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Brothers in Arms #1

Braced for Love

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Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he's inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin's supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life.

But danger seems to track Kevin along the way, and he wonders if his half brother, Wyatt, is behind the attacks. Finally arriving at the ranch, everyone is at each other's throats and the only one willing to stand in between is Winona Hawkins, a nearby schoolmarm.

Despite being a long-time friend to Wyatt, Winona can't help but be drawn to the earnest, kind Kevin--and that puts her in the cross hairs of somebody's dangerous plot. Will they all be able to put aside their differences long enough to keep anyone from getting truly hurt?

304 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2021

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About the author

Mary Connealy

103 books1,915 followers
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys always with a strong suspense thread. She is a two time Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist.
She is the bestselling author of 65 books and novellas.
Her most recent three book series are: Braced for Love, A Man with a Past and Love on the Range for Bethany House Publishing. She’s also written four other series for Barbour Publishing and many novellas and several stand-alone books for multiple publishers.
Mary will be a published author for ten years in 2017 with nearly a million books in print. She has a degree in broadcast communications with an emphasis in journalism and has worked at her local newspaper.

Find Mary online at:
Petticoats & Pistols
My Website

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 124 reviews
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,323 followers
April 25, 2022
A fun diversion of a story with Connealy’s usual trademark touches of action and humor. If I hadn’t had a hard time concentrating on the audiobook, I’m pretty sure it would have gotten an extra star.

Three half-brothers receive word that their absentee father had left them each thirds of his ranch in his will. Kevin is one of these brothers and he comes to Wyoming from Kansas, unsure if he will be coming to a town of friends or foes—and what if he can’t get along with these two unexpected brothers he’s never heard of before?

Winona is a local schoolteacher who’s at the Hunt ranch to help cook for the ranch hands. When someone starts taking pot shots at the Hunt brothers, she is literally caught in the crossfire and mixed up in the question of who’s out to cause trouble at the ranch.

Definitely a good story and a book I’m happy to recommend to others.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.
Profile Image for Cara Putman.
Author 48 books1,608 followers
February 18, 2021
This was a fantastic book -- I inhaled it in 24 hours around life -- and I can't wait to read the other books in this series. The set up is incredible. A no-account dad with families scattered across the country steal a ranch from one set of kids to share with two other sons. On the way to claim his inheritance, one of the sons is almost killed. And the book is off to the races. It's a fantastic marriage of convenience adventure with all the elements I've come to love from a Mary Connealy book. It left me wondering why it's been awhile since I've read one of her books. A great read for those who love cowboy romances with great characters and a setting that feels like a character.
Profile Image for Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...).
1,450 reviews427 followers
March 16, 2021
An exciting and tumultuous start to a new series! Three brothers who didn't know the others existed, with their father the only thing in common. This had more than the usual amount of family drama, brought about by the strong feelings each character has about the unexpected and unthinkable situation they find themselves in. The women in their lives are dragged into the mess, and Winona plays the part of peacemaker between the brothers as they realize that they have bigger things to worry about than each other. The quick-to-develop romance between Kevin and Winona seems a bit formulaic since some characters in the author's other books also fall in together rapidly- but this may also be indicative of the era, when marriage was often a form of survival. This was an easy book to get lost in with the swift pace and plenty of action. The foundation has been set for the other two brothers and their stories, and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series!

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.
Profile Image for Susan Snodgrass.
1,982 reviews181 followers
March 2, 2021
'Men with knives didn't win battles against guns.'

I have been a Mary Connealy fan for a good many years and always feel delight when I hear she has a new book out. She starts a new series, 'Brothers In Arms' with this one and she starts off well, let me tell you something. Connealy's cowboy comedies are absolutely just so good. Her dry wit is always present throughout and never fails to make me laugh out loud. More than once.

The premise of this one is pretty doggone good, too. Three brothers, unknown to each other, find out their father was one and the same man. A dirty, rotten scoundrel of a pa, is all their opinion of the man, too. And he's dead and his will left each of them a third of a very large ranch in Wyoming. Only one of them has lived there his entire life and has no intention of giving it up.

