Heartsat Risk by Gloria Antypowich
I always get a knot in my stomach when I read a story about a woman that is willing to take abuse of any kind due to the desire to be in a relationship. Enter Frankie Lamonte. We meet her as she's decided to have a carefree weekend with a friend at the rodeo. Mentally, and vocally, she keeps claiming she doesn't want to get serious with a man due to her recent breakup. Her actions belie her words. She gets into a minor physical scuffle with Colt Thompson when he mistakes her offering a sugar cube to his prize horse as poison. This begins a tangled back and forth poisonous relationship (in my opinion) when they meet again at the ranch where Frankie discovers that Colt is the co-owner of the ranch.
At first, I really enjoyed Frankie's independence and fiery spirit. I eventually began to lose respect for the character as one by one she let her values slip to satisfy the baser needs of the moment. Each time she failed to listen to her conscience she was rewarded by coldness and disdain from her supposed lover, Colt. I could find few redeeming qualities in Colt. Granted he was attractive, but why does that allow him to be absolved of his crimes of infidelity, abuse, and flagrant distrust?
The happily-ever-after left a bad taste in my mouth. It didn't feel genuine. That's when I realized it's just a story, a fantasy, an escape from the doldrums of the day-to-day. Although I can't agree with the author's definition of love, I can't deny that there are a host of readers who will enjoy Colt and his rough, cold manner and Frankie's fragile and overly forgiving nature. I would give this book a 3.5 if I could. The writing is good and the story flows easily. I was just disappointed by the glorification of an obviously toxic relationship.