Type: Contemporary Western Romance
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
My Copy: Sent
Rodeo took him from her once. Will it take him again?
It’s been a decade since Garth Nash left the Triple R Ranch to become a bull riding star. Now he’s back home to pay his final respects to the man he’d loved like a father, and to console the pesky tomboy he’d loved like a little sister.
But there’s nothing pesky or boyish about Amarilla Ray now. She’s a gorgeous, barrel-racing cowgirl who knows exactly what she wants—to compete at the Cowgirl Classic. Just once. And then she can get on with the rest of her life.
Rilla had loved Garth like a big brother all those years ago, but today, her feelings are taking turns in a whole new direction, and suddenly it feels like Garth just might be the rest of her life.
But rodeo took him from her once. And she knows he’s bound to leave again. Can she take the risk and fall in love? Can he? Or will rodeo win out again, and leave them both broken?
Maddie James is an author I’ve had my eye on reading for quite some time. When I was recently offered the chance to review Broken, her newest romance novella, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Sometimes I get a bit cautious when accepting books from authors I have yet to try. There is always the chance of the author going off the deep end if I don’t love it. I am happy to say, I won’t have to worry about that for this review of Broken because I adored it! This is novella length, about 40,000 words and in all honestly it didn’t even feel that long because I flew through it in one sitting…refusing to step away from the Kindle and let the poor thing rest a bit.
The sensual spell Maddie James weaves is simply magical! Broken opens with the tragic note of Rilla’s father, owner of the Triple R Ranch, dying and leaving Rilla to finally fend for herself at the age of 26. She’s grieving, overwhelmed and while trained by her impressive father, still a bit out of her element. Confused as to whether she even wants to take on the responsibility of running the ranch or following her dream of finally being a champion barrel racer. When Garth shows up after being gone ten long years between 16 and 26, Rilla can’t be sure why he is back. The man her father had took in like a son is now 38 but he’s still the rough and tumble rodeo cowboy hes always been.
The tension between the two is thick enough to cut with a knife. Garth makes no qualms about having to get back to his rodeo lifestyle regardless of the hurt he caused Rilla when he left the first time. At 16 she obviously wasn’t equipped to handle a real romance and at 28 Garth was way to old for her. The little girl is long gone though and in her place is a beautiful, albeit confused, woman who needs to make her own way in this world after the abrupt loss of her father. Garth carries a lot of guilt over leaving her and the man he thought of as a father and so he sets it upon himself to convince Rilla that she can do both the running of the ranch AND barrel racing.
I would classify this as a sweet type romance. Aside from the one sex scene at the end, Broken is all about the emotional connection. The yearning and the buildup, the realizing that after 10 years, the feelings don’t change. In a lot of ways, Rilla is still a child, even at 26 and flees Garth every chance she gets. One steamy kiss send her scampering from the room like a spooked animal. I wish she would have confronted her feelings a bit earlier but she is what she is. Garth doesn’t really give her any options anyway. He is conflicted with guilt and torn between his emotional connection to Rilla and the love for the rodeo. He can’t bear to cause her more pain and so he constantly says he can’t stay and yet when Rilla tells him to go he gets mad. His conflicting emotions nearly gave me whiplash. I will give him credit though, when he decided, finally, what he wanted, taking no for an answer was never an option. When he left at 28 he knew Rilla loved him, and now 10 years later he knows he can rekindle that connection.
Broken is a wonderfully written tale of overcoming guilt and following your heart. Surprised that after all this time, Garth’s heart lead him back home to the one girl he never could get out of his mind. I loved this one and can’t wait to get my hands on more from this expressive and talented author!
*The entire time I was reading Broken I couldn’t get this song that I heard growing up out of my head!*
I give Broken by Maddie James 4 stars!
*Maddie James will be at the upcoming Lori Foster Event in West Chester, Ohio June 1st-3rd. She will be available for signings on the 2nd from 2-4pm which is open to the public. To find out more about the event go HERE I will also be at the event..SQUEEEEEE*