Review and Excerpt Tour: Lost Rider: Harper Sloan

lostriderLost Rider (Coming Home #1)
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Release Date April 25, 2017

In Lost Rider, the first Western romance in New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Harper Sloan’s Coming Home series, an injured rodeo star encounters an old flame but will she be just what he needs to get back in the saddle?

Maverick Austin Davis is forced to return home after a ten-year career as a rodeo star. After one too many head injuries, he’s off the circuit and in the horse farming business, something he’s never taken much of a shine to, but now that it’s his late father’s legacy, familial duty calls. How will Maverick find his way after the only dream he ever had for himself is over?

Enter Leighton Elizabeth James, an ugly duckling turned beauty from Maverick’s childhood—his younger sister’s best friend, to be exact, and someone whose heart he stomped all over when she confessed her crush to him ten years back. Now Leighton is back in Maverick’s life, no longer the insecure, love-stricken teen—and Maverick can’t help but take notice. Sparks fly between them, but will Leighton be able to open her heart to the one man who broke it all those years ago?

Written in the vein of Diana Palmer and Lindsay McKenna, this Texas-set series is filled with sizzle, heart, and plenty of cowboys!

This is the beginning of the new Coming Home series and it has a different feel than her other series. I liked the small town setting, family, and of course cowboys. This is more of an emotional and healing journey for the characters.

Maverick Davis is coming home to Pine Oak after leaving ten years before. He left his siblings and the one girl he cared about. He hurt her deeply. But all he could see was escaping his home issues and making his way as a bull rider in the rodeo. But not he has had highs and lows in his career. And the call that requires him to come home comes at a time where he is at rock bottom.

Leighton Davis has loved Maverick her whole life. She is his sister's best friend and always felt like an ugly duckling. But over the years his siblings have adopted her and she is fully immersed in their lives. When Maverick left, he not only took her heart with him but left her with a legacy of hurt feelings and insecurities. She has managed to succeed in some areas of her life, but her heart was never the same.

They both have up guards and use their pain as a shield to keep people out. Maverick comes home angry and bitter. Leighton is now stronger and and confident, but she is still hurt and angry herself. Their emotions are all over the place and they are volatile. But there is no doubt that their lives will be colliding again. And as Maverick begins to see what he really wants and needs, he realizes he still has some fight in him left. Even if it means fighting for a chance with Leighton. She is his biggest regret, but is also his compass, peace, and  dream.

But he has a lot to prove if he wants Leighton to take a chance on him. Trust has to be earned. He has to seek forgiveness and prove his sincerity. He needs to show everyone that he is willing to put down real roots and find new dreams. It is a process or finding hope, healing, forgiveness, and redemption. It requires a lot of introspection as well as opening up and being vulnerable. And letting go of the past pain and anger is crucial for an open heart.

This is the story of a lost rider who is finally found and a woman who helped save him. But he saved her too from her lonely existence. Maverick initially comes off as a grumpy, angry, mean, a-hole. He pushed everyone away. But as we started to see more under his layers and into his regretful heart that wanted to make amends, he really grew on me. When he decided on something, he was all in. He was determined, loyal, and loving. I really came to like him and he became a likable hero. And Leighton was living a lonely existence herself, but did not realize the scope of it until Mav came home and finally let her in on his secrets.

This was a heartfelt, emotional, sexy, and sweet second-chance love story. It was told in Mav and Leighton's points of views in present and the past.  I really liked his siblings Clay and Quinn and their dynamics. They were important factors in the story and they all shared a past.The small town businesses and ranch setting were enjoyable. I am looking forward to more in this series. 

At times it was so full of emotional turmoil and the inner monologues and discussions about feelings and situations got a bit repetitive. But it was supposed to be a healing process so it was understandable that they required effort to try to overcome. There was not a lot of angst in the present, it was mostly about dealing with issues from the past that still affected the siblings. These issues bleed into their current lives and I am sure we will see them resurface as Clay and Quinn search for their own love.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
 Maverick and Leighton have avoided each other for 10 years, easy since Maverick has been on the professional rodeo circuit. But too many head injuries means his career is over and a single phone call pulls his home despite his loathing of the place.

Leighton hasn’t left her hometown, but the emotional pain Maverick inflicted before he left lingers, despite her best efforts to move on. His family is nearly her family though and it was inevitable she would have to face in at some point.

They both have so much emotional pain to work through. The damage was done in the past, but never faced by either character. They are both determined to work through it though, so things go relatively smooth in the present day. But their past is painful, dramatic, and angsty. Maverick took some getting used to. He returns to town angry, holding onto the chip that chased him out of town and takes his anger out on everyone around him. But as the book progressed and some of his pain is revealed, I found that I understood the anger and the other character’s reactions to his actions made me feel better about his character.

There is more than just a romantic relationship to fix. Familial tension, the farm, the future, and so much is tied up in these pages. At times, it became somewhat repetitive in the emotional side of things, but enough different storylines going on that the repetition makes sense as the characters work through their hang-ups.

Maverick’s siblings have their own emotional baggage to work through, and the introductions we see into their problems makes me look forward to their books as well.

