Charlie Banks is a graduate student in psychology. She has an undergraduate degree in science and had at one time thought of veterinarian school but her grade average wasn’t high enough. Her plan in life is to get her degree and make a difference. That was her mother’s dream too until she got pregnant in high school and ended up working as a waitress so Charlie could fulfill the plan.
Now, Charlie’s advisor is sending her to WY to a clinic about horse whispering. She’s suppose to observe the non-verbal communication and write up her findings. Charlie is a Jersey girl all the way and has no desire to go out west.
Nate Shawcross trains horses on the ranch his family has owned for four generations. He’s not rich by any means but he gets by. That is until his ex-girlfriend, Sandi, wiped out all of his accounts leaving him nothing. He won’t do anything though because Sandi is the mother of his daughter, Sam and has Sam with her. He’d do anything for his daughter.
When he comes across a broken down car with someone obviously from the city, Charlie, Nate learns that he’s holding a horse training clinic. Sandi set it up, took deposits and then left with all the money! Nate has no idea what he’s going to do with these students but he can’t refund the money as he doesn’t have it.
Charlie’s willing to help out but she sure doesn’t want to act on the attraction she feels towards Nate. Loving a cowboy doesn’t fit into her plan nor does living in WY. It may not even matter though when Sandi comes back to the ranch. Decisions will need to be made by everyone which will affect their lives forever.
This sweet love story has touches of humor that peak out sometimes when you lease expect them. It also addresses some serious topics like single parenthood and father’s roles but in a non-threatening way. The bad guy is truly a bad guy, except she isn’t a guy and the good guys rule!
The characters are very well done. You get a good idea of where they are coming from and why the choices they have to make tear them apart. Even Sandi’s father makes an appearance giving her more depth than expected.
And fathers do play a big role in this story. Charlie’s left before she could even remember him. She’s not too big on dads. A teenage participant in the clinic hasn’t seen her dad since she was very young and can’t figure out why he’s willing to pay for the clinic and why he’s coming. And Nate is not like any father Charlie’s ever seen. He actually wants to be with his daughter and she comes first. People’s opinions change on what a good father is by the time this story is finished.
To give you an example on how the humor is subtle, Charlie is a vegetarian in beef country and about the only thing in the freezer is tv dinners and beef. Imagine her delight and Nate’s despair when the local grocery has a two for one sale on veggie burgers. There’s also a lady in black (goth) hanging out at the ranch causing more trouble than she’s worth, kind of.
This is the kind of book you know that somehow there is going to be a happy ever after ending and it doesn’t disappoint. However, as you know, it’s never a straight line from here to there and this story isn’t any different. Between a lying ex, a 7 year old tomboy, blackmail and learning to train horses, Nate and Charlie have a lot to figure out and I loved reading about them doing it.
Animal rights activist meets cowboy when grad student Charlie Banks signs up for a “horse whispering” clinic at Latigo Dude Ranch. Unfortunately, there is no dude ranch—just a windblown Wyoming horse operation complete with a dozen green-broke horses and one bitter, broken-hearted cowboy.
Nate Shawcross’s ambitious girlfriend tried to force her horse-savvy honey into fame as a “horse whisperer” by distributing glossy brochures touting training clinics without his knowledge. Now she’s given up on him and gone, and horse lovers from all over the country are arriving at the ranch expecting a three-week workshop. Nate’s not about to let a bunch of greenhorns ruin his horses, but family issues forced him to mortgage the ranch, and he’s willing to do just about anything to save his home.
Charlie loves horses, but she hates cowboys. As far as she’s concerned, they’re ignorant rednecks who torture animals for their own amusement. Only an assignment from her thesis advisor to study the non-verbal communication between the trainer and his animals keeps her at Latigo—that, and the broken axle on her car. It’s going to take the local mechanic at least a week to get the part she needs to hit the gas and go.
When Nate’s injured in an accident, Charlie finds herself playing hostess. As a wary friendship develops, she begins warming to the work—and to the cowboy. The two of them are opposites in every way, but their shared dedication to the land and the horses makes them realize that his strengths are her weaknesses, and what he lacks is what she has to give.