Connealy populates the book with some great characters, some of whom I'm pretty sure will get their own story in future books. I just loved them all and can't wait for more of this series! Highly recommended.

My thanks to Bethany House Publishing for a copy of this book via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the opinion in this review is entirely my own.
Profile Image for Lu.
745 reviews25 followers
March 18, 2021
A story of family, bravery, perseverance, loyalty, friendship, and love.

Brace for Love by Mary Connealy is book #1 in the Brothers in Arms series but can be read as a standalone.

Wyoming, 1870, Kevin Hunt lost his father 20 years ago. His mother remarried, and he struggled to raise his younger siblings, especially after she passed away.

But the truth is that Kevin's father has been dead only for a few months. All this time, he had been alive and well, even finding time to marry someone else and have another son.

Kevin's father left him a third of a ranch on his will. The tricky part was that he would have to share it with his unknown half-brother.

This astounding news was particularly shocking to Kevin's siblings, as they realized they were both illegitimate, as Kevin's mom was still married to his dad when she remarried.

As their village ostracized his siblings due to their illegitimacy, Kevin decided to claim his inheritance, still confused about how his hero father became a bigamous liar.

As they start on their journey, they find out nothing is what they believed it to be, and their very lives were at risk.

I love how Kevin was sweet and caring despite the harsh environment he was raised in. He was so honorable and utterly irresistible. The heroine, Winona, was a good-hearted and loyal person.

Their connection rang true, so romantic and real.

The side characters are as good as the MCs, and I'm looking forward to the next installments in the series to get to know them better. Kevin's brothers were unique and fascinating, and I especially enjoyed reading about Cheyenne, one of his brother's half-sisters.

It always amazes me how hard life used to be and how strong and brave our ancestors were to face it all.

Brace for Love is a story of family, bravery, perseverance, loyalty, friendship, and love.

Great read!

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

*For more reviews, book art, and book-related articles, please visit https://lureviewsbooks.com *

Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,681 reviews595 followers
March 6, 2021
4.25 Stars

Mary Connealy is always a "go to" author for me when I need me some historical Western romance and "Braced for Love" is exactly what I needed. Yes, she may be labeled as a Christian romance writer but it's so subtle that the message is delivered and not shoved down your throat.

I loved this story of Kevin and Win and the rest of the Hunt family...except I really was a bit irritated by Cheyenne's character.
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,053 reviews77 followers
March 8, 2021
“When he was in a tight spot and pouring out prayers of God’s protection, Kevin had learned to listen to the whisper of an idea.”
Welcome to a new western series by Mary Connealy. Braced For Love sets us up for an unusual story with lots of excitement and clashing temperaments between three brothers who did not know about each other until their no-account Pa died. Now Falcon, Kevin and Wyatt Hunt are joint inheritors of a huge ranch in Wyoming. These three stubborn men must abide by the will their father left.
It took me a minute to get the connections to the female characters but that just made it more interesting. Cheyenne is half sister to Wyatt by their mother. Her best friend, Winona, lives on the adjoining ranch. They are strong, capable women. A description of Cheyenne: “Not a stitch she wore was feminine, but she had a womanly shape, and no one with one working eyeball would have mistaken her for a man.”
Needless to say sparks fly when all parties are thrown together to sort out the terms of the will. And a different kind of sparks fly between Winona and Kevin. What fun to see them pitted against each other.
The descriptions of the majestic scenery was mesmerizing. The family dynamics change from antagonist to standing together against a common enemy, while counting on God to lead them. The most interesting character to me was Falcon. He is stealthy and mysterious and his background is waiting to be uncovered.
This was a solid start to a fun new series. It will be hard to wait for the rest stories and new match-ups.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
Profile Image for Staci.
1,622 reviews501 followers
July 5, 2021
1870 Bear Claw Pass, Wyoming

One man married to three women. Three brothers that had no idea that their father had two other families. To say the three brothers were angry is an understatement.

