Monday, August 8, 2016

One Step Forward by Tia Fielding

Sam Becker, a horse whisperer, agrees to take one last job before retiring to his Texas ranch. It’s clear as soon as he meets the Taylor family in Kentucky that he’s in for a challenge. What he doesn’t expect is the way his own wounds reopen. He never really dealt with the suicide of his mentally ill wife, and he won’t be able to ignore that hurt forever.

Joshua Taylor and his horse, Calla, were a force to be reckoned with on the eventing circuit until an accident ended their careers. Most of the pain is on the inside, however, and Sam knows those injuries are the slowest to mend. Sam’s unique methods help Calla and, surprisingly, Josh, but he’s still lost without riding. Their feelings for each other come hard and fast, and Josh starts his first steps of recovery, but Sam needs to return to Texas eventually. Even if Josh is able to move past the accident, they’ll still have a long and difficult journey to make before they can be together.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a slow, tender story of growth and healing. When grieving horse whisperer Sam arrives to care for Joshua’s scarred horse, Calla, he soon realises that Calla will never fully recover until Joshua does.

Sam and Joshua both very broken at the start, but Sam’s gentle ways and Joshua’s warm, loving family stop this from ever becoming too angsty or depressing. This is as much a horse story, a family drama, and a story of personal recovery, as it is a romance. The romance between Sam and Joshua develops painfully slowly.

I found myself really enjoying the relationship building in this story, but readers wanting a sexy cowboy romance might need to look elsewhere for sex and excitement. While the chemistry between Sam and Joshua is fantastic, there is a long wait for any physical contact between the two leading men and the focus remains on the lives being rebuilt rather than the romance or sex.

This is a warm, fuzzy, feel-good story. It is a gentler, sweeter style and storyline than I usually read, but I really enjoyed the cast of well-developed characters and the idyllic Kentucky ranch. I loved the patience Sam applies as he works carefully with both Calla and Joshua and I loved the personalities afforded to each of the animals.

I really enjoyed this book! It was so heart-felt and sentimental. It really left a warm, lovey feeling in my heart.

After Josh and his horse are in a riding accident, his life and all he has ever known falls apart. He can't find the will to cope and is barely surviving. His horse, Calla, isn't much better and Josh's parents are willing to do anything to help them. They enlist the help of horse whisperer Sam, and they may finally have the right man for the job.

Sam was retired from whispering, but something about this case stuck with him and wouldn't let him say no. He has enough of his own problems to deal with, but he just can't let this one go, so he finds himself on a ranch in Kentucky with his reputation and heart on the line with two very unique beings in dire need of his help. He doesn't even know if he can do it, but he has to try.

Sam and Josh's relationship is full of pain and healing on both ends. I really like that Calla, Sam's family, and Josh's family are tied in so well. I could really feel the love. I also liked how bold and outright Sam treated Josh. He didn't beat around the bush or walk on eggshells.

The one negative I have with the book is the time gaps toward the end. I understand what the author was doing, but to me it felt like holes full of filler that didn't quite match up to the quality of the rest of the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It left me content and I had no problem finishing it quickly. I would recommend it to M/M and romance fans alike.

Author, a single parent to a bunch fur-babies. Caffeine addict. Genderqueer, pansexual. A roleplayer, computer geek, and a gamer. Addicted to reading and writing, lover of nature and all the other little things that make life worth living. As thirty-something queer Scandinavian, I've had it easier than many in my global GLBTQ family. I, much like my characters, am still looking for that one forever kind of love, but I hold on to hope that eventually I don't just have to write about feeling that kind of thing. I learned to read and write early, before I went to school. I was so utterly bored when the other kid in my class (yes, the school was a village one and very, very small...) didn't know how to. Luckily I had a teacher who let me read when the boy learned how to do the things I already could. I wrote stories early, too. Mostly about horses, but later also about romance or what I thought made up "romance." I distinctly remember never, ever finishing stories. I can't remember typing The End before I started to write fan fiction around 2009. These days I struggle with depression and the beast my ADD can be, and try to write when the muses are the loudest. Eventually, I hope, I can write for a living in the way most of us authors want to.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of One Step Forward by Tia Fielding to read and review.

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