Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Two men destroyed by the past learn to live—and love—again.
Kyle Braden has nowhere else to go. With no money and no prospects, he turns to the only man who promises him help. Jack Campbell-Hayes wants to show Kyle that he can be more than he ever thought.
Kyle begins to see how far he’s come from being the scarred man who shut everyone out, when the first person through the doors of Legacy Ranch is Jason; a young man with nightmares that follow him when he’s awake.
Lost in the system and with three years on the streets marking every inch of his body, Jason Smith is scared. His life is an evil mess of hate and despair, and even the offer of a fresh start and a clean bed isn’t enough for him feel safe. Until Kyle comes into his life and shows him that it’s okay not to be in control.
For these broken men, Legacy Ranch offers more than a place to live and work.
It offers hope.
A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.
Kyle is so broken from the time he spent in a sexually and physically abusive situation with rancher Hank Castille that he finds it hard to accept that all Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes want is to see him get a fresh start. They don’t want to have sex with him or abuse him in any way, and yet Kyle’s behavior is somewhat like the dog that bites its master when it’s cornered. And it takes Kyle quite a lengthy time in this story to finally realize that he might be able to help himself and accept that these men, along with their brother-in-law, Steve Murray, only want to see him succeed.
But the story isn’t all about Kyle. It’s also about Jason, a young man caught in a downward spiral when his depression gets out of control at the same time as he’s lost all other control in his life. Fortunately, Steve, who runs a teen shelter, sees something positive in Jason and recommends him to Jack as the first resident for their new venture: Legacy Farm.
Legacy Farm is where they’ve assigned Kyle as manager of the small ranch that will provide a home for eligible troubled young men and women. They learn to be responsible for their own horse—one rescued from an abusive situation. It’s actually ideal for Kyle, who has found that touching or talking to his horse is equally as satisfying as riding out on the range with it, so he is one of the most capable persons for passing on that passion to others. When Jason joins him to work on the construction of the new building, Kyle makes it his mission to introduce him to the joys of working with horses as well.
At first, Jason isn’t so sure about that. After all, he has a huge fear of the beasts with the large teeth, but I totally enjoyed all the interactions between Jason, Kyle, and Jason’s assigned horse, Mistry. There was humor and hope in equal measures, and when Jason finally tapped into the pleasure of working with the great beasts, he understood the joy of horse therapy and the peace and solitude he could achieve through riding—with or without Kyle at his side.
This is a beautiful love story, as these two very emotionally damaged young men recover from both the physical and psychological abuse they’ve suffered. Their recovery is not always at the same pace, but it happens. And the fact that the author allowed them to start to heal before they jumped into bed with each other added to my reading pleasure. I love a slow burn buildup in a romance novel!
And, I absolutely loved the way RJ Scott wove the whole Campbell-Hayes clan into this starter story, engaging me with the full cast of characters and where they are in their lives today. Going to a cookout and taking me for a walk down memory lane so I could see people I haven’t seen in years was an unexpected surprise. The love between Jack and Riley, so clearly in evidence by the way they look at each other, speak to each other, and touch tenderly even while doing everyday tasks is still alive and strong. This book and its cast of characters was a fantastic bridge from the Texas series to this new one!
I can’t wait to read more, and I highly recommend it to all who’ve loved the Texas series as well as to those who simply love a hurt-comfort romance. Make no mistake—this is not a sex-filled romp on the range—it’s a beautiful, emotionally compelling love story. Kudos, Ms. Scott!
Cover art by Meredith Russell is as wonderful as the story.
ebook, 193 pages
Published August 31st 2016 by Love Lane Books Limited
SeriesLegacy Ranch #1