Courageous Hearts, Plum Valley Cowboys #5 by Emmy Sanders

What a beautiful and poignant story. Courageous Hearts is full of love, self acceptance, found family, and facing your past.

From the blurb:

Mr. Right wasn’t expecting Mx. Tall, Dark, and Beautiful.

Being out and proud as a nonbinary person didn’t come easy, but I’ve finally found my place. I have an amazing work family at the cabaret bar where I perform, Chicago fits me better than my Texas hometown ever did, and I’m truly happy.

Especially once Jameson walks into my life. Our new bartender accepts me effortlessly for who I am, and the man is more than easy on the eyes. In fact, the way he looks out for me is giving me all sorts of ideas, even though those cuddles were purely platonic. Weren’t they?

But I have more on my mind than finding Mr. Right. My brother Diesel won’t stop hounding me, which means it’s time to face the very thing I’ve been avoiding for years.

I need to return to Plum Valley and confront my past.

I’ve never met anyone quite like Bo.

Every time they’re up on stage in their makeup and heels, I watch them. When that shy blush spreads over their cheeks off-stage, I stare. And when I find them crying in the storage room after a difficult conversation with their brother, I can’t help but soothe away their tears.

I always assumed I was only attracted to women, but suddenly, I’m questioning everything. Including my reaction to the sight of Bo in lingerie. I might have a lot to figure out, like whether or not Bo is interested in me. But I think it’s fairly safe to say…

I’m not as straight as I thought I was.

Courageous Hearts is an MX romance between a man and the enby he adores, with show tunes, love bites and lace, a pan-awakening, one jealousy-inducing bull ride, and a very HEA. It’s book 5 in the Plum Valley Cowboys series but can be read as a standalone.

Angel's Review:

When I read the description of this book when Emmy was first posting teasers I knew I had to read it. It sounded so good, and so unlike anything I've ever read before. And I was right, it wasn't like anything I've read before, and that's a good thing. 

Something I personally enjoy is when an author teaches me something through their characters, and I learned a few things from this book. I learned that there is a difference between being non binary and being an enby. I learned that pronouns can fluctuate and changed, I learned about a joyfriend which is something I've never heard before but I love that I know it now. 

I also learned that while the world has made steps towards accepting people, it still has a long way to go. I am proud to say I'm apart of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as being an ally, and I am still learning things. This book, these characters, inspire me to talk to my non-binary friend and ask them questions. Cause I don't like making assumptions, and I need to ask more questions. That's what I learned from this book. 

These characters are beautiful, and they were written so well, with lovely backstories, and depth to each and every character, they are well thought out, and the plot was very well done. I had the utmost joy and pleasure while reading this book, I'm a big fan of Emmy's now and I hope to continue to read stories from them. I wonder if Damian and Jonathan will get a story at some point, at least I hope they will. 

I loved Cooper and Sara's characters in this book, every background character belonged in this story. 

"You want to understand me in a way no one else ever has. You ask questions, and you're not afraid to tell me how you feel. About us. About me. Even though we're new, you see me. And you make me feel safe enough to let you, Jaime."

Rating: 5 Stars

Heather's Review:

This book is a beautiful romance story and drew me into the characters right away... beyond finding each other this book also reflected the need for each character to be their authentic and joyful self despite what others might think... dealing with outright hatred and homophobia, but also just interfering people who think they 'know best' how someone else should live their lives...

Equal parts emotional, steamy, sweet and funny we get to see all facets of the characters and their relationships and the side characters they interact with...  

Whether you've read the rest of the Plum Valley Cowboys series or you are just picking this book up for the non-binary rep, you'll enjoy the story immensely.  It's beautifully written, well paced and packed with showtunes, quiet moments and authentic selves...

Rating: 5 Stars

Autumn's Review:

I enjoyed Bo and Jamie. From the first time Bo is mentioned in a previous book, I wanted his story. 

I was glad Bo got his HEA.

There were a few parts that I skimmed, mostly because it's just not for me. Like where the two MC work. I'm not into that type of bar stuff. But overall, I enjoyed this book and can't wait for more. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Reedkaye's Review:

I have loved every story in this series and this is a great addition. I can’t say it is my favorite because each is original and the characters stories are individual as the personalities.  

This starts out right from the beginning grabbing and holding me captivate till the very end. Jameson is a new bartender who gets hit with such a strong attraction to Bo, a performer at the cabaret where Jameson works, he doesn’t know what to do. He is supposedly straight but when he is faced with Bo he doesn’t know what he is. He is a twin and this enters into addressing his confusion. His brother is so opposite him yet there is the attachment that makes Jameson trust his brothers advice.

Bo has lead a different life. When he was younger he was a bully.  He didn’t know how to handle who he was. His dad and brother are totally anti everything that isn’t to their way of thinking. When Bobby tells them he is nonbinary they are hateful. Bo (ex Bobby) moves and creates a life that makes them be who they are. They never expect to have a real relationship but being attracted to Jameson makes them reevaluate.  

As these two get to know each other and develop a relationship so many events occur that this story remains a emotional ride from beginning to end. The secondary characters add a lot to the path these two take. I love this story and the characters. I hope this series never ends.

Rating: 5 Stars

Courageous Hearts is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.