Tuesday, April 26, 2016

review || WELCOME HOME, COWBOY { blog tour } by Annie Rains

Loveswept | April 26, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
A Hero's Welcome, book 2


With its thriving military base, Seaside, North Carolina, is teeming with heroes of all stripes. But, as the Hero’s Welcome series from Annie Rains continues, it takes a cowboy to rescue the town’s newest resident from heartache.

After a bad breakup leaves Julie Chandler completely devastated, she comes to Seaside seeking a fresh start. A talented, compassionate yoga teacher, she has developed a program to help alleviate the effects of PTSD, but getting a bunch of bullheaded Marines into downward facing dog might be impossible. So Julie’s shocked when one of her first students dives in headfirst—and almost tempts her to take down her walls with his easy smile and electrifying touch.

Ever since Texas cowboy turned Marine pilot Lawson Phillips lost a crew member in a helicopter accident, he hasn’t been able to fly. When a psychologist orders him to attend, of all things, a yoga class, Lawson’s outraged—until he finds out Julie is the instructor. She’s beautiful, graceful, and completely guarded when it comes to his advances, but he’s determined to find out what makes her tick. Because underneath Julie’s hard shell is a woman Lawson knows he could fall for—and he’s not ready for the ride to end.

{ about annie rains } .

Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.

{ excerpt } .

“Come ride with me anytime,” he said, helping her dismount from the horse when they were back at the barn. He didn’t place his hands on her ass this time, which was both regrettable and a relief. Instead, he steadied her waist with his hands. She turned to face him after he helped her to the ground, and was surprised to find how close they were standing. Close enough that the brim of his hat on her head nearly touched his chin.

“This belongs to you.” She took off the hat and went up on her tiptoes to put it back where it belonged. Their eyes locked as the movement brought them even closer together. Her heart bucked again, like a wild horse ready to bolt.

Returning to flat feet, she started to step away. Needed to step away. Too bad Bon-Bon was still behind her, blocking her escape.

“Julie?” he said, making her feet pause and her heart stutter. She liked the sound of her name on his lips. Low, deep.

“Yes?” she asked breathlessly.

He reached out his hand to tame a strand of her hair brushing against her cheek. “You have what I call hat-hair.” He took his time smoothing the hair around her ear, awakening every nerve in her body. Then he slowly dipped, keeping his blue-as-the-ocean eyes on hers, and kissed her.

She melted into him instead of stepping away. The side of his cheek on hers was warm and inviting, intoxicating. His tongue tapped softly against hers, just once, as he swept his hand behind her neck, pulling her gently toward him.

A soft moan escaped her throat, betraying her. She parted her lips for him, inviting him in, begging him to stay, which he did for just a moment longer. Then he broke it off, keeping it sweet. The kiss had threatened to be more, though. It had threatened to take her inside that barn, lay her down on a blanket of hay, and be a whole hell of a lot more.

“See you later, Lawson,” she said, forcing herself to step away from him, away from the horse and the barn. She turned toward her car and didn’t look back. Otherwise, her hormones were going to win and drag this cowboy into the barn and slam the stall doors behind them.

“See you later, Julie,” he called after her.

{ review } .

The story of Lawson and Julie was so incredibly different from the one of Kat and Micah, but almost as enjoyable. Like her sister Kat, Julie doesn't really have her heart set on finding herself a good military man, but what she does have her heart set on is bringing yoga to those Marines and others on base battling PTSD. What I enjoyed about Julie's character was that she was a go-getter -- but she didn't simply reach for her goals, she fought for them and she found ways to prove her worth.

When Lawson firsts meets Julie, she's not in her best, to say the least (downward dog is a bit awkward, if you think of it), but he's attracted to the woman he learns is his buddy's sister-in-law. I enjoyed his lighthearted moments. However, I sometimes found that the persona he portrayed to the world was such a stark difference from what was going on in his head, that there was a slight disconnect for me personally. He hides his true battles almost too well.

The biggest line in the story, I found, was definitely Lawson's personal battle. I felt Ms. Rains portrayed his PTSD moments incredibly well, even if the whole "get back on the saddle and ride" theme probably shouldn't apply to a helicopter... He does make some mistakes in his growth (but of course!), but they worked for the storyline.

for other reviews & tour goodies,

{ previous reviews in series } .

WELCOME TO FOREVER 4.5 { review }

{ giveaway } .

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