I learned the definition of ramrod in the pages. A term I first heard on the western movie McClintock. A ramrod is the second in command after the foreman.
Profile Image for Emily.
402 reviews52 followers
October 2, 2021
3 and then a little more. I liked it, but it was so full of exposition for the rest of the series that I never really got to know the two main characters. It’s an interesting premise and setup, though, and if book 2 is any indication of book 3, it’s just gets better as it goes!
Profile Image for Karen Baney.
Author 23 books204 followers
August 22, 2022
Loves the plot twists and turns. Gripping and engaging read with a touch of romance.
Profile Image for Faye.
1,653 reviews
April 5, 2021
A fantastic introduction to a brand new cast of characters in this starter to the newest series by one of my favorite authors, Mary Connealy!

A complex family history bring Kevin and his younger half siblings to Wyoming, where he hopes to claim his part of the inheritance of a ranch that his father left to him and his half brothers. But trouble seems to find him wherever he goes, which leaves him questioning the intentions of his newfound brother.

A fast paced read with a full cast of excellent characters, that leaves room for more development in future books as well as laying down solid relationships through dialogue and interaction. Action packed, with a lot going on, drama, romance, and humor. There was so much to love about this book, and I'm so excited to read about Falcon and Wyatt in the upcoming books in the series.

Overall, a wonderful read, and it's shaping up to be a new favorite series! I liked the growing relationships between the brothers, as well as the budding romances, and friendships. I can't wait to revisit the Hunt brothers in the future. You won't want to miss this series!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Abigail Harris.
Author 26 books176 followers
April 24, 2021
What could go wrong with brothers who had no idea they had brothers?

Okay, the way that Connealy writes a western romance with a touch of comedy is always wonderful, but that she can do it over and over again just makes me love her books more and more!

Braced for Love pulled me in right away, the bigger cast of characters made the story better and didn't drag it down or cause confusion, and the way that the main characters are forging a family is just so sweet. I highly recommend Braced for Love to romantic western lovers.

18+ due to content that is brought to light due to sins that a father tried to hide.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Becky.
4,991 reviews92 followers
October 8, 2021
First sentence: Kevin Hunt came awake with a snap.

Premise/plot: The Hunt brothers are disgruntled. With ample reason, I'd say. Wyatt, Kevin, and Falcon are three half-brothers who have never met. Wyatt Hunt has grown up in Wyoming on a ranch and never thought he'd be having to split the ranch three ways. (Kevin grew up in Kansas. Falcon grew up in Tennessee.)

The plot of this one is perhaps purposefully written to drive synopsis writers CRAZY. It is over-the-top in many, many ways. Essentially, Kevin Hunt, our hero, is on the way to Wyoming with HIS half sister (Molly) and half brother (Andy) to meet his other half brother (Wyatt). When the novel opens he doesn't know about Falcon (another half brother). Turns out Wyatt has a half-sister (or possibly step sister???) named Cheyenne. Everyone thought the ranch would be divided between Wyatt and Cheyenne. Wyatt is angry. Cheyenne is infuriated. Like if she was a cartoon character, not only would steam be blowing out of her ears, her head would pop off to let steam out. She is 100% rage.

There's enough tension between all the family members--but that not being enough, there are villains (of course there are!). Will everyone LIVE long to have a family dinner together???

My thoughts: It was a little melodramatic in retrospect. But at the time I was swept up into the story--like several of the characters were in the white water rapids--that I wasn't thinking, hey, this book is so melodramatic. I enjoyed the characters and the depth of most of the characters. The villains were weak, weak, super-weak in terms of actually being developed as characters. The situations were a little over the top, but at the same time those situations led to some great dialogue.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
1,122 reviews25 followers
July 26, 2021
His inheritance is about to get him in trouble...

