Cris Reads | Heart's Desire (Healing Hart's #1) by T.J. Kline

If you could have anything, do anything… what would it be?

Jessie Hart has a soft spot for healing the broken, especially horses and children, but her business is failing and bankruptcy is looming. The one man who can save Heart Fire Ranch is the last man she wants to take advice from - financial expert Nathan Kerrington - the same man who broke her heart eight years ago.

Nathan Kerrington has it all, except the one thing he’d wanted most - Jessie. Now that he’s finally freed himself from his corrupt family, he wants to make amends. When he’s called in to save Jessie’s ranch, he sees his chance to win her back - if only he can prove to her that she can trust him with her heart…

For those of you who don't know, T.J. Kline was the author who single-handedly made me a cowboy-loving convert. Her romances are relatively straight-forward, but with a level of sass, humor and heat that makes them an absolute joy to devour. Suffice it to say, Heart's Desire is not my first read from the lovely Ms. Kline, but knowing it was one of hers was not the only reason I wanted to pick up this novel. The concept behind the series - a family of healers who all have their own skills and burdens and find their own loves - really drew me in. And I think Jessie and Nathan's story is a great start to an emotional series!

Years after a youthful summer romance left Jessie brokenhearted and disillusioned, Nathan, her brother's best friend, comes back into her life in the hope of saving her ranch from financial ruin and mending some of the bridges he burned when he left. As much as Nathan has tried to fill his life with beautiful models and designer suits, there has been a void in his life ever since he fell for Jessie and was forced to abandon her by his vindictive father. Though Nathan comes back to Heart Fire Ranch to review the business's finances, he's impressed by Jessie's amazing gift for rehabilitating abused horses and counseling at-risk teens. He believes in her dream of converting the ranch into a sanctuary, even when her own siblings lack faith in her. His encouragement, support and passion create a spark that allows Jessie to finally put her needs and desires first and believe in herself. 

I love 'Brother's Best Friend' romances and I think that this was a great example with the added bonus of being a 'Second Chance at Love' story. I could really see bits of myself in Jessie and I loved that she was sassy and tenacious, while still suffering insecurities and self-doubts that left her unsure if her dream path was right for the family business. Her relationship with Nathan really grew and developed slowly over the course of the novel, though we knew that physical desire was felt and denied from his very first step onto the ranch. Nathan really puts in the work to redeem himself and bolster the trust that was lost when he didn't come back years ago. I loved watching Nathan and Jessie rehabilitate each other, tending to one another's spirit the way Jessie does for her horses. 

Even with a romance that seemed pretty straight-forward you had a sub-story of embezzlement and betrayal that shockingly ran much deeper than I predicted. Don't you love it when a story surprises you? I also really enjoyed the development of the secondary characters and after reading the blurb for the next novel in the series, Taking Heart, I'm even more excited to delve deeper into the Heart Fire universe. I think T.J. Kline has another amazing series on her hands!

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

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T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and Rodeo Queen competitions since the age of 14 and has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has written several articles about rodeo for small periodicals, as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter, and has published a nonfiction health book and two inspirational fiction titles under the name Tina Klinesmith. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah. In her spare time, she can be found laughing hysterically with her husband, children, and their menagerie of pets in Northern California. 
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