Series: Hitting Rocks Cowboys (Book 3)
Living on her grandfather's ranch, surrounded by her loving brothers and their families, is helping Avery Bannock put her painful past behind her. But ever since Zane Lawson came home, she's been fighting her feelings for the rugged former Navy SEAL who's sworn to keep her safe -- in his arms.
After a decade undercover, Zane's ready to settle in Montana horse country. Buying the ranch next to the Bannock spread was the first step. Now he's got to convince the gun-shy archaeologist that he's the only cowboy for her. As they work together to find out who's stealing tribal artifacts from a nearby reservation, Zane will do everything in his power to win Avery's trust…and turn their budding romance into a mission possible!
Good story between two wounded souls. Avery is an archaeologist working on a local dig and living on her grandfather's ranch. Being close to family and friends has been good for her, as she recovers from her painful past. A year earlier she had met Zane Lawson, a former SEAL who is now working for the BLM. She's attracted to him, but is having trouble overcoming her past.
After ten years as a SEAL, Zane is happy to be working law enforcement for the BLM. After a year working across the state from his ranch, he's been transferred nearby and will be able to work from his own home. This will finally give him a chance to get to know Avery better. As he is assigned to investigate the thefts of artifacts from the reservation where she works, he looks at it as a perfect opportunity.
Zane soon discovers that what he thought was simple shyness is something much more. He suffers from symptoms of PTSD himself, and recognizes them in Avery. I loved the way he talked to his own doctor and got information on how to help her. His sensitivity to her fears was wonderful, and I loved how he handled them even before she told him what had happened to her. Avery had been in love with Zane for months, but because of what happened feels that a future with him is not possible. When he tells her of his feelings, she knows she has to tell him what happened to her. She worries that it will make him look at her differently, and draw away from her. She's stunned to discover that he had already suspected and that it made no difference to his feelings.
The care with which Zane treats Avery is wonderful. He's sweet and patient and loving, which is exactly what she needs. I loved seeing how it helped Avery. It didn't suddenly make everything go away, but she does feel stronger and more in control. I also loved seeing her be able to turn around and offer the same kind of care to him.
The artifact stealing storyline was very good. I enjoyed the background information on the Crow people that was part of it. I liked the way that Zane made Avery part of the investigation, and how much he came to respect her knowledge. It was pretty obvious from the beginning who the ringleader of the bad guys was, but the investigation itself was interesting. The ending was pretty intense, especially when it was combined with Avery's fears.