by Elaine Nichols

October 2001
ISBN: 0-373-24428-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Silhouette #1426
Mass Market Paperback

Mandy Thompson has been seriously injured and needs healing time to learn to use her new prosthesis. Jake Miller has been seriously heartbroken and needs healing time to discover the extent of his internal wounds. Together, Jake and Mandy learn about the power of love to heal so many different kinds of damages.

Initially it seems as though these two are destined for trouble. Ten years before, Mandy ran from Jake’s arms to the rodeo that she has made her career. Their idyllic teenage romance turned to adult reality with the death of Jake’s father – the responsibilities thrust on a young man forced his path away from the free and easy life he and Mandy had planned, and into the company business. Mandy’s fears stem from the uneasy life of a rodeo rider’s family – she loved the rodeo, but it hadn’t exactly made her father a candidate for Dad-of-the-year. In the ten years since, Jake made a success of his business and helped his family settle into a new life, and Mandy made a name for herself as a successful rodeo woman!

Everything ground to a halt the night Mandy rode old Hit Man, the Brahma bull, and lost part of her leg. Now she has to relearn the simplest things and the simplest can be the hardest – like trust. Jake has a wing of his home set up for handicapped access – it’s a natural gesture to offer it for her recuperation. Both are determined to put the past behind them, but both fail to recognize the embers burning steadily beneath the surface!!

Both Mandy and Jake are carefully drawn characters – very realistic in their actions, thoughts and emotions. Mandy is the perfect example of what a previously active and attractive young woman must suffer after an experience like this – my heart ached for her, even though I applauded her strength and commitment. Jake is patience personified, sticking by Mandy through bad temper tantrums and vicious verbal fights – his understanding is a very charming part of this really nice man’s personality. Because I liked both of them so much, I did find it hard to watch the continual roller coaster they were both riding! Especially after they realized that what they had together was hot and satisfying!!

I lost count of the number of times each decided that it was over with the other – the reasons for these decisions were good, but how many times can one do this sort of thing without just giving up completely? That is really my only criticism of this story – people do break up and get back together again – even twice, it’s part of being in a difficult relationship. But Mandy and Jake were breaking up as often as making up! It got a bit tiring! A fun read if you don’t mind the ups and downs of love – a LOT of ups and downs!!!

Reviewed in March 2002 by Celia.

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