A Single Dad, a Woman Grieving, and a Beautiful Contemporary Western Romance
Creedence Horse Rescue, Book 1
From the publisher:
A brand-new series of sweet, small town cowboy romance from USA Today bestselling author Jennie Marts. The Horse Whisperer meets Hope Floats when bubbly Bryn Callahan and brooding Zane Taylor protect an unwanted horse and end up with an animal rescue operation that they can only handle when they rely on each other.
Scarred and battered loner Zane Taylor has a gift with animals, particularly horses, but he’s at a total loss when it comes to knowing how to handle women. Even though he’s sworn off love, he can’t seem to stay away from Bryn Callahan. He’s known for being a horse whisperer, but can’t seem to find his voice at all where Bryn is concerned.
Bryn Callahan has a heart for strays, but she is through trying to save damaged men. She vows to only date nice guys, which is a category that does not include Zane Taylor. Too bad he’s the only one who sets her pulse racing every time she’s around him.
Starting a horse rescue ranch wasn’t in Bryn’s plan, but try telling that to the assembly of abandoned animals that have found their way to her doorstep. And when a chance encounter with a horse headed for slaughter brings Zane and Bryn together, they find themselves given a chance to save not just the horse, but maybe each other…
I recently read the second book in this series, (When A Cowboy Loves a Woman) and I liked it so much that I sought out this one, the first. And I think this was even better!
Zane is so damaged that Bryn is warned off him repeatedly, but she is a compassionate woman, and she sees the good in him, plus they have chemistry that burns. The heart wants what the heart wants, and even though on paper the local vet is a better choice for her, they have no spark at all.
Bryn is a waitress in this small town, but she lives on the ranch she inherited from her grandpa. So when she sees an obviously abused horse in a trailer outside the diner, she wants to rescue it from the cowboys who tell her the horse is headed for the glue factory (if there was such a place.) Zane comes to the rescue by leaving her a $100 tip so she can buy the animal, then he helps her get it home and take care of it. As soon as word gets out about the rescue, they are sent on a hunt for another abused, abandoned horse which they also bring back to the ranch. Pretty soon the menagerie includes a hog that was a household pet as it was sold to them as a potbellied pig. Then a pair of lovebirds make their way into the house, and an abandoned pregnant dog who soon gives birth to a bunch of puppies. Bryn can’t really afford to feed and care for all these animals, but she has friends in this small town. Soon there are collection jars all over town and a webpage with crowdsourcing funding and the money is pouring in.
Meanwhile Zane is pushing her away as she burrows under his skin. He knows he is wrong for her despite his heart telling him otherwise. He has been abused all his life by his father after being told he killed his mother during childbirth. The man has issues, not to mention some nasty scarring from the abuse he suffered. But Bryn is determined to get her man, despite all the roadblocks he is constantly putting up.
I really loved that this cowboy was a sort of “horse whisperer;” it seems like so many cowboy romances gloss over what cowboys do and I liked that there was some focus on that here. There are some really funny moments and I cried a time or two as well, so it is safe to say that this is a very emotional read, and really good romance. I can’t wait for the next book in this series, but while I’m waiting, Marts has a couple of other series I will be looking for.
6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
A COWBOY STATE OF MIND by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 30, 2020). ISBN: 978-1492689119. 416 pages.