American, horse Wrangler, "horse whisperer", and hot, sexy cowboy. Miranda Sutton, always dreamed of making documentaries. But the wild mustangs have captured her heart. She wishes to turn her grandmother's Montana ranch into a wild horse sanctuary, but it's turning out to be harder then she thought it would be. Keith and Miranda both need the horses as much as the horses need them. From the beginning sparks fly between Keith and Miranda. Will they finally embrace their destiny and let love blossom. Or will they give up all? Can love build from lust and passion? Hot, sexy and emotionally charged. Please note, the love scenes are sexual but tastefully done. Ms. Vane proves her writing skills with each story, rather Historical or Contemporary romance, she is a masterful storyteller. Compelling, compassionate and entertaining. This series, just keeps getting better and better. Ms Vane never disappoints her readers. Her knowledge of a working ranch, mustangs and horses is proved in "Saddle Up". Another must read! Received for an honest review from Net Galley. Rating: 4.5 Heat rating: Hot Reviewed by: AprilR
Saddle Up is book four in the Hot Cowboy Nights series by Victoria Vane. This book was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review by NetGalley, Sourcebooks Casablanca, and by Victoria Vane. This was my very first book by Victoria Vane and I truly enjoyed it. It is beautifully told with breathtaking descriptions of gorgeous vistas with roaming wild horses. I could just picture it as the story unfolded. I could practically hear their hooves pounding on the earth. It is the story of two people that loved the wild mustangs so much that they wanted to dedicate their lives to helping them. But the mustangs in turn helped these two to find themselves, and each other. Keith Russo is half Shoshone. The name his Native American grandfather gave him is Two Wolves. It represented both sides of Keith that were in constant battle, his Indian half and his Caucasian half. Keith had a way with horses and became known as a sort of a horse whisperer, a behavioral clinician. He quickly became famous and traveled the world doing clinics but they slowly evolved into a sort of dog and pony show. A videographer was hired to video him at a clinic. When the videographer’s boss produced the video, it did not present Keith in a positive way which ruined his reputation and career. Now he has embarrassed his people and is forced back to being a horse wrangler. It is on such a project, when Keith was brought in to help with a mustang round up, that he is brought face to face with the woman that ruined his life. “You don’t even know who you are anymore, and you won’t belong anywhere until you do.” Miranda Sutton has never wanted anything but to be behind the camera, making movies is what she thought would fulfill her. After film school she is living in Los Angeles but has never felt more out of place. She was so excited when she got the chance to film the famous Two Wolves at his clinic. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. But she was so disappointed in his behavior. It was obvious he thought he was God’s gift to women. But her part in the project was over once she handed over the video to her boss to be produced. Now, a year later, she is more than unhappy with her life. She gets a call from an organization trying to round up the wild mustangs to save them from starvation and certain death. It is an imperfect solution but the only solution at the time. The government has mandated that the event be videoed to prove humane methods are being used. It is here that she comes face to face with the man she met a year ago. The man that seems to now despise her and blames her for ruining his career. “She’d seen him before as a charming and seductive showman, and now as a brooding, standoffish wrangler. She wondered which version was the real Keith.” As Miranda and Keith (he is now using his given name) are forced to spend time together and end up being stranded overnight in the desert, Keith slowly realizes that what happened wasn’t Miranda’s fault and his icey demeanor slowly becomes one of respect and attraction. Both Miranda and Keith are struggling for their places in the world. In each other, they each find a part of something they were both missing. But it’s the mustangs that give them both purpose. It is a slow realization, but helping these beautiful horses slowly seems to help both Miranda and Keith find the purpose they were seeking. “A man with no purpose is a man with no soul.”
Sex and no substance. I have read a few stories by Ms. Vane in the past months and although I find them enjoyable and entertaining, many have lacked the depth needed to make them unforgettable. Saddle Up took me by surprise because it stayed true to the author but gave added layers into her talent as a writer. I received an ARC of this sensuous read in exchange for an honest review. It was hard not to cheer for these characters. The odds are not in favor of Keith and Miranda but it feels as if a higher force is pulling the strings, helping them along the way. Keith has to learn to accept his heritage and be the best person he can in order to find his happiness. Miranda has to blaze her own trail as well. The wild spirit of the animals loved by both, the beautiful surroundings that are as descriptive and turbulent as the characters themselves and this breathtaking story have me rethinking my original opinion. This time she got it right.
