“I didn’t think love was supposed to hurt this much. I feel like I’m bleeding with it.”
Former bull rider turned rancher, Casper Janye is one of Crow Hill’s notorious misfits known as “The Dalton Gang”. When Dave and Tess Dalton (caregivers to Casper, Dax and Boone.) died, they left their ranch to the boys in the hope of their legacy continuing on. Not only did Casper inherit part of the Dalton ranch, he is now the owner of the dilapidated house on Mulberry Street where he practically raised himself while enduring an abusive father and mother that whored her body for money. Maybe it’s his childhood demons he has yet to shake or maybe in the back of his mind it’s a place to finally call his own; regardless Casper is obsessed with renovating the run down shell of a house. Faith Mitchell is Boone’s younger sister and she has known and secretly lusted after Casper since they were teenagers. She is now the loan officer at the town bank and Casper meets with Faith in hopes of acquiring a bank loan to start repair work on his house. Faith cannot provide Casper with a bank loan due to his lack of assets but what she does eventually offer is a personal loan with two conditions. First, Casper cannot ask the history of her personal wealth and second, she wants to use the house for her parents anniversary party once the renovations are complete. It is obvious to both Casper and Faith that they share a mutual attraction, but Casper has followed the gang’s “hands off policy” with regard to their sisters. But now Faith takes a bold step into unchartered waters and accuses Casper of not having the balls to stand up to her brother, Boone. Casper in turn challenges Faith to give him a sign, and he’ll make it happen. Both admit they are sexually attracted to each other and embark on a no strings sex relationship. What neither count on is finding themselves wanting much more that what they give each other between the sheets.
Faith appears to be the white collar, straight-laced, up tight woman that is living day to day in a job she doesn’t enjoy and in a lonely single life. When she is around Casper, her properness dissolves and her desire for wild rises to the surface. In her mind, Casper is an itch to her wildness that needs to be scratched and she can’t allow herself to imagine anything else beyond a good romp in the hay. Casper is the same way and wants a sex without strings relationship with Faith because in his mind, he has nothing else to offer her but “his damn fine cock”. He appears cold, distant and detached except when he interacts with Clay (the runaway that shows up at his house who Casper takes under his wing). It is obvious Casper sees some of himself in Clay and wants to provide him with stability and care that Casper never had as a kid. He soon discovers that taking on Clay is forcing himself to face his own childhood demons. The question is, will Casper allow Faith to help him move beyond his past and hopefully to a brighter future that includes Faith.
While I felt the angst and sexy were balanced in Dax’s story in Undeniable, the angst had the definite heavy hand in Casper’s story. There was an underlying sadness that permeated the characters and I never felt like we got a true taste of happiness for either one. I believe sometimes an author can draw out the angst of the characters to a point where you no longer see them progressing anywhere beyond their self-loathing or their circumstances. Then when the light bulb dawns, it’s kind of a moot point.
As the reader you definitely understood that Casper is a cowboy. Working from dawn to dusk, he is referenced as being ripe and sweaty on more than one occasion and from what I gathered in constant need of a shower. Getting it on in his pigsty of a bedroom on top of dirty sheets or in the bathroom of a bar definitely revealed both Casper and Faith’s lack of restraint and their lack of sexy surroundings. However, Ms. Kent did provide some memorable sexy moments that included strawberries, whipped cream and christening the ranch kitchen in a new way; including the counter tops and the dinner table. Although there were numerous raw and heated encounters between the two, it still lacked the intensity and emotional intimacy I found with Dax and Arwen in the previous book.
The ending proves to be a cleansing of both of their pasts and gives hope for a realistic and promising happy ending for both Casper and Faith as a couple. While I didn’t enjoy Unbreakable as much as I had expected to, I do enjoy the author’s voice and look forward to reading Boone’s story later this year in Unforgettable.
“And all the while she kissed him, deep kisses with her tongue and what she thought might be her heart. Tender brushes of her lips to the edge of his rushed out on a breathless moan, his sound, her sound, the sound of a connection she was not ready for.”
“She wanted him in her body, but letting him in to touch more than the physical parts of her was too much of a risk–for now. Most likely forever.”