One step closer to the end of this series by Laura Wright and I really don't want it to end!! Okay, so maybe it's about half and half because I REALLY want to read the next book in the series, and I love Laura Wright so much.
Format: .epub (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW
No matter how many fights UFC champion Cole Cavanaugh wins, he can’t rid himself of the guilt of not having saved his twin sister’s life. Now, not only is he facing his arch enemy in the ring, he’s fighting to uncover the truth about Cass’s death. But will winning both fights truly give him the retribution and absolution he seeks? Or does he need the healing power of love to finally move on with his life?
The mystery surrounding Cass’s murder also haunts veterinarian Grace Hunter. Many believe that her father might hold the key to the truth. Unfortunately the ex-Sheriff’s deteriorating mental state makes it impossible to separate fact from fiction. As Cole persuades Grace to help him unlock the elusive clues, her defenses weaken. She finds the Stetson-wearing fighter irresistible. But while the truth could free Cole’s heart, it could very well end up shattering hers.
Every time I pick up one of the Cavanaugh brothers’ books, whether it’s to re-read it (Deacon and James *RAWR*) or to read it for the first time, I feel my inner cowgirl come out. I feel like I should have a cowboy hat and boots on. You know, just to set the mood. Not that Cole Cavanaugh is much of a cowboy. Nope, that man is all fighter, and mostly city boy. Doesn’t mean he can’t break out that cowboy charm once in awhile though.
UFC fighter Cole Cavanaugh can’t shake off the demons of the past. The guilt over not saving his twin’s life has gotten heavier and heavier each day, especially with the revelation of new facts in the unsolved murder. Trying to uncover the truth while training to face his rival in the ring, Cole doesn’t have time for games.
Veterinarian Grace Hunter is haunted by the mystery of what happened to the Cavanaugh sister. Her father, who was the sheriff at the time of the murder, has had moments of lucidity during his mental deterioration in which he alludes to knowing more about the crime than he originally let on. Grace has no choice but to go to Cole and work with him to uncover what really happened on the night Cassandra was murdered.
Brash easily beats its predecessors in terms of most emotional book. I think because Cole and Cass were twins, he feels her loss more than his brothers. That feeling of loss and extreme guilt is present throughout the story which for me, helped solidify him as a multi-dimensional character. In the previous books, Cole was a flirtatious bad boy with a snarky attitude, which is still present in this book but there’s a well of emotion that author Laura Wright tapped into that helped push the story forward. It was in the moments when Cole was alone and let his guard down that I was able to see the man that came from the wounded, angry and grieving little boy he had once been. Cole was the brother that I really got to know because of his grief and anger. For me, he was the heart of the series.
As the lead female character, Grace brought the softer emotions to the story. With the main characters in the series being men, there needs to be some kind of balance to all the testosterone being flung around. Grace is no pushover though. She may be smaller in size than Cole but to be honest, she’s the smart one in their team and I think Cole knew it too. Grace is one of my favorite types of heroine: The smart alec, animal loving woman. She had a very strong sense of right and wrong that put her at war with loyalty to her father. For the longest time, I didn’t know if her sense of justice or family loyalty was going to win out. I completely understood her dilemma though. She was caught between a rock and a hard place. Throw in her attraction to Cole and that poor woman had even more to worry about.
In Brash I noticed the overall theme of emotional conflicts that come with experiencing traumatic events. One of my favorite things in a romance like this is when the characters’ have to fight against themselves in order to find happiness. We are our own worst enemies sometimes and it’s easy for Cole and Grace to fight against a physical threat like another human being but it’s almost impossible to fight against emotions and yourself. The struggle that they had to go through made them stronger individuals and a stronger couple in my opinion.
Though Cass’ murder still reigns over everything, that doesn’t mean that Cole, and his brothers shouldn’t move on and rebuild their lives. Laura Wright clearly knows that and showed it the most with this book. Cole’s emotional journey hit harder than that of his brothers and I felt that out of all of them, it was Cole who needed to find a sense of peace and forgiveness for himself as well as a bit of happiness.
The romance took a bit of a back seat to the mystery and sometimes Brash felt a bit too heavy for me. I wanted more romance, more heat and definitely more sexy times for Cole and Grace than what was actually there. That was my one main point of contention in this book, where was the romance?! There were “moments” between the two but I wanted more than that, I wanted to see more of Cole and Grace’s growing romance because in the end, I just didn’t feel they were a strong enough couple like Deacon and Mac or James and Sheridan. Still, Brash was a solid book in the series in terms of the continuing mystery of just who murdered Cassandra Cavanaugh and why.
Final Verdict: Who knew that fighters could also be cowboys?! Yummy!