Author Name & Publisher: A.J. Marcus & Nicole Godfrey (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 12, 2016 – 200 pgs
After a run of bad luck, gifted horse trainer Cole Frasier thinks he’s lost his touch. When he’s offered three times his normal rate to gentle a stallion, he needs the money badly enough he jumps at the opportunity, even if his boss is of questionable morality.
Once he meets Midnight Blood, he knows there’s something special about the horse, but he doesn’t know how special until he begins sharing dreams with the magnificent steed.
Derek Dancing Hawk is a horse shifter trapped in his horse form due to guilt over losing the wild herd he was guarding. When he meets Cole, as Midnight Blood, he wants to find a way to be human again. During a fight between Cole and the ranch foreman, he manages to shift and save Cole, but his transformation from horse to human is captured on camera. This not only gives Cole’s boss blackmail material, but also creates the need to warn the horse shifter council of the threat to their anonymity. The existence of shifters is a closely guarded secret, one they will go to great lengths to keep.
A romance between a trainer and his horse. I’ve never read a book like this. Quite a unique concept and story.
This was a good and different story. It kept you on the edge of your seat because you never knew what was going to happen around the next corner.
I’m glad that the romance part of the story happened early on and, of course, lasted throughout the book. I’ve read many a story where the romance happened half way or even three quarters through the book. So I appreciate this.
The only part I didn’t like, which is just a few and their minor, is I didn’t like the concept of them being prisoners for so long. Also, I wish they would have gotten freed a little sooner than at the end.
The story is about how does Cole and Derek get freed from Mr. Lopez’s clutches. I’m glad that the story answers that question in a good and thorough way. We are also introduced to The Circle which is hinted at within the story. We also get a hint at who is Mrs. Lopez, really. The author, though, lets you draw your own conclusions.
I do recommend this story. Especially if you are a horse lover you will absolutely love it. I’m not really a horse lover, but I’m a shifter story lover. The story, as I mentioned in the beginning, is unique and different in its own way. I love that and I loved the mystery and how the author ties everything together and brings about a nice happy ending with good conclusions.
Cole is a rough, sweet, gifted horse whisperer. I really enjoyed his character. He was sweet, but tough, kind but harsh when he needed to be. I do wish that we knew more about his past – other than a terrible event, we don’t really know much about him. I do like how he was so protective of Derek – curious about him in a way that nobody else was.
The antagonist in this book was great. You knew that hating him was OK. Lopez made for a great bad guy – you knew he was crooked, mean, crazy and he was easy to hate. Then you had Joe. He was just mean. I enjoyed hating him too.
Then you have Derek and his whole shifter identity. I liked that he was 2 different characters – they were distinct and yet, the same. His view of the world, of Cole was beautiful. I also really enjoyed his grandma. And, while I was impressed with his ability to “show”, I liked him as Derek more. The man was compassionate, soulful and loving.
Unfortunately, for me, this book was kind of truncated. I didn’t really like the flow – it was somewhat strange. Despite the loving the characters, the story itself was somewhat lacking. However, if you like a quick shifter read without a lot of development and some strange character interjection, then this would be an easy read.
I really enjoyed the premise behind this new shifter story. Like many good shifter stories, the authors draw on Native American legends for inspirations and here the attention to detail is brilliant.
Cole and Derek are an interesting pairing. I loved the idea of the horse whisperer and the horse shifter together. With Derek stuck in horse form for the first part of the book, I found the dream and fantasies a little bit uncomfortable but the men together are very sweet.
But while I loved the ideas, I struggled with the execution of this story. Without spoiling the story, I found the villain too obvious, the conflict artificially constructed and I felt there was far too much OTT drama for me to fully believe in the story.
But the authors end this with the possibility and potential for more stories to follow. With such good world-building, I look forward to sequels with more nuanced plots and more subtle character development in the future.
A.J. Marcus grew up in Texas. He’s always had a fascination with cowboys, comic books and the great outdoors. He started writing in high school and at times spent more time writing than he did reading, and he’s a voracious reader. Maybe it was growing up in Texas, but his love of rugged men showed up even before he realized what was going on. He likes his men manly, hard, tough and caring, men with hearts, and other parts, as big as Texas.
A.J. currently lives near Colorado Springs, Colorado with his loving partner and several horses. The men here are still men.