WIND RIVER RANCHER – Lindsay McKenna
Wind River Valley , Book 2
Wind River Ranch, Wyoming – Present Day
Homeless and wandering, former Marine Reese Lockhart is passing through Wind River when a kindly store owner provides him with food, clothing, and an offer to connect with local rancher Shaylene Crawford. Shay, a former veteran herself, offers Reese a place to stay on her ranch and a job, which he accepts. He has been down on his luck since he got out, losing his marriage and all his friends, because he has been fighting the demons of PTSD. Shay runs a ranch to help vets, and Reese may be just another guy on the ranch, but there's something else that clicks between them.
Shay has her own problems with PTSD, but not as severe as Reese's. She is struggling to save the ranch she inherited from her mother, but also has to deal with her father, who is in a rehab facility after a stroke. Her father verbally chastises her and calls her dumb, which is hard on her self-respect. Helping other vets by offering them a place to stay and recover has been a dream of hers, but paying the monthly mortgage is a strain. Everyone helps, including Reese, and the men and Shay are almost like a family. But there is more than this between Reese and Shay as the days pass, because they're growing closer. Yet, do they dare pass over the bridge from friendship to lovers?
WIND RIVER RANCHER is a powerful and emotional tale that deals with the issues vets face with PSTD after they return from their tours of duty overseas and ultimately leave military service. It leaves many unable to function normally, and they push away family and friends who don't know how to help them. Because of Shay's own experiences, she's able to reach out to Reese. Shay is a hard worker, as are Reece and the other men who live there: Garret, Noah and Harper. Reese wasn't sure he'd fit in at first, but soon he feels like he's found a place that he can call home.
Shay returned home to run the ranch after her father's debilitating stroke. The old man might be unable to walk, but his tongue is as sharp as ever. After Shay's visits with him, she comes home usually in tears. She's barely hanging onto the ranch, but he won't give her any slack, accusing her of being unfit to run it. With Reese's help in going over the ranch books, Shay can finally see if the ranch will survive, and possibly confront her father with the facts. She in turn helps Reese get through his bouts of PTSD symptoms, leading to a closeness that is more than friendship.
Lindsay McKenna has a military background and it shows in WIND RIVER RANCHER with a powerful telling of what these men and women did for our country and the sacrifices they made. Shay and Reese will pull you into the emotion and drama of their fighting for recovery and dragging themselves up out of the gutter of despair. Their romance is low key and slow building, but readers will see the chemistry that sizzles between them. Once they decide to make love, it is thought out and meaningful. Meanwhile, help in building a horse arena that will bring money to the ranch brings a ray of hope to Shay. Maybe finally she can prove to her father she has what it takes to be successful. While part of the Wind River Valley series, WIND RIVER RANCHER is very much a standalone.
WIND RIVER RANCHER is about hope, recovery, and finding love after hitting rock bottom. This tale will surely make you look at veterans in a new light. Grab a comfy chair and sit down a spell to read WIND RIVER RANCHER. You won't be sorry.