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Dancing in the Moonlight (Cowboys of Cold Creek, #2)

Dancing in the Moonlight  - RaeAnne Thayne "She knew she was no great heroine. But perhaps she could live with being a loyal soldier, a loving daughter and a pretty darn good person."

Lieutenant Magdalena Cruz was being too hard on herself. She’s an extraordinary heroine, who for 5 months, has dealt with the horrors of life as a wounded soldier. Returning home from Afghanistan missing part of one leg, she’s physically and emotionally exhausted. Prior to deployment she worked as a nurse in Phoenix and was engaged to a brilliant young surgeon. That all came crashing down the minute she saw rejection in her fiancé’s eyes. Now she’s back home in Pine Gulch, Idaho to nurse her wounds and heal.

Jake Dalton is more than a small town doctor. The level of care he gives to his patients is a direct reflection on the type of man he is – kind, loving, sympathetic, strong. It’s safe to say I fell in love with him. He’s, of course, handsome, but his outer beauty really doesn’t hold a candle to his inner. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better guy for Maggie! But Jake has more to contend with than Maggie’s resistance to relationships and intimacy. She’s spent years blaming Jake’s father for the death of her dad, and believes all Dalton’s are no better. I could understand her pain, even if her rejection of the Daltons came from a place of childhood anguish. And Maggie’s mother, Viviana, is best friends with Jake’s mother, Marjorie. I didn’t get to see much of Marjorie in this book, but the strength of their friendship was obvious.

This is such a sweet and tender romance. I loved Jake’s compassion in the face of Maggie’s bitter resentment. His actions spoke of his feelings for her. When Viviana has a heart-to-heart with Maggie about the night they found out she’d been injured, I couldn’t hold back the tears as she spoke of Jake’s reactions. Jake’s heart has always held a place for Maggie.

Maggie fights Jake at every turn. She won’t allow herself to see that he’s different. Once her mother sets her straight on what really happened with Maggie’s father, I think that last piece of her heart she’s holding back breaks free. Poor Maggie tried everything to keep from falling in love with him: holding on to past angers, comparing Jake to her ex, and even trying to convince herself that no one could love her.

The story crests when Maggie and Jake can no longer hold back their attraction. Her fear had my heart racing, but I knew Jake wouldn’t reject her. The terror consumes her, and she pushes him away, only to see the pain and hopelessness in his eyes. I read a lot of books – sweet ones, sexy ones, erotic ones – but it’s been a long time since a love scene has wrapped me up in that much emotion!

DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT is an inspiring love story. This is the first book I’ve read by RaeAnne Thayne, but I know it won’t be the last! The Cold Creek Cowboys all have their own books! The secondary characters in this story are what they should be – interesting, fun, a little eccentric, and proud. The pride they have for Maggie helps to heal her. I can’t wait to return to the quaint little town of Pine Gulch.