Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the author
A Texas Ranger, a lady blacksmith, a fierce passion, a dangerous game.
Caleb Graham has spent the last four years in too many dangerous situations to count. As a Texas Ranger, he knows no fear, or at least he never shows it. When he’s sent to force a blacksmith off government seized property, he runs face to face into the woman who will change his life.
Aurora Foster grew up on the very land the obnoxious Ranger is trying to throw her off of. Her parents and her husband died for it and there is no chance she would leave without a fight. A lady blacksmith might be an anomaly but she has the strength of the steel she forges and the courage to fight for what she believes is right.
When Aurora is inadvertently injured by Caleb, he seeks medical help from a neighboring ranch. The sprawling hacienda is full of the finer things in life and the one person Caleb never expected to see again… his youngest brother Benjamin. Forced to flee from a man who has kept the boy captive, the trio become traveling companions in a deadly game where no one wins.
Life turns upside down and sideways for Caleb and Aurora, caught in a game neither of them expected while they desperately try to save the boy who was lost to his family. Pursued and hunted, the three of them ride for the Circle Eight ranch. The unlikely pair of rescuers fight their attraction and for their lives.
This blurb came from the author’s website.
I was browsing around last summer and discovered Emma Lang through her Heart series. I enjoyed them so I looked for other books written by Lang and stumbled upon her Circle of Eight series. I found myself intrigued by the premise so I started reading the first one, paused to buy the second one and finished them both. Unfortunately that meant I had to wait for Caleb. I am glad to saw that the wait was worth it because Lang provided adventure, danger, spirited arguments, the power of family, and character growth.
The Graham family was extremely close and with the murder of their parents and the associated kidnapping of their youngest brother they grew even closer with the exception of Caleb. He took his grief and shock over what happened channeled it into anger and self-centeredness. As a result as soon as he could, Caleb left the Circle Eight ranch and joined the Texas Rangers. Since becoming a Ranger he had gone from assignment to assignment without much of a break. The only thing that bothered him about not pausing was the fact that he had also been correspondingly short on female companionship. So when he received orders to clear a blacksmith off of land claimed by the Republic of Texas he wasn’t exactly in the mood to do that gently.
Aurora wasn’t what Caleb expected. Even though his sisters were all independent and determined he never really dealt with them and especially not as an adult. Aurora was determined, independent and she was a good blacksmith, which meant she was comfortable doing things most women wouldn’t consider doing. She also felt strongly that since the land had belonged to her father and then her husband since they were both dead the land and business should be hers. Not to mention it was situated in a very nice area that would be worth a lot of money in the future. She was so determined to keep her land and business that in the midst of getting away from Caleb she got hurt. After her injury the Caleb that no one ever saw emerged. He spent a lot of time and effort to nurse Aurora back to health and refused to leave her behind after they discovered Benjamin.
Their ability to put aside their enmity towards each other to work together to rescue Benjamin was amazing to see. The things they went through as they fled back to Caleb’s family were a true test of stamina and will. All of them ended up needing help from the others before they were safe. I will admit that I was worried that Aurora’s character had made a very abrupt change during the early days of their time at the Circle Eight ranch but thankfully Lang continued to keep her characters true. Aurora’s feistiness never left her as she deals with Caleb’s family and it quickly returned to her dealings with Caleb as he returned to his usual self-centered grouch. He had to learn some rather pointed lessons and get the help of his family before he was able to convince Aurora to stay and marry him. For her part, Aurora had to learn to value herself and how to deal with having a family again.
I ran the gamut of emotions while I was reading Caleb. There were times when Aurora and Caleb made me laugh as they argued. I was also very touched with Benjamin’s reunion and how finding him didn’t magically fix everything but the family still had to work to complete their circle. I was concerned and worried not just about Benjamin, Aurora, and Caleb on their journey but also for the other members of the Circle Eight if Caleb’s enemies found them. I also wanted to alternately shake some sense into Caleb and then Aurora as their stubbornness put their HEA in doubt. All in all I enjoyed reading Caleb. I know Lang has at least one more coming out in this series and I find myself curious about the external conflict since the one of the driving themes in the series to date has been solved.
I giveCaleb a B