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Monday, September 7, 2015

ARC Review: Sharp Shootin’ Cowboy by Victoria Vane

The third installment in the Hot Cowboy Night’s Series by Victoria Vane starts off with a bang, literally. Our hero, Reid Everett is a sharp shooter with the United States Marine Corps, and he’s tough, cocky, determined, and sexy. Weary from return of his recent deployment, and a breakup via text message, he goes to a country bar with his buddy Garcia where he finds himself infatuated with a petite blonde named Haley Cooper. Knowing he will be leaving again for another deployment, he wasn’t planning on fun of any kind regarding the opposite sex, yet Haley pushes every button Reid has. She is the perfect combination of fierce, stubborn, and intelligent rolled into a gal who finds value in nothing that Reid stands for. These two definitely hit the mark where opposites attract at full speed, and it makes for fantastic off-the-wall chemistry, but controversy that keeps the reader continuously flipping pages.

Right from the beginning, I was interested in the chemistry Reid and Haley had. Despite her dislike for killing or violence of any kind, she couldn’t help but be attracted to the down-to-earth cowboy with shining blue eyes. Aside from Reid having strong personal convictions, he is a nice, honest guy. Reid is the type of man any woman could possibly want, whether they agree with his beliefs or not. The two hit it off mostly because they are consistently challenging each other’s ideals. Unfortunately, when they meet, Reid is about to ship out for Iraq again. With Haley’s inability to admit attraction, she pushes him away and thus begins their long journey.

I am not kidding when I say long. The author somehow manages to create a story that encompasses a span of nearly seven years, yet the timeline fits well, and the years throughout ensure that Haley and Reid’s happily ever after is that much more sweet. After his leaving for Iraq, Reid finds a way to ensure that Haley doesn’t forget him without being intrusive. Though his deployment ends up taking roughly eighteen months, instead of barely one, he never forgets Haley. Once he finally arrives back in San Jacinto, California (Haley’s hometown), he discovers that she left U. C. Davis (with the intention of acquiring a veterinarian degree), and is instead in Alaska assisting in a wolf study with for her former Professor Greene, working with a conservationist group.

He still reaches her, and declares that he will wait for her to come home. At this point, it is quite clear that Reid is aware of Haley’s skittish, anxiety-ridden behavior where trust is concerned. So, naturally, patience is necessary in order to bring Haley to him. Four months or so later, Haley is finished in Alaska, and back with her grandparents. Reid forces his way into her presence. Understandably, their palpable chemistry combusts unexpectedly and fiercely to the point of the reader needs a fan to cool off! What is unexpected; however, is just how fearful Haley really is about love and giving into a true sense of vulnerability. You gain her perspective of course, but how deep this fear runs, is surprising. So, after a few very memorable moments, the two part ways, only to be brought back together five years later.

Five years? Yes! Trust me, it works out well, and I love how these two are brought back together in the book. The plot is indeed a fine work of kismet, despite Reid and Haley being brought back together under less-than-perfect circumstances. After all, Haley is still has the same convictions as before, as does Reid. Moreover, his sister Krista clearly despises her (if by this point the reader hadn’t gathered that), and Tonya is still lurking around hoping for a chance to be with Reid again. To elaborate, Tonya is one of two women Reid has ever been with and she is not shy about saying what she thinks or showing Reid what she wants. I have to say that Tonya is actually the only female character thus far in the entire series that I do not like. I think she is too self-absorbed, and dishonest when necessary. Krista, Reid’s sister is obnoxious at first, but she admits when she is wrong in the end. Alas, Krista redeemed herself.

Unfortunately, Haley does not take well to being disliked because she isn’t a confrontational person, despite being very strong-willed and upfront about her personal feelings on any given subject. Luckily for her, Reid is the only one that really matters. The problem is that the surrounding setting seems to be against them. Between Haley and Reid coming back together through circumstances relating to a zealous hunter killing an innocent animal (an animal very special to Haley), and her ex, Jeffery Greene trying to destroy them, how will they make it? You see, Haley is now the head of a program that helps monitor wolves in Wyoming, and wolves are encroaching on the land of people who rely upon its resources; resources they own. Naturally, this causes problems for ranchers, big-game hunters, and those whose livelihood is affected by predators, while people like Haley are trying to ensure the safety of the initially-endangered species.

She wants to save the lives of the innocent, yet Reid knows there has to be give and take to ensure humans and wolves coexist as peacefully as possible. So to say how amazing it is to watch Haley grow as an individual would be an understatement. She finally becomes capable of seeing the positive reasons behind compromise; bending when necessary. Then, in a shocking twist of events, she learns of deceit that could potentially destroy everything her and Reid have finally begun to build. Bridges that could bring both of their goals to fruition are discovered, and both are able to come to together through honesty and trust. The problem is, will the burning of those bridges be extinguished in time, before there is nothing left to rebuild?

Ultimately, yes, yes two opposites can find common ground, and come together as easily as night and day. Normally, such a controversial subject, weighed in upon by characters that have opposing viewpoints could cause too much conflict. Yet, the author was able to create such captivating characters that the reader is the ability to identify with both Reid and Haley. To me, this proves how talented a writer I’ve found. It is an impressive feat to manage as a writer, breathing life into two characters that may seem incompatible, yet have unshakable chemistry. This chemistry is so real you feel as though love can conquer all, and that anything is possible.

Believe me when I say this story is a triumph. You will laugh, only to laugh harder. You will cry, and you will smile. You will feel good inside once finished, because the ending is perfection. Not to mention, you might need a cold shower at some point (winks). Victoria Vane truly has another success on her hands. Between the action, the romance, the controversial moments, and the evolution of her characters, there is beauty to discover. Thank you for another sexy addition to the Hot Cowboy Nights Series!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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