COWBOY FEVER SERIES
Cowboy Fever Collection, Books 1-5
Whiskey Creek Press
Rating: 4 Cups
Book1: Wings of Love
Wings "Mac" Mackenzie wants to settle down and start a family, but he has been burned one too many times for being old-fashioned. With Amanda, he wants to be extra careful so as not to lose her. Using her career as an excuse, he asks her to move in his ranch house and renovate it. Just as much in love though unwilling to admit it to him, Amanda takes the chance and moves in. Before they can spend time together, Wings has to go oversee problems with one of his projects.
His time away extends from a couple of weeks to three months. The once a week phone calls are impersonal. Already being insecure about Wings's feelings for her and having her dreams shattered in the past, Amanda runs away after their last conversation. When an on-site accident makes Wings realize his priorities, he goes home to settle down with Amanda, only to find her gone. Will he go after her to express his love to settle down? Or will the misunderstandings and insecurities prove too great for their love to survive?
I like Wings. I like his loyalty, views and commitments. I understand where he is coming from, so I can easily relate to him though it feels a tad bit extreme. Amanda, on the other hand, is immature in handling relationships. Her justification for her actions makes her seem irresponsible. The way she reprimands Wings makes him feel guilty, so do not sit well with me.
Book 2: Losses and Gains
Janaya Gaines leaves Fever and the love of her life after high school. Mainly because her older, more beautiful and determined sister sets her sights on Lance Olsen. And what Colleen wants, she gets. To protect him, Janaya breaks up with Lance, sending him into Colleen's arms. Now, years later, Colleen and his son are dead. Janaya is tired of trying to build a life with more losses then gains.
Lance has long believed his heart is dead, after the death of his family. Seeing Janaya again brings out his fury and with that, other buried feelings. Wanting to hate her for her selfishness for staying away and not getting to know his son, Lance wants to hurt her the way she has him. Love, however, works differently then planned. For them to move finally on, age-old secrets have to be faced and unanswered questions addressed. Will their love get a second chance? Or will Janaya leave again, this time forever?
A heart-breaking story that tells us about the consequences of selfish actions, of avoiding to stand up for what one believes in and of how hate makes you forget all the good. If both Lance and Janaya have been wronged, they also show how God works in mysterious ways. Janaya's insecurity and lack of trust lead to her losing Lance. He gains love in the most unexpected person and a perfect son. Colleen learns from her mistakes when she falls in love and becomes a mother. I am dumbfounded at the reason Janaya's parents give for not visiting her and their assumption they have told her why. While there are some things I disagree with, all my sympathies are with her on this.
Book 3: For Always
Alana Hamilton is an orphan with no home when she is brought into Jared Chapman's life. For the first time feeling secure, she falls in love with the quiet, reserved cowboy. When his grandmother dies, things start falling apart. Though their home is hers, Alana no longer feels secure and Jared's promise to be there for her always leaves her confused. Instead of sticking around and confronting her feelings, she accepts the first proposal that comes her way, leaving her fairytale dream behind. Now stuck in a suppressed, abusive marriage, she is unwilling to break free because of her guilty secret.
Jared loves Alana. Being a shy, reserved boy, he does not know how to express his feelings. Alana's decision to marry the upcoming politician devastates him, but still he comes running to her, setting his feelings aside when she needs him. Is it too late now to tell her the intensity of his feelings to win her back? Or will Alana remain stuck in her marriage?
In all honesty, this is a disappointing story in terms of emotional response. The author has a chance here to evoke deep emotions with domestic abuse, low self-esteem, orphans and insecurity of one's capabilities, not to forget lost dreams. Instead, what I feel is frustration and distaste, especially of Alana's insecurities and the reasons behind her actions. I completely disagree with her belief of making the best of what life has to offer. I also find the ending 'less' than satisfying. Nevertheless, this story is a must read to know the classic signs of domestic abuse and to learn what is unacceptable and when to take a stand.
Book 4: Taming April
April St. Clair hightails out of Fever for college, promising never to return. Highly ambitious and intelligent, she goes from being nothing to a high-powered lawyer. Regret for being cruel and never visiting her father, leaving him to die alone, devastates her. Now she is back, to face her ghosts and fulfill her father?s wish to have Shawn Jacobs train the young mare, the only thing he leaves behind.
Once upon a time, Shawn Jacobs has been the golden boy in high school. Now he is a hardworking cowboy, struggling with his best friends to keep his ranch afloat. With his ego recently bruised, Shawn is angry and unwilling to take on April's request but has no choice. It may be the only thing that will keep the ranch from bankruptcy. Their attraction is hesitant. The past rears up with bitter truths and hurts. Will they get their happy ending? Or will April go back to her highflying job after the horse is trained?
I am still bawling after reading this story. The author has brilliantly made us face the heart-breaking and bitter truths of life. What has me crying is not the romance, rather the relationship between April and her dad. How children tend to be cruel and ignorant of parents in the race of success. Yet, how much they still do for us with and without us knowing about it. An eye-opener indeed to our responsibilities toward our parents, no matter what they say to make us feel better. This is my favorite story from the whole collection. A must read.
Book 5: The Only One
Karla and Ken Abrams are madly in love. On expecting their first child, tragedy takes their unborn daughter. Just two weeks into coping with the grief, Ken is hit with pain and guilt when Karla leaves him. Believing himself to be responsible, he lets her go, losing what is left of himself.
Karla is shattered by her mom's death. Her brothers and father become silent strangers, instead of helping her grieve. Ken reacting to their loss in the same way devastates Karla, inducing her to leave. Now five years later, circumstances bring them back together. Ken still has no clue as to why she has left. Karla wants a divorce, which for Ken would be the final nail in his coffin, especially since he has avoided facing her for the same fear in the past five years. How can he convince her to trust him again? That he is as devastated as her? That she is and always will be the only one for him?
Okay, I am crying my eyes out again. This is my second favorite story from this collection. Their grief at losing their child and then each other is heart breaking. I cannot imagine going through it. It is a universal fact that everyone grieves in their own way. Unable to accept the way the other grieves makes or breaks a relationship, as we see with Ken and Karla. What does surprise me is why Karla never confides in her friends. Or why her brothers, who want Ken to get a life, never stop to talk to her, trying to get her to listen. Nevertheless, this is a must read. Just be prepared to have your heart broken.
The Collection of Cowboy Fever Series is a complete collection of stories suited for everyone. They will break your heart. Make you fall in love, cry and laugh. They will make you face the insecurities and harsh realities of life. These are not light-hearted reads. They may evoke deep-down hidden emotions we try to ignore in our daily lives. Still, you should read these at least once. You will not regret it.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More