Review: Where The Horses Run by Kaki Warner

where the horses runReviewed by Jen

Wounded in body and spirit after a shootout, Rayford Jessup leaves his career as a lawman and uses his gift with damaged horses to bring meaning to his solitary life. Hired by a Scotsman in Heartbreak Creek to purchase thoroughbreds, he travels to England, unaware that a traumatized horse and a beautiful Englishwoman will change his life forever.

Sold.  I didn’t even need to read the rest of the blurb. It’s like whoever wrote it crawled inside my brain and served up just the kind of hero I am always looking for.  I didn’t quite satisfy the way that I hoped. It wasn’t bad. The problem was that it wasn’t all that engaging. 

Yes, Jessup and Josephine are wounded, but their emotions didn’t resonate completely.  It was a little dry and I would have liked the characters to evoke more angst; more longing; more sexual tension; more, well, everything.

Money is tight for Josephine’s father and he is to the point where he is trying to marry her off to a wealthy gentlemen in order to get some cash. Josephine wants a love match, but more than that, she must be sure that any future she plans for herself will be what is best for her young son Jamie. Unfortunately, she has few options with an illegitimate child. So in a last ditch effort to gain funds, her father decides to sell off the family horses.

That’s where Jessup comes in. He is an American horse wrangler, hired by a Scottish earl living in the states, to investigate Josie’s family horses and decide their worth. He is the strong, silent type, but he is also gentle and kind. Jessup and Josephine make a quick connection over their mutual love of animals and from there a friendship is born. Of course, that friendship turns into something more but it’s a slow process, especially since Jessup is a man of no prospects and he knows he can’t take care of Josie and her son.

The story had potential. I liked both main characters well enough. They were good people with the right intentions. But at times, it was a little… boring. The relationship developed slowly. The horses were featured heavily. And the foil to the relationship was rather lackluster. Even the sex was very nondescript and short in nature.

A positive point for the book was in the secondary characters. I found myself interested in Jessup’s Native American friend Thomas and his backstory. I’m also very interested in his romance which seems to be coming in the next book. I liked the Scottish earl, Ash Kirkwell and his wife. I even liked little Jamie. Another plus: I liked the American west juxtaposed with the English nobility. It was different and I enjoyed the contrast.

But. Josie’s dad is kind of a one-note bad guy –and Jamie’s father wasn’t even a blip on the radar.

It wasn’t bad, just kind of meh. I think I will give the next story a try, though, just because the author did a really good job piquing my interest on Thomas and Pru.

Rating: B-/C+

*ARC Provided by Berkley

Click to purchase: Amazon

Where the Horses Run
by Kaki Warner
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Berkley

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