This is a new direction for Harper’s writing. New setting, new subgenre, new family, but it still has the same emotional storytelling, depth of characters and compelling plots. As a new introduction to her writing and for those who are already fans, this is a an entertaining piece and I look forward to more from the series.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I should tell Quinn and Clay that he’s here. But one look at him and it’s like the last ten years have never passed and I’m back at the bonfire, the awkward high schooler uncomfortable in her own skin. Marching away from him in the woods. It was the last time I saw him. How is it possible that he can affect me this much after all this time?
He hasn’t noticed me, not with his head bowed, so I quickly turn around and focus on Pastor John as he finishes up his prayer. Him being here means nothing. I should be happy that I remember the pain from that night so well, it will make keeping my walls up around him so much easier.
“On behalf of the Davis family, I want to thank everyone for coming today. At this time, the family has asked for some time alone as they say their good-byes. They wanted me to remind everyone that the PieHole will be opening up for a few hours tonight starting at five for anyone that wishes to join them.”
I keep my arm around Quinn, not looking back to where I saw Maverick. I can hear the church slowly emptying and I feel a frown pull at my lips. I had hoped that when everyone started to leave that he would have come up front to be with his family, but so far, the pew we’re in is still empty save for the three of us. We sit and wait for everyone to leave, something that Clay had asked Pastor John to make arrangements for in place of the customary recessional, knowing that no one in this town would really mean a word of it anyway. Plus, I know Quinn is having a hard time. Regardless of the fact that she wasn’t the closest with her father, she was really counting on this—Maverick home. She’s still shaking in my arms, but when I look over at Clay I realize his silence isn’t because of the heaviness of Buford’s death, but instead anger over his brother’s absence that has started to build to a boil. I fear that he’s seconds away from tipping over the edge.
I stand when Clay and Quinn do, but hang back at the edge of the row we had been sitting in as they meet Pastor John and gather their father’s ashes. I can’t wait to get out of these heels. If it would have been acceptable to wear my boots, I would have, but Quinn would have killed me. As it is, I feel like I can’t take a deep breath with how tight my dress is against my chest. I never wear tight shirts. I haven’t since my boobs became beasts of their own right. I’m too busy fiddling with the straps of my dress, trying desperately to get some of the pressure against my chest to ease up so I could take a deep breath, when I heard Quinn gasp.
“Mav!” Next thing I know she’s running past where I’m standing, her black hair streaming in the air behind her as she speeds forward right into her brother’s arms. Clay moves to stand next to me and I look up to meet his green eyes, the questions he isn’t vocalizing dancing in their emerald depths. He’s not stupid and I’m doing a crappy job at hiding the memories haunting me right now. He gives me a small smile, shifting his hold on the urn to wrap his free arm around me and pulls me into a strong hold.
“You’re shakin’,” he says against my temple and I just nod.
“I’m good, Clay. Go see your brother.”
“I’m fine right where I am, sugar.”
I keep my eyes to the ground, focusing on his worn boots instead of looking up, hating myself for making this moment about me when I should be focused on them. Like it or not, I can’t fight the feelings that being near him bring me. I’m that stupid, naive sixteen-year-old all over again. “Let’s get out of here,” he says after a few silent seconds. I look up and give him a smile, hoping that it looks a hell of a lot braver than I feel. Inside I feel like I might puke.
 “You think I could have a second with my family?”
My head shoots up at the coldness I hadn’t anticipated in Maverick’s voice. He’s not focused on me, though, instead looking at his brother with a hard expression and one brow raised upward. 
“Mav!” Quinn gasps and he moves his attention from his brother to her.
“Sorry, Quinn, but I’m thinkin’ that Clay’s lady friend would understand that this should be a moment for our family and give us time alone.”
“I’ll just—”
“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, sugar,” Clay all but spits through clenched teeth and drops his arm to take a step forward. “You’ve got something to say, Mav, then say it.”
“Nothing to say, Clayton, I just think it would be nice for your girlfriend to give us some space.”
“My girlfriend,” he parrots sarcastically, his deep voice vibrating in anger.
“Mav.” Quinn attempts to butt in, but stops when Maverick leaves her side and turns to stalk out of the church. I should find it comical that he obviously didn’t recognize me, or hell, maybe he did and he’s just picking up where he left off ten years ago in the middle of the dark woods. I take a deep breath. “It’s okay. He’s right. Y’all need some time as a family. I’ll head over to the PieHole and start settin’ up for tonight.”
Quinn brushes a tear from her cheek and just shakes her head. I look at Clay to see him staring in the direction that his brother just left.
“You’re family,” he finally says, not looking in my direction.
 “Clay, really, it’s okay. It’s been a long time since y’all were back together and I don’t need to be there for that reunion. It sucks that it takes all of this to finally bring him home, but he’s here and y’all need to make up for a lot of time lost.”
“Shut up, Leighton.”
“Don’t, Clay.”
“Don’t what? You’ve got every right to be here. You’re just as much a part of our family as he is. Hell, maybe even more so than he is at this point. So just shut up, come with us, and ignore him.”
I shake my head, the fight instantly leaving my sails, knowing I would be arguing until the end of time if I
pressed this issue.
“I can’t believe he doesn’t even recognize you,” Quinn whispers.

image001Kiss My Boots (Coming Home #2)
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Release Date August 2017
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In this second of the sultry, Western-set Coming Home series from New York Times bestselling author Harper Sloan, Quinn Davis might finally have a shot at her own happily-ever-after—but will she let love in, or will she tell it to go ahead and kiss her boots? 

Quinn Davis prefers to live her life quietly. She’s the stereotypical tomboy with two overprotective big brothers who have always been there to protect her, especially from devilishly handsome cowboys with silver tongues. That is, until Tate Montgomery comes riding into town. Their first meeting, however, is far from something out of a fairy tale and only further convinces Quinn that men aren’t worth her time. 

Tate returns to his childhood hometown to start his life over and get a second chance at happiness. He might not remember Quinn from the summer vacations that he used to spend on his PawPaw’s farm but all it takes is one glance, and he can’t get the raven-haired beauty out of his mind. Can two people who have stopped believing in love take a chance to find it in each other? Or will the pain of the past prove too great a hurdle to conquer?
harper1Harper Sloan
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Harper is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn't writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand. 


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