Unlike the first 2 books in the series, this isn’t about the Knowlton family or anyone on their ranch. But I enjoyed it just as much as I have the earlier installments. What I am enjoying tremendously in this series is that the last two books have been about war veterans – that’s appealing to me.
Spending the last eight years as a Marine sniper, Reid Everett’s home for good. He’s out of all that sand and heat and happy to be back in Wyoming working on the ranch he’s known all his life, doing what he loves to do. Haley Cooper, the wildlife biologist, is all about making the world a safer place for wolves. She’ll give up everything including friends and family to make that happen.
We get to see Haley and Cooper when they’re both younger. Reid is at Camp Pendleton waiting for his next deployment and with nothing else to do but pack. His best friend and spotter talks him into going to a local bar. It’s there that Reid first meets Haley, after her best friend talks her into going. Reid helps Haley by paying for her entry as she didn’t have the required cash. There’s some dialogue and interesting scenes that gave me an idea of Haley and Reid’s personalities by their actions. I’ve gotta say, there was no time that Reid came off as the typical girl chasing young guy; he knew what he wanted and I liked him from the beginning. Haley on the other hand, if she could have been more ‘enlightened’ I’m not sure she would be able to stand living amongst the regular folks – she’s so annoying and what’s worse than that is that I know people just like her.
This is one of those few stories when the hero, not the heroine, made this a likable story for me. As much as I wanted to like Haley, I just never got over her ‘holier than thou’ attitude with everyone. I got the feeling that she wasn’t always that way, but that’s not something that we delved into. I think part of Haley’s need for whatever it was she looking for stemmed from being given away by her teenaged mother. We don’t get the full story as to why that happened, but Haley can’t get over it and it’s been a driver for a lot of the choices that she makes. Even with me knowing about her birth situation, I still neither felt sorry for her nor liked her. Had her passion come from a place that I understood (maybe some kind of social work dealing with adopted or fostered children) and I could possibly empathize, but ‘wolves’ just don’t get my empathy.
Now on to my favorite hero, Reid. What a guy he is. His entire life has been based in reality. From his beginnings of working on his family’s ranch, then going off to war, then coming back to continue the life he left behind. He’s always been comfortable in his own skin and he knows what he wants even when those around him have what they believe his future should be. I liked that once Haley came to Wyoming and became part of his world again, he didn’t let her get away with the way she treated him as she did the first time they met all those years ago.
Reid saved this story for me and I wanted him to find his happiness even if it was with Haley. His patience with her, even when she’s doing everything in her power to undermine his ability to earn a living, was well done and didn’t make him come off as a chump. I really liked the Everett family dynamics. It’s always a joy to read about families that actually love and care for each other. The description of Reid’s appreciation of the land and the people who depend on it read really well.
I didn’t feel the chemistry between Reid and Haley as much as I would have liked to, but I’m quite sure that’s because I didn’t like Haley. It’s a testament to Victoria Vane’s writing that I ended up liking this story so much. If you’re a fan of this series, this is a good one. If you’ve not read any of the other stories in the series and like a good cowboy/military story, you’re going to like this.
Happy Reading folks!
*ARC provided by publisher for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Sharp Shootin’ Cowboy
by Victoria Vane
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca