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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tomas: Cowboy Homecoming by Linda Warren

Tomas: Cowboy Homecoming by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (219 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Marine Staff Sergeant Tomas “Tuf” Hart is beginning to understand why they say “you can never go home again.” Still grappling with the mental scars of battle, Tuf’s just learned that Thunder Ranch is in trouble. Now, the Harts are banking everything on their stallion, Midnight, winning the National Finals Rodeo. The only easy part of Tuf’s homecoming was falling for his high school crush all over again.

Cheyenne Sundell has always been drawn to Tuf. But as a single mom of twin daughters, she’s wary of getting involved, especially with another military man. Cheyenne’s disastrous marriage taught her that war changed men, and not always for the better.

Tuf and Cheyenne have been through hell and back. But with a little hope and a lot of holiday spirit, they just might find a way to heal themselves… and each other.

Love wages a brave war against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This struggle is a strong thread throughout Tomas:Cowboy Homecoming.

Tuf Hart, a ‘born to ride’ cowboy and decorated marine, returns home to find he is sorely needed. The Hart family ranch is desperate for an infusion of money. He also finds Cheyenne, his high school dream girl, a widow and living with her father. His feelings for her have not changed, but he is in no condition to think about a relationship. His nightmares of war haunt him even after two years of counseling.

Cheyenne and her adorable but troubled four-year-old twin girls are trying to put their lives to right. Ryan, Cheyenne’s husband and the girls’ father, not able to deal with his PTSD, committed suicide but not before traumatizing his little family.

This is indeed a true love story but the most heart-warming and heart-breaking part involves Sadie and Sammie, the twins, trying to make sense out of events that destroyed their sense of security. They steal a reader's heart and before long give one a sense of hope for a ‘happy-ever-after’ even though the conflicts pile up.

The unshakeable family love is an ongoing thread in the story that holds strong and weaves a rich, meaningful design as every member of the family works toward a common cause. If you have enjoyed previous stories about “Harts of the Rodeo” you will see old acquaintances in Tomas:Cowboy Homecoming and get to see how their lives are moving along.

Linda Warren takes the reader behind the glitz and excitement of rodeo for a vicarious experience with the grinding hard work involved in being successful in the rodeo business. Some of the arena scenes are true attention-getters. But she is never far from love’s struggle to work its miracle for Tuf and Cheyenne—so-in-love for so long. The enormous load of emotional baggage they both have creates overwhelming obstacles.

While some of the story is predictable, there are some twists and turns, such as why Tuf Hart did not come home for two years after his discharge—a poignant story within a story. Also, four-year-old Sadie’s reason for running away repeatedly astounds. The story is written in such an entertaining way that the reader feels compelled to keep reading to be sure Sadie and Sammie are not disappointed and that they do get their “happy-ever-after—which, of course, means the adults have to get their act together. They do and in grand style!