Title: Two Healing Hearts
Author: Renee Dahlia
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Release Date: January 2020
Length: 251 pages
Series?: Merindah Park #3
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Home. It’s been a long journey to recovery after the horse racing accident that nearly killed me, and now I’m ready to embrace life. Yes, I have a head injury, but that’s not going to stop me creating a survival list of all the things I was too polite to do before. Number one on the list is to ride again. Also on the list: kiss Lee Edwards, my former boss and hot-as-hell neighbour. Not that I’m going to write that one down where anyone might see it.
The last six months have been hell. Not only did one of my horses nearly kill my stable jockey, Serena, but the accident wrecked my friendship with her brother and reminded me that I’m a failure. Just like my father said I’d be. I moved to Australia, the other side of the world, to get away from his negative voice and create a new life as a horse trainer. And now Serena is on my doorstep, demanding to learn to ride again. I can’t do it. I won’t be responsible for hurting her again. So why is it so hard to say no?
After 6 months in rehab, Serena is finally able to come home. She isn’t out of the woods, yet, though. She is still recovering from a traumatic brain injury sustained while she was riding in a horse race. While the accident has greatly affected her physically and mentally, she has come out stronger. She finds her own footing and makes decisions for herself. For example, her two biggest goals are to ride again and kiss Lee, her boss.
Lee blames himself for Serena’s accident. He’s basically cut all of his friends (ahem, Serena’s family) from his life. He’s never even gone to see Serena.
But she shows up on his doorstep seeking his help in riding again. Lee is drowning in a sea of emotions and has had walls up since Serena started working for him. Slowly, he starts letting those walls down as Serena reveals her own struggles with TBI. It’s almost like Serena has come to depend on Lee in her recovery. Not in a negative, co-dependent way, but in a new friendship, changing relationship, supportive way.
Lee is shrouded in his own black cloak of issues, which is what drove him to Australia and into the horse racing business. His background was interesting, and I would have liked to have seen a little more of him delving into that with Serena beyond just the fact that his dad is a major jerkhole.
What I LOVED about this book is it promotes mental health awareness and therapy. Not in a shove in your face way. In a “hey, that’s a lot you need to unpack” way. I love that Lee takes Serena’s advice and starts going to therapy. He says its for her, but it’s also for him. It does good for them both.
I really liked the connection between Serena and Lee, and the hometown feel of the setting.