WIND RIVER COWBOY – Lindsay McKenna
A Wind River Valley Novel
Wind River, Wyoming – Present Day
Kira Duval was part of a Special Forces team that was attacked by enemy fire in Afghanistan that killed everyone except her and Garret Fleming. They were separated while recovering in a hospital, and afterwards, Kira could not locate him. Suffering from PTSD, she is unable to hold a job and has wandered from one city to another. Kira's old commanding officer offers her a chance to recover at a ranch in Wyoming that specializes in former military members with PTSD. It's a way to work and get counseling at the same time. Kira has barely arrived at the house in Wyoming when Garret walks in. To say both are surprised is an understatement, and they are assigned to the same house. Kira was secretly attracted to Garret when they served together. Will she finally get a chance to find love with him?
Part of Kira's duties are taking care of the ranch owner's father, who is recovering from a stroke. The older man is obnoxious and, much to Kira's shock, hostile towards women and vets. For someone who has PTSD, the hostility causes a frisson of flashbacks to when she was under attack in Afghanistan. Kira doesn't tell anyone about the old man's attacks, but Garret senses something isn't right, but it takes until she is physically hurt for her to open up to him. His protectiveness and soothing manner has them growing closer, but should she tell him that she's attracted to him?
Once again Lindsay McKenna brings readers a tale about PTSD and the impact it has on military vets. As a Special Forces member, Kira was dedicated to her job, and the unit was close. The ambush gutted their team, leaving Kira and Garret the only survivors. Both have some survivor's guilt, but it's the PTSD that has literally incapacitated them. Garret has been at the Bar C Ranch for a while and is part of the “family” there, which includes the owner, Shay, and her husband, Reese, both vets with PTSD themselves. Shay's father is an alcoholic who had a stroke and is resentful of the fact that Shay is running the ranch and has turned it into a therapeutic ranch for veterans. Kira was shocked to be verbally and physically attacked by the older man, and it mentally shakes her up.
Living in the two-bedroom house with Garret, they soon fall into a daily routine. Garret is a wonderful cook and takes excellent care of Kira. They talk about their old unit and what they remember happened the day of the attack, but she doesn't let on about her attraction to him. Garret soon finds himself attracted to Kira, but is unsure if she's ready for any romantic overture. But their ever-growing closeness finally leads to revelations and a sense of trusting one another. The romance in WIND RIVER COWBOY is slow building, but this adds to the charming tale. I would characterize the story as being somewhat sweet in nature, as the lovemaking is not acted upon until both reveal their love for each other. Meanwhile, Shay's father is dealt with, but it is left open-ended in WIND RIVER COWBOY. I suspect in future books in the Wind River Valley series we will see him again.
Lindsay McKenna brings her knowledge of the military to WIND RIVER COWBOY and provides readers with another stellar tale.