Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Kieran Sullivan was wrongly convicted of a crime, served his time in prison, and is now finally free. But Keiran has carefully crafted his plan to find out who set him up in the first place. Redemption Ridge is a ranch for second chances, both for ex-convicts and the animals they rescue and rehabilitate. For Kieran, it’s the key to getting revenge. He intends to pull his weight and contribute, but he’s also going to get the answers he’s seeking.

Finley Ashe is in charge of the equine program at Redemption Ridge. He’s always had a thing for bad boys, but put himself on a hiatus from dating when his last relationship went south. Finley has the perfect touch with the horses, but when Cash Sweeney, the owner, brings Keiran to his barn, Finley forgets to breathe. Despite swearing off men, and bad boys in particular, Finley is immediately attracted to Kieran. He also knows Kieran is a bit broken, needs time to heal and get his feet under him, and that as his boss, Finley should stay away.

But the more time they spend together, the harder that is. The attraction is mutual, and neither man can stop the occasional flirtatious comments. More than that, though, they connect on a deeper level. Kieran is determined to keep his distance; he’s at the ranch for one purpose, and one purpose only, and as soon as he accomplishes that, he’s moving on. But the draw to Finley is too great. Eventually, Kieran shares some of his life and, after they finally give into the attraction, Kieran tells Finley most of the truth. Considering how Finley feels about Cash, though, Kieran still keeps the ultimate reason to himself.

However, things aren’t what they seem, even when the clues take a dramatic turn. Finley is determined to not only help Kieran, but keep him forever, but that’s easier said than done. When everything comes to a head, it seems as though Kieran is slipping through Finley’s fingers. Kieran needs answers, and not just to who set him up. It’s possible he not only found the love of his life, but also his purpose.

Before I begin this review, I want to make note of a couple of content warnings readers should be aware of. There is talk, but never depiction, of animal abuse. There is also discussion of past child abuse and partner abuse, as well as mention of drug use. All of it is handled well, and is fairly brief.

The blurb on this book really intrigued me and I wasn’t disappointed. Walker has crafted a tale that hits all of the right notes. Both Kieran and Finley have baggage, and Kieran is a little damaged, but throughout the story both MCs are on a journey of self discovery. It’s slow burn at it’s finest, with the chemistry between the MCs off the charts. Walker doles out information at the right pace throughout the story.

I really connected with both MCs, as well as the colorful cast of secondary characters. Kieran is broken, because his ex-boyfriend and his subsequent wrongful conviction broke him. But he is resilient. Even though he has revenge on his mind when he lands at Redemption Ridge, he’s not afraid of hard work. His whole life, people have cast Kieran in a bad light, so much so that he’s come to believe it. But Finley’s belief in him, though hard to accept at first, begins to break down those walls that Keiran has erected to protect himself. I loved watching him evolve throughout the story, first by letting Kieran in, and then as he came to understand not only the truth about what happened, but the truth about himself and his potential. Though there are some darker themes in this story, Kieran’s journey is positive.

Finley is a sweetheart through and through. He’s made some bad choices in past relationships, and he is definitely attracted to a certain type of guy. He’s a fixer by nature, and he’s translated that to relationships. What I really loved here is that Finley recognizes a kindred soul in Kieran and doesn’t try to fix him per se. Instead, he makes it his goal to help Kieran see all the potential he possesses. These two men fit together so well.

As I said, the chemistry is off the charts. From their first meeting, the attraction sparks and sizzles. But it’s also a slow burn story. It takes time for them to get to know each other and for them to take the leap into the physical side of things. I wouldn’t exactly call it friends to lovers, as both men want more from the start, but they do become friends and support each other before anything more happens. The connection was palpable, and I was happily along for the journey.

The secondary plot to the romance was also well paced and drawn. I wanted Kieran to get his answers just as badly as he did. It was clear from the start that things weren’t what he thought, though it was just as clear why Kieran thought the things he did. Ultimately, that storyline resolves in pretty much the way you’d expect, but it’s handled well.

This book has just enough angst to give the story weight, but is peppered with moments of levity that really work. I thought the author did a great job of fleshing out the characters. The whole cast felt like real people. The storyline wraps up in a very neat and happy bow that maybe isn’t completely true to reality. But for Kieran, it’s exactly as it should be. I really enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to the rest in the series, as we follow along with others finding their HEA as well.