Series: Colebrook Siblings Trilogy #2
Published by Kaylea Cross Inc. on August 28th 2016
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A wounded warrior in need of healing.
The cost of war was high for Wyatt Colebrook, scarring him inside and out. Since coming home to Sugar Hollow to figure out what his new normal looks like, he’s retreated into himself, just going through the motions of living. Since losing his lower leg and an eye, he doesn’t feel whole anymore, and every day he battles with the inner demons he brought back with him. The only things keeping him going are family, stubbornness, and the chance to buy the one property that will allow him to begin to heal again. When that dream is suddenly stolen from him, it leads to a confrontation with the new owner that will change his life forever.
A woman strong enough to win his heart.
After suffering a painful loss of her own, Austen Sloan left everything from her old life behind to start a new one in Sugar Hollow. When she finds the house of her dreams in a run-down Victorian in desperate need of love, the last thing she expects is to have a run-in with a disgruntled wounded combat veteran who soon steals her heart. But danger lurks in the shadows, stalking ever nearer. To hold on to Austen and the chance for a future together, Wyatt must make a stand against a deadly enemy. He’ll protect her with everything he has, or die trying.
Wyatt Colebrook’s self-imposed solitude ends when a woman buys the house he’d been after and by some twist of events, finds himself working on the entire renovation process. Hostile to the buyer at first, things between him and Austen move quickly to friendship to more.
Kaylea Cross tackles the wounded veteran story (with a very heavy focus on canines) in Wyatt’s Stand’ and it’s a very different one from what I normally expect out of Cross’s stories. I do like Cross’s stories for several reasons to begin with: the general lack of stupidity that doesn’t involve the lead characters pushing each other away at the end because of some asinine reason intended to create unnecessary conflict, the fast-paced action and suspense and the loyalty that her characters develop for each other once they are paired up.
What had me impressed was how Wyatt didn’t fall into the category of men who suddenly believe they aren’t good enough for a woman because their physical shine had been shorn down and rubbed off thanks to any injury they’d suffered through while doing their military service. Not to downplay the self-esteem issues that scarred vets do face, but I did like how Wyatt – aside from becoming a recluse – owned his injuries and didn’t spend most of the time looking back at the ‘good ol’ days’ before it all went downhill. That Austen never once questioned his altered appearance or scars also pushed her up several notches my esteem of her.
Yet I do think back with more nostalgia to the earlier books where Cross is a little more discerning with her writing style and perhaps, even more poetic with her use of language. There are several clichés that seemed to have developed in her writing that are cringe-worthy each time these come up – phrases like ‘her most sensitive flesh’, ‘making her his’ – simply pop up rather freely in her recent series and somehow they do remind me of the older (and more sexist) romance books where the language tended to stereotype gender roles. Every story is wrapped up with a HEA where no one important dies or someone falls magically pregnant – sometimes too bright a HEA for me – and those who matter wake up to smell the roses whose thorns have been thoroughly stripped.
That said, ‘Wyatt’s Stand’ isn’t a bad read, with fairly likeable characters (but a rather predictable suspense plot) whom I thought I could get behind.