Guys Like Him, (Redemption Ridge Book One) by Aimee Nicole Walker - Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

Kieran is an abandoned man looking for revenge and he has no time for the gorgeous horse trainer that wears his heart on his sleeve. Finley knows Kieran will be nothing but heartbreak, but he can't help himself from wanting to get to know the former convict. Being together's not the problem, staying together might be too hard when Kieran has secrets and plans to eventually leave. Guys Like Him is the start of a new series by Aimee Nicole Walker.

From the blurb:

Kieran Sullivan is broken when he arrives at Redemption Ridge. A wrongful conviction and twenty
months in lockup will do that to a man. The ranch is a place for second chances and fresh starts, but for him, it’s an opportunity to discover who set him up. Get in, get answers, and get out. The plan sounds easy enough until Kieran meets an equine specialist whose sunny smile could warm the coldest heart.

Finley Ashe is a sucker for bruised spirits and sad eyes. The horse whisperer and broken-boy magnet is six months into a hiatus from love when Kieran, the king of emotionally unavailable men, gets assigned to work under his supervision. Mutual attraction is gasoline on proximity’s flame, testing Finley’s resistance in new ways.

Priorities shift, shields come down, and truths get exposed. Will the inevitable combustion redeem Kieran and Finley or consume them?

Guys Like Him is book one in the Redemption Ridge series. Though each story features a different couple, reading the series in order is essential. Guys Like Him contains mature themes and is intended for adults.

SNik's Review:

First in series (Redemption Ridge). Found family. Slow burn. 

Horse trainer Finley has sworn off broken bad boys, so when former convict Kieran arrives on the ranch to work, Finley has to muster all his self control. Kieran is only staying in Colorado for revenge, his attraction to Finley has to be ignored as he can’t fall for the beautiful man that will eventually leave him, just like everyone else in Kieran’s life. 

Both Finley and Kieran are likable and relatable characters, neither looking for love but finding themselves in a slow- building relationship that involves closeness and friendship and appreciation for the other. Between Finley and Kieran there is yearning, sweetness, a little mystery, and a little steam. 

A good introduction to the secondary cast of characters that provide humor and the found family element to the story. I enjoyed all of the interactions between Finley and Kieran from their working side by side with animals, to nights spent playing cards and watching movies, their relationship progressed in a natural and romantic way that made their intimacy and love that much more satisfying to read. 

Looking forward to more of this series.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Jacqueleen the Reading Queen's Review:

"𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒔𝒕𝒖𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝒎𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒋𝒖𝒔𝒕 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒃𝒓𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒏 𝒃𝒐𝒚 𝒉𝒆'𝒅 𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒚𝒆𝒕."

As I sat down to write my review for the first book in the Redemption Ridge series by Aimee Nicole Walker, I came to the realization that I'd never read a book by this author that I didn't enjoy. In fact while talking about finishing Guys Like Him, one of my bookish friends stated the same. Walker consistently puts out books with likeable MCs and stories that tend to get you right in the feels. She often includes some scorching heat as well which of course ups this steam queens enjoyment even higher. Just sayin. I like what I like. 🤷‍♀️

Everyone loves a good redemption story and that's exactly the purpose of Cash Sweeney's opening of his aptly named Redemption Ridge. As an ex convict himself, one who's turned his life around, Cash knows what a true second chance can do for someone like him. Kieran is newest addition to be offered that chance and he grabs tight to it with both hands, though for different reasons than most everyone assumes.

Kieran arrives to the ranch like most people would who've been dealt the hand he has in life. He's leery AF. Selfless people like Cash just don't exist in his world and it's hard for him to trust it. Kieran plans to keep his head down, do his work, and avoid any type of emotional entanglements until the true reason for his acceptance to move to the ranch comes to fruition. Then of course his plans are blown out of the water when he meets their resident horse trainer Finley.

"𝑰'𝒎 𝒈𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒎𝒂𝒏 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒔 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆. 𝑰 𝒘𝒐𝒏'𝒕 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒎𝒆 𝒎𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒈𝒖𝒚𝒔. 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒊𝒅𝒏'𝒕 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖, 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝑰 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍."

I adored Finley. Every single time he did something embarrassing due to being distracted by Kieran I loved him a little more. It was adorable. As was how protective the guys on the ranch were of him, especially Ivan. That didn't mean he was immune to their teasing though. Let's just say the man has earned the ribbing about his being unlucky in love. But not this time. This time Finley finally gets it right and I truly enjoyed every moment of him and Kieran falling in love. Also, I am DYING for Cash's book, but it looks like we get Ivan's HEA first and I won't complain about that!

Rating: 5 Stars

Guys Like Him is available to buy as an ebook and to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.

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Thick gray clouds hovered overhead, rolling like the anger churning inside him. For the past year, he’d expressed his eagerness to put the past behind him and start fresh. That’s what the prison counselors and the people with power over him wanted to hear, so that was the bullshit he fed them. But privately, Kieran tended to his bitterness like a stew on the stove. He knew when to adjust the heat and which ingredients to add to the pot to keep his resentment sharp. And the fucking drab sky and clouds only antagonized him more.

For twenty months, his entire existence had been gray—the floors and walls, the food, and the pallor of the inmates’ skin. The only break in the monotony were the prison scrubs. He would happily go the rest of his life without seeing the color orange again. Kieran had foolishly allowed himself to daydream about the vibrancy he’d see on release day, but he’d just gotten more of the same. Everything around him was wet and shiny from the rain, but it was more of a piss on his parade than a refreshing, clean slate. Kieran’s olfactory senses zeroed in on the motor oil brought to the asphalt’s surface by the shower. It was a scent he knew all too well, and it became a match to his pilot light. Rainwater splashed up on his feet and shins as he walked, but his wrath made him impervious to the chill. Kieran reached inside the padded envelope, removed the wallet, and stuffed it into his back pocket. Then he tossed the envelope with the cell phone into the trash bin. The device was dead, the contract canceled, and there was no one on the contact list he wanted to speak to anymore.

A slight breeze stirred the air, and Kieran closed his eyes and tipped his head back. Yeah, he’d enjoyed fresh air during breaks in the yard, but they never lasted long enough and were controlled by someone else. He’d lived long enough like a marionette, and there was no better time to embrace free will. The weather wasn’t what he’d hoped for, but he got to enjoy it outside the fences, and that was a victory he’d stop and embrace.

A rumbling engine caught his attention, and he opened his eyes in time to see a black king cab truck with a silver Redemption Ridge logo stop in front of the facility. The guy behind the wheel wasn’t a chauffeur, but he was there for Kieran just the same. A year ago, he set a plan into motion, and Cash Sweeney’s presence proved it had worked.

Kieran’s good behavior had gained him access to the K9 programs at Arrowhead, where he’d met Cash and his dogs from Redemption Ridge. The front passenger window rolled down, and a familiar black-and-white head poked out. Patsy, a border collie, was the first dog he’d met during the program, and it had been love at first sight for them. It turned out Kieran had a sixth sense when working with animals, especially the shyest ones. His talents had captured Cash’s notice, and he’d offered Kieran employment and housing on his ranch, where he rehabilitated horses and dogs. Kieran’s participation in the program and the subsequent employment opportunity hadn’t been divine intervention or luck; it was all part of his carefully orchestrated plan.

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About the Author

Ever since she was a little girl, Aimee Nicole Walker entertained herself with stories that popped into her head. Now she gets paid to tell those stories to other people. She wears many titles—wife, mom, and animal lover are just a few of them. Her absolute favorite title is champion of the happily ever after. Love inspires everything she does, music keeps her sane, and coffee is the magic elixir that fuels her day.

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