Greyson Hayden and Kyler Lassiter were rodeo men and committed lovers for years, but Grey’s alcoholism was killing both of them. Ky couldn’t take watching the man he adored drown himself in beer and whiskey any longer, and was concerned that his co-dependence was keeping Grey from getting sober, so he packed all of Grey’s stuff and asked him to leave. And, it broke both of their hearts.
Fast forward ten years. Grey has returned to New Mexico, to the town he and Kyler called home. He’s seven years sober, and has built a respectable fortune as a stock contractor raising bulls for rodeos. He’s avoided Kyler—it wasn’t hard when Kyler never replied to any of his calls or texts—but now he wants to show up in all his splendor, preen, and make Kyler regret kicking him to the curb. Grey’s a little irritated that Kyler looks so good though. At least at first. Because there’s something odd about the way Ky holds himself so stiffly, and it pulls at all of Grey’s remaining restraint.
Ky lost both his legs in a freak mechanical incident several years back. He hasn’t let this devastating injury stop him from being the horse-whispering cowboy he’d always been, however. Years of therapy and training, along with some pretty sophisticated prosthetics, have given Ky back his autonomy, even if his life is lonely. Sure, he misses what he and Grey once had, but he’s sure he made the right choice pushing Grey away, having followed his path to sobriety and success through mutual friends and trade papers. Ky maintains enough land to train and stable a passel of prime horses, and he has deep ties to his neighbor and best friend’s family. If Grey feels the need to beat his chest, well, Ky can be the bigger man and take it. What he can’t take, unfortunately, is the accidental injury that leaves Ky unable to manage his life. Again.
Grey never meant to lose his temper, but he and Ky always were a bit explosive. Their mutual passion sets up a big problem, because Ky’s inability to manage on his own while he heals means that he’s going to have to accept the help Grey’s offered. And Grey, well, yeah, he’s pretty embarrassed about his part in the kerfuffle, yet he’s strangely energized by the prospect of close quarters with Ky for several weeks. Not that Grey can spend that much time away from his ranch. And, heck, Grey’s ranch is supremely outfitted with staff and space to give both men time to heal. So, it’s barely time for the stitches to set up before Grey has them bundled into his truck bound for his ranch several hours away. And, if he might woo his one true love back while the ornery man heals from this new injury, well, Grey will take that too.
This is a really sweet second chance romance for two rough cowboys who’ve had life changing experiences in their time apart. Ky’s so bent on being self-sufficient, and never becoming the burden he imagines himself to be, that it takes him a bit to recognize Grey’s not humoring him. Meanwhile, Grey’s relishing the opportunity to be the caretaker Ky had been for him during their past love affair. I could feel how strongly Ky didn’t want to be seen and less-than, and I loved that Grey didn’t feel that way at all; he’s blown away by Ky’s strength and determination. And his muscles. Because, hoo boy, he’s as buff as ever, having to get strong enough to use the wheelchairs and crutches and ride his horses and all, even with the prosthetics. Admiration fair streams off Grey, and it settles Ky’s mind greatly. What also settles Ky is the place he imagines building for himself within Grey’s life and business, one that Grey’s more than eager to indulge if only Ky will agree to stay. Because it’s pretty clear after barely a week of sharing time and space again that separating a second time will crush them both.
There isn’t a lot of sex on the page, mainly because most of the book happens while Ky is laid up—and yet their attraction rekindles almost immediately. The close touches, little kisses, and the doing of the things they each need to both reconnect and support one another take center stage. The conversations and vulnerability that they didn’t have ten years ago are shared now, and it cements them into solid footing before any clothes come off. I loved how Grey checks in with his sobriety often, calling on his sponsor and attending meetings. And, given that one MC has serious physical mobility issues, Ky’s independence and autonomy were not the predictable points of conflict I anticipated. Instead, Grey’s admiration and joy at seeing Ky’s capabilities checked his worry for Ky’s safety. He’s grown enough to respect Ky’s needs, and place them above his own insecurities, and that was awesomely translated in those tense moments when Ky was expecting Grey to light into him for risking injury. To be clear, Ky isn’t a risk-taker, but his activities at the ranch are inherently more risky due to his mobility issues; Grey’s restraint came from a place of respect and love, and that mutual recognition facilitated the growth of intimacy between them. Grey never makes Ky feel incapable, and that was really powerful.
These guys were built to love one another, and it’s really joyous to experience their reconnection without too much drama or angst. The side characters, who all supported and loved both Grey and Ky, were well written and added necessary insight for both MCs. While this is a standalone novel, I enjoyed it enough to want another story about them to keep the love growing. Highly recommend.