5 stars for Desperate Endurance by Kasey Riley–murder, mystery, romance, a hot cowboy and the world of Endurance Riding!

I loved this book. I’ve only heard of Endurance Riding, I love horses (although I am deathly allergic to them, so don’t go near them) I’m a sucker for romance and mystery and country life—and I love happy endings!
Bethany Wilcox’s husband had come home with his pregnant girlfriend and said he wanted a divorce. Bethany could cope with the divorce; the marriage had been without heart for a long time. What really shook her was the insults that her cheating spouse had thrown at her when he’d told her he wanted it. Later she realized that he was just a cruel jerk, but she had drawn into a shell, and it was hard for her to see herself as anything but unattractive and sexually inept. She had taken up endurance riding, and for the past year she had ridden and written about endurance rides that she had participated in across the country.
One night, after a long day of driving, she stopped at a rest stop. She was in the trailer checking her horses, Coup and Harley, when a vehicle drove in. She didn’t think anything of it until she heard a frightening conversation and realized that she was in a dangerous situation. Shots were fired, and from what she heard she understood that the victim had run into the woods. Just then another vehicle drove up, and the lights highlighted the man who was firing the gun. The driver quickly reversed the car and sped away. From the killers hurried conversation, Bethany knew that the men had made note of her license plate, before they jumped in their vehicle and tore out of the rest area, saying they had to catch the departing car and eliminate the witness. They would come back and take care of the old man afterward.

Bethany knew she had to get out of there, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave without checking to see if the man they had shot at was dead or just wounded. Possibly, she could help him. Richard Meadows was dying when she found him. He gave her his tags and told her to go to the post office in Monte Vista, Colorado and get a letter that was in it. He wanted her to find his son, Roger Meadows. Before she was to give the letter to him, he wanted her to make certain that he wasn’t in on the kidnapping that he had endured. Richard died in her arms, and then she fled.

When she went to the Post Office, she avoided looking at the surveillance camera as she opened the box and withdrew the envelope. She put it in her shoulder bag and walked out, almost running into the two murderers. She recognized them, but they had no idea who she was. She maintained her presence of mind and acted a little flirty and then walked jauntily away. She knew they would find her soon, unless she did something drastic.

Bethany reinvented herself. Her normal, unnoticeable look and personality disappeared. She bought a sexy new wardrobe. She went to a stylist and had her long blonde hair cut short and colored a fiery auburn. Green contacts camouflaged her hazel eyes. To save her life, Bethany portrayed a sexy, flirty, beautiful, desirable woman.

The killers stayed on her trail, searching out endurance ride locations, looking for her. She had warned her fellow riders that someone might show up—her ex-husband was trying to take her trailer back, even though it was legally hers. They “circled the wagons” helping her hide her trailer behind others, so it wasn’t noticeable. When the men showed up, they chased them off.

Eventually took a job at the Co-op store in Montrose, Colorado. Roger Meadows (Richard’s son) has a ranch not far from town. She meets him, and eventually rents a cabin at his place. This gives her a chance to get to know him and decide if he is honest and not involved in the kidnapping that ended his father’s life.

Roger Meadows is an ex-Army Ranger. He has not seen his father since he was eight years old and has no idea where he lives or anything about him. His wife died five years ago and he has not been able to move on. Sometimes he still expects her to meet him at the door. He is shocked to find that he is interested in the fiery redhead. He senses that she is hiding something from him. However she doesn’t know if she can trust him yet, so she keeps her secret.

Things become very tense when the bad guys start asking questions about him in Montrose. Then a suspicious “FBI agent” shows up at his ranch. Roger and his crew (who are all former colleagues) are well able to handle him, and he leaves without the answers that he is looking for. But he and his accomplices don’t give up.

Eventually, Bethany tells Roger what she knows. It becomes clear that until they find out who is behind the murder and kidnapping, no one is safe. Roger takes it upon himself to become Bethany’s protector, and when she goes to an Endurance ride, he goes along as her crew. The murders are there, waiting along the trail with the intention of kidnapping her. Things get exciting, in more ways than one on that trip, but they still do not found out who the mastermind is.

Kasey Riley did a terrific job of weaving the plot of this story. It was exciting, suspenseful, funny in places, terrifying in others and sexy in places. And even though I know nothing about endurance riding, it was obvious that she knew what she was writing about. I had no idea how great a distance some of these rides can cover, or how demanding the trails could be. I had no idea how closely the horses are monitored by veterinarians along the way—nor did I imagine the long hours the riders were in the saddle. It truly was an education for me.

I’ll be reading more of this author’s work!

You can purchase Desperate Endurance at Amazon.com by clicking here