Every time I pick up a Mary Connealy book, whether it's old or brand new, I am reminded why I enjoy them so much. Her distinctive blend of historical romance, western, and romantic comedy is so much fun to read! Braced For Love is the first book in her new Brothers In Arms series and it's a real humdinger!

I got a real kick out of Braced For Love. It had all the familiarity of a Mary Connealy novel with a few surprises tossed in for good measure. Seriously, though, I did not see our hero's line of work coming...but it was a perfect choice for him.

There were a lot of twists and turns in Braced For Love, some I saw coming and some I didn't. I think my greatest enjoyment of the story came from trying to guess what Mary Connealy would do next with her crazy crew of characters. And, trust me, crazy is the best word for the antics of this mixed up, off-beat, confused trio of brothers and the rest of their family, half family, and other assorted who-knows-what-they-are.

You really can't go wrong with any Mary Connealy book but whether you are new or an old hand with her novels I'd definitely recommend Braced For Love. I enjoyed it and can't wait to read the next Brothers In Arms novel...

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Profile Image for Erin Laramore.
579 reviews46 followers
August 22, 2021
Having read the 2nd book in this series and thoroughly enjoying it, I knew I wanted to go back and read the first one as well. While this is probably best read in order, I think it was fine to read out of order. I did have a few spoilers, but I think there would have been spoilers from this book as well for the 2nd book, so it doesn't seem to truly matter. This book follows Kevin Hunt, the middle of the Hunt brothers as he comes to Wyoming from Kansas after learning he has inherited part of a ranch from his father who he'd thought had died 20 years prior. On his trek there, he's ambushed and throughout the book, there seem to be people trying to kill him. While the story line is tied up in this book, the 2nd book gives more details as to the who and why of the mystery element, so I would definitely recommend reading the rest of this series. There is a romance in this one as well, as Win and Kevin feel a strong connection from the get-go. Getting shot at together helps with the intensity of those feelings and though the romance moves quickly, there is also the "convenience" factor that keeps them together. I really enjoyed the story-line and the characters and look forward to reading Wyatt's story as well. I would recommend this book (and series) to fans of inspirational historical romance.
Profile Image for Margaret Chind.
3,109 reviews210 followers
September 14, 2021
It feels like every #bookstagram I post is one of our school reads and not just a Mama read. Well, I have one for ya! I have a backlog of @maryconnealy books that I need to tell you about and Braced for Love is only one of them. Honestly, my 12 year old daughter is stealing and has read more of them than I have and is reading them one after the other! (I haven't told her about my digital arc copies or I might lose my tablet with @netgalley on it!!

While I know I'm jumping a bit to dive into a new series, my daughter kept giving me spoilers that I had to dive in. I spent some days reading and some days listening *while cross stitching of course* to Braced for Love by Mary Connealy and enjoyed every minute. (Side note: good narrator)

I have ideas of what else might happen with Wyatt and Falcon, but I enjoyed learning Kevin's story. Plenty of action, plenty of romance, a Mary Connealy worth of humor and comedy, characters that I adore and abhor. All around decent reading, always leaving me wanting more.

@bethanyhousefiction #netgalley #bracedforlove #maryconnealy #christianhistoricalfiction #amreading #bookblogger #americanhistory #booksbooksbooks #bethanyhouse #wyoming #brothersinarms

This review first appeared on Instagram
Profile Image for Lori.
1,652 reviews69 followers
March 4, 2021
Another wonderful story from Mary Connealy. I just love her stories!
My heart really went out to this family. The things things they went through. Oh my!
I loved this adventure! Connealy made me feel like I was in the story right along with the Hunt brothers. I just can't imagine how this man got away with such things! I know it kept me on the edge of my seat turning the pages to see how he he did it and why but it was just so very wrong!
My heart went out to those Hunt brothers. I felt their feelings right along with them.
But Ms. Connealy offered hope and redemption for this misfit family and my heart rejoiced with them as well.
I love love how God orchestrates things and how he sends certain people into our lives.
In my opinion this makes for a wonderful life adventure!
I'm actually living one myself but it's not as exciting as Ms. Connealy's. This story will make you cry at times, laugh out loud at times ( which is why I love her stories. She knows how to leave your heart full and satisfied after a great read! I know mine is right now)!
5 stars! Wish I could give it more!
Highly recommend
My thanks to Bethany House for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Beth | Faithfully Bookish .
838 reviews175 followers
November 1, 2021
Kevin is a wonderful family man-type hero. He's loyal and hardworking and like most big brothers, thinks he knows best.

