Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “You give me courage, Rafe,” she whispered against his lips. “And I adore you for that.”
Kaki Warner is back with a new book and I couldn’t be more excited. The past couple of books haven’t been my favorite but Where the Horses Run brings back the warm and passionate characters that I adore from this author. This might not be the most action-packed western I’ve read, but it kept me intrigued the entire time.
Rafe Jessup was a Deputy U.S Marshal in Texas, but after being seriously shot, he trades in that life to focus on his other love – caring for damaged horses. He not only lost his career as a Marshal while in Texas, but also a woman he loved. Choosing the more solitary life, he takes a job with Lord Kirkwell (aka Ash from Colorado Dawn) to help him decide which thoroughbreds he should purchase. Ash lives in Scotland and in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. This book takes place all in England, as Ash travels to our heroine’s house to look at her horses.
Josephine’s life has not turned out as she has planned. She gets pregnant by a man who dumps her when he finds someone with more money. Now her son is eight years old and the love of her life. Her father has wasted away most of their money and now wants to sell her beloved horses to pay off his creditors. When Rafe shows up to look over their horses, she goes from so angry that her father would think of selling them, to very curious about this American man. He is a man of few words, but the words he chooses to speak to her mean a lot. She discovers his true love of horses and that he treats them much better than her father ever does. They have a lot in common and soon become close friends.
Josephine has one horse in particular, named Pembroke’s Pride that is her most favorite. Injured in a previous race and paranoid of water now, Rafe decides to try to get Pem back to his old shape. Josephine’s father wants to race him again, to win money to pay off his debts, which horrifies Josephine.
What I think is well done in this book is how much Josephine wants out of her father’s control, yet he has so much control she can’t just walk away. Josephine and Rafe fall in love, but love doesn’t make her situation any less tricky. Rafe doesn’t have a lot of money, or a house or a career really. He is more just a wanderer, who Ash happened to pick up to help him purchase horses. Josephine has a kid with a Baron, who comes back sniffing around, much to the delight of Josephine’s father. She has to worry about the well-being of her son. But she also craves freedom, not just from her father but from the strict social standards that England has, and the stares and gossip she has received since she bore an illegitimate child. In America, she would be more free – but she just has to get there with Rafe. The ultimate plan devised and series of events that occur are done well.
In this book, there isn’t a lot of action, but the characters are very well developed. We really get into their heads and learn their personalities. Rafe has been traveling with an American Indian named Thomas (he has shown up in previous book, and his book is next. I’m so excited for it). His relationship with Thomas has amusing moments, but also shows us insight into each of their characters. I wish we had learned a bit more about what really happened to Rafe back in Texas, maybe more of his early life. Rafe is a very mature man, who comes to understand Josephine quite well. He understands her pain when she speaks about her horses, he understands her frustration with her father. He is patient, and a good listener, but also protective of her and his temper flares up easily when he has to deal with her father or those that don’t treat her well.
As with most Kaki Warner books, she gives us great romance and chemistry, but fade to black sex scenes. Sigh. In this book we do get an actual sex scene, although it’s quite mild. But I’ll take it. Rafe is a big sexy man, with bullet scars and muscular thighs. I’ll take what we can get *wink*
I really enjoyed Rafe and Josephine and I can not wait to get Thomas’s story. We’ve seen him so much in past book and he needs his happy ever after!