Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Neil’s Guardian Angel

Title: Neil’s Guardian Angel
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-0-85715-158-2
Genre: [M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

A fall from his horse seriously injures Neil Peters, leaving him unable to remember anything in his past before arriving in Cattle Valley. Incapable to care for himself, it also leaves Neil in need of around-the-clock care. Neil knows that for several years while he was a teenager, Ben Waters filled the role of his guardian, but he doesn’t remember anything about the man, including the extent of their personal relationship. Neil also doesn’t understand why Ben’s hanging around his hospital room looking sad and unhappy, unless there’s more to their story than he knows, but the question is what?

Thinking his feelings for his young ward were inappropriate, after Neil graduated from high school, Ben Waters sent him away. Now that he’s caring for Neil once again, his feelings become even more intense, and keeping the younger man at a figurative arm’s length isn’t working, especially when Neil refuses to be shoved away again. Ben longs to hold the man he loves in his arms but doesn’t feel he can, until Neil comes to terms with his past, forcing the younger man to take a step he’s been dreading—read the journals from his youth and remember the most painful years of his life.

Neil’s Guardian Angel is the seventeenth release in Carol Lynne’s popular Cattle Valley series and it takes up almost immediately where Firehouse Heat left off. While not absolutely imperative, I would suggest that the books be read in order to ensure a better understanding of the characters and ongoing storylines.

I’ve never read a book by Ms. Lynne that I didn’t enjoy and it isn’t any different with this newest look into the lives of the people of Cattle Valley. Once again she’s given her readers a well written and plotted story that’s chock full of likeable, memorable characters. After reading the previous release, I must admit that I was more than a little curious how she was going to handle Neil’s injury and recovery period. I’m happy to report she did it with her usual creativity and flair, mixed in with a healthy dose of compassion, tenderness and love. Then add in understanding and realism and you’ve got another winning plot in a keeper series.

I wasn’t certain what to think of Ben at first but as the story progressed, he was revealed to be a far more complicated man than I initially thought. Watching his character change with each passing scene was like peeling back the skin of an onion and seeing another layer, each one adding more complexity and depth to his personality. Don’t get me wrong, I like Neil too but I really liked Ben. He’s loving, noble, self-sacrificing and sexy—and Neil’s lucky to have him.

Some of the best scenes are those that involve Neil dealing with his painful past, and Ben’s support and understanding—for me—those really shine. I know I’m not the only one who’s anxiously awaiting the next installment of Cattle Valley, Scarred, coming in August. Happy reading.

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