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Wanting to end his pattern of choosing controlling and abusive men, Vladimir ‘Val’ Mihalic figures it’s better to live alone than live in fear. Just when things are settling down—his biggest trouble recently is a Kentucky Derby hopeful that won’t load into a starting gate—his best friend Janelle’s violent ex-boyfriend kidnaps her. After she’s seriously injured in a car wreck, Wyatt Harig, Janelle’s estranged father, comes around to tend to his daughter. Despite Val’s determination to avoid relationships, Wyatt interests him in ways that make his resolve waver. As complications and repercussions pile on in the aftermath of Janelle’s kidnapping—including a gambling charge and a murder—Wyatt and Val must work together to seek answers. And the closer they get to each other, the more Val wants them to stay that way.
F.I.N.E. There are times when fine is okay. Every story is not going to twist you in knots or have you raging. Just the same, every book is not going to be the greatest thing you’ve ever read. Sometimes a book is just…fine. And that’s exactly how I felt here.
Horses and racing will eventually take you to Kentucky, which is where we head for this mystery. Follow the big hats, big horses and bigger trail of cash to the track.
Val is content with his easy-going life. He works for a stable but he doesn’t handle the horses like his best friend, he handles the paperwork. Janelle is a jockey and she’s preparing for a hot season. Seems like her new horse is going to snag the blue ribbon, if she can work out a couple of kinks. Luckily she has all season to do so. Or so she thought. Her abusive ex-boyfriend attacks her and in the process she gets pretty banged up. If she doesn’t race, she doesn’t get paid and she doesn’t have any family to help her. Again, or so she thought.
She moves in with Val while she is recovering and her estranged father tracks her down. As it turns out, she didn’t know the truth behind his separation from the family and it’s rather devastating. As they work on rekindling their relationship while she is recuperating from her injuries a spark ignites between Val and her father. Wyatt is immediately drawn to the younger man and wants to take care of him. Val didn’t envision himself craving intimacy again after his rocky relationship past, but Wyatt is different. Wyatt protects him but doesn’t smother him. Wyatt catches him, but this time he wants to be caught.
Their romantic dance is quick, smooth and straightforward. Janelle is not bothered at all with the fact that her best friend and dad are dating. Everything is honky-dory…until. Until what? Well, that’s part of the mystery.
I’m not necessary horse savvy. My daughter rides but I barely know the basics. I don’t believe this hindered my enjoyment. The dialogue did bother me a bit. It felt stilted and occasionally out-of-place.
‘Cool’ and ‘That’s great’ are not exactly fitting during times of passion in my opinion. But hey, that’s just me.
Another moment that stuck out like a sore thumb was a scene involving a box. I thought it was unnatural and was left perplexed. There was no follow through, so why include it?
I didn’t feel their spark, but that’s fine.
I wasn’t caught up in the mystery, but that’s okay too.
And the writing was all right.
So yeah, it was fine.