Sam Becker is what people call a horse whisperer. He’s due to retire, but he takes on one last job before he does. He moves onto the Taylor ranch to try and return Calla (the horse) to her temperament before a terrible riding accident spooked her. While he’s there, Sam becomes attached to the Taylors. They’re good people, and they take him in like family. He also meets and falls for Joshua, the Taylor’s son who was riding Calla when the accident happened.
Joshua Taylor is so broken. Yes, physically, after the accident, but also mentally and emotionally. He’s locked himself away in his room. He won’t come out for anyone, not even his family. However, when Sam arrives, things become different. As Sam begins to make progress with Calla, Joshua begins to heal as well.
Sam and Joshua have a lot of hurdles to jump. Sam had a tragic incident he’s still not really confronted, and Joshua is young and needs to learn to live again.
Sitting down to write this review, I’m sort of torn. It’s a well written book. Fielding’s writing style is smooth, and she paints a picture that is so detailed I was able to see everything in my mind…and it was all beautiful. The characters are fleshed out, even the background ones. I liked all of them very much.
I wouldn’t call One Step Forward an insta-love story. Sam and Joshua fell quickly, but it wasn’t really in your face. They fell hard, and I was happy about that. Those men needed each other, and I was anxious to get started on their road to happiness.
I don’t want to give away spoilers because there is a lot going on here. I’m trying to figure out how much to say. I’ll give you this. Sam meets Joshua and feels a strong pull toward him. Not only does he want to heal Calla, but he wants to heal Joshua as well. Through kind words, music, and a little bit of tough love, Joshua begins to come out of his self imposed prison. Loving Joshua drags up some terrible memories for Sam. He had a wife, but there was a (big) problem, and she died. Sam had never really faced that, but he eventually comes to terms with the situation. Sam and Joshua are good for each other. Joshua’s family is wonderful and treats Sam like their own. It all seems very ideal.
The sex? The sex was amazing! Hot, but tender and loving. There were a few scenes that I read more than once…if you know what I mean. Sam and Joshua’s bodies seem to meld together as they make love, and it was wonderful.
Basically, One Step Forward is a great book, but…and this is just a personal thing. I’m sure not everyone would agree with me. I was a bit upset with the ending. I understood Sam had a life before the Taylors, including a ranch he needed to attend to, but I was heart broken when…oh God, how I want to tell you everything. Let’s just say even though it was what had to happen, I wasn’t happy about it. Also, I felt it was rushed in the very last pages. Years had gone by, but important issues were simply touched on. I know an author only has a certain number of pages to work with, but I’d have really liked to have more information about things that had happened during those years.
One Step Forward was a good book. It made me feel things. I laughed and cried through it. I fell in love with Sam and Joshua, and I won’t soon forget them. It’s a must read if you like horses, broken leading men who finally get what they want and need, and great friend and family relationships. Recommend.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.