James Cavanaugh is the second-to-the-oldest Cavanaugh brother. He had left the Triple C Ranch and its harsh memories behind at eighteen to attend college, returning only to attend his father’s funeral. People see James as “the horse whisperer”, due to his uncanny ability to calm horses and understand their feelings and needs. He remains on the ranch to tend the wild mustangs and to garner information from River Black’s vet in hopes to solve his younger sister’s unsolved death.
I identified a lot with Sheridan. She may not have been my ideal heroine, preferring strong personalities much like BRANDED’s Mackenzie, but I saw a lot of myself in Sheridan that made me like her. Sheridan’s way of keeping people at arm’s length, her feeling of loneliness, her fear of letting people in, and how she tended to learn from another’s circumstances and mistakes than her own. All things I have done, or still do. I approve how James shook all that up. He proved my conviction that the right person can open another up to see what they have been missing: friends, lovers, etc.
James’s character in BRANDED brought the adage “still waters run deep” to mind. How his calm exterior conceals the emotions he has kept hidden from his siblings and the world. I like how in BROKEN the leash he had on his feelings breaks, showing far more of his emotions in this book than the prior one. I find there is just something sexy about a man being so eloquent, so well versed with the ability to throw out a quote from literature to fit a situation dead-on.
What I loved the most about the story was how both James and Sheridan had their own issues and fears that they needed to defeat before they could come together, how the other person gave them a reason to prevail. I did notice the author toned down her overuse of “darlin’” in the cowboy’s speech.
BROKEN is an evocative story about mending from a past loss and healing from debilitating fears that hinder people from what they truly want. BROKEN meets the expectation its predecessor BRANDED left behind and makes me eager for the next book in the series.