Victoria Vane’s Hot Cowboy Nights series is one of my favourite series ever because of the very complex characters, and SADDLE UP might be the best of the lot! It is an exceptionally engrossing book, and the Keith Russo is so charismatic, I felt like I had seen him in glossy magazines. Keith is one of the most enigmatic characters ever: he’s half Native American, and this has coloured his views on life, and what he has done for a very long time. He’s never had to work to charm a woman, but the introverted Miranda Sutton changes all that. Their relationship is far from easy, and not all is of their own doing, but what a fascinating road to romance this is! Character development is stellar, to say the least, I could not tear myself away from SADDLE UP; the story borders on hypnotic: I was so engrossed, I never stopped reading. What always surprises, and delights me, from Ms. Vane is how easy she makes it all seem: the dialogues sound so natural, the issues difficult but normal; nothing is ever over the top, but always so captivating. Keith and Miranda are the perfect complement to each other, but Keith is very reluctant to try and overlook his own personal issues; he is rather resistant to change, and stubbornness is his middle name. Miranda is a fabulous heroine: she appears nice and gentle, but she takes nothing lying down; she tells Keith off a few times, she doesn’t fall at his feet like he is used to. It intrigues him, but unsettles him as well. The chemistry between these two is off the charts, even when Keith can’t see straight for his inflexibility. I had the impression of reading a story about real people, they never seemed like fictional characters to me, and there is nothing that can beat that! Every time a new book in this series is announced, I wait impatiently, and SADDLE UP was worth every agonising second of waiting. Amazing! I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Read from May 23 to 24, 2016 Book Info Paperback, 320 pages Expected publication: June 7th 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca (first published June 6th 2016) ISBN 1492635103 (ISBN13: 9781492635109) Series Hot Cowboy Nights #4 Other Editions (2) Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links Amazon B&N BOOK SYNOPSIS Award-winning author Victoria Vane lets loose the fourth in the Hot Cowboy Nights series WILD HORSES COULDN'T BRING THEM TOGETHER... With exceptional talent and looks, cowboy "horse whisperer" Keith Russo once had the world at his feet - until his career was unwittingly destroyed by an aspiring filmmaker. After being rejected by his family for exploiting his Native American heritage, Keith has no choice but to turn back to his humble beginnings as a wild horse wrangler. BUT MAYBE THEIR PASSION CAN... Miranda Sutton always dreamed of making films, until wild mustangs captured her heart. But turning her grandmother's Montana ranch into a wild horse sanctuary proves harder than she thought. She needs someone who knows wild horses. Keith and the mustangs need each other. And while working together to save the herd, Keith and Miranda discover a passion as wild as the mustangs they love. Praise for Slow Hand: "Scorching...witty...a red-hot cowboy tale...their sexual chemistry crackles." -Publishers Weekly My Thoughts Sometime in the 80’s a friend of myself and my husband adopted a few of the wild mustangs that needed re-homing. What stuck in my mind about it was the fact the horses would never trust he or his family members and the reason the memory resurfaced when reading Saddle Up was the fact that those same horses did not in any way resemble the majestic spirited animals that this story seemed to have in abundance. Guess that is the difference between fact and fiction, also to be quite honest it made for better reading to be given a picture of the horses being quite exceptional rather than just ordinary nags. To my enjoyment this one was so different than the first three books in the series but it was also exceptionally crafted to appeal to those of us who love to root for the underdog, those of us who are enamored of people who stand up for what they believe in and most of all people who make their dreams come true against seemingly insurmountable odds. Both Keith and Miranda find what they have been searching for their whole lives, a purpose that makes them happily fulfilled and also one that makes a huge impact on saving the lives of wild mustangs who otherwise would not make it. The fact that the settings used as background were absolutely fabulously described added an element of beauty to the story that was as welcome as it was surreal at times. Especially when scenes where Keith and Miranda encountered some unexpected wildlife that created drama and tension for them as well as drew them closer to each other. From it's beginning to the emotion filled epilogue that ended this breathtaking journey Saddle Up will remain in ones heart for a long while as a book should that touches on more than just a beautifully written romance. [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]