The Brothers in Arms series takes the secret siblings concept to a Wyoming ranch bequeathed to three half-brothers under questionable circumstances. Additional siblings and family friends round out the eclectic makeshift family as adventure and mystery drive Kevin, Falcon, and Wyatt's stories.

Although the three books share portions of an overlapping timeline, each has a satisfying conclusion. Readers experience the benefit of multiple characters' reactions to pivotal events, refreshing their memory of previous stories without simply retelling.

Connealy's signature romantic comedy and forthright banter soften the edges of past and present trauma as the Hunt brothers gradually uncover and process the full scope of their father's nefarious behavior. I thoroughly enjoyed these stories and their themes of trust, faith, legacy, and family.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Stacy.
316 reviews37 followers
February 14, 2021
Mary Connealy writes memorable and fun-to-read characters and storylines. Braced for Love starts off her new Brothers in Arms series with a bang!

As I read about hero Kevin Hunt, I felt a pull in my heart for his situation. When he meets Winona Hawkins, that's when the fireworks begin.

This story pulls you along through their journey and other noteworthy characters appear on the pages as well. As I closed the book, it left a grin on my face, and I can't wait for another novel in this series to come out. One enjoyable read, sit down with plans to stay in the chair all day long, you won't want to put it down!

I received the book from the publisher and was under no obligation to write nor post a review.
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,972 reviews
March 13, 2021
This my new favorite Mary Connealy book. What a fantastic start to her new series! It starts off with a bang(literally!) and it keeps an intriguing story line through out. It has a great cast of characters, lots of Mary's trademark humor and an exciting ending. Do not miss this one! I can not wait for the rest of this series!! It can't come soon enough for me.

I received this book from the publisher and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Mark.
1,285 reviews23 followers
May 5, 2021
This isn't an author that I normally read, but the series sounded really good. I bought and read the first one, but book 2 and 3 are not out yet.....unfortunately.

Loved this one.......a lot of humor, action, and family learning to get along and like each other
394 reviews12 followers
September 20, 2021
For the first time in a long while, I picked up a *new* book... straight off the new book shelf at my library. Usually I put myself in the queue for a book that is part of a series that I've been trying to get finished... And library shopping doesn't happen as often as you might think for librarians! Anyway, this was so worth picking up. I have only read a novella by Connealy, so I wasn't sure if she could pull off a full-length novel. She certainly did!
Three half-brothers are caught in the crosshairs of an unknown enemy when they find themselves thrown together after their father's death. Complicated family ties make fighting the enemy harder than expected. When Kevin Hunt arrives in Wyoming, he meets the half-brother he never knew about, Wyatt, and whom he suspects might be wanting him dead... as well as a second half-brother, Falcon, who surprises them both with his appearance. But it's Wyatt's feisty childhood friend Winona that catches Kevin's attention the most. He doesn't have time for romancing with a killer on his tail, but she makes it hard to resist the attraction they both seem to feel.
Yes, there is cliché romance in this book, and a few times I had to fight to roll my eyes. ("Oh yes, I'm in love with a man that I met a few hours ago!"), but it was handled in such a lovely way that I couldn't help but enjoy the story. It's not a saga, nor is it an award-winning novel, but it is a fun historical romance with a twist of suspense – and of quite a bit better quality than your typical Love Inspired novel. While it might not be a favorite, it was a well-written, fun read, and I'm looking forward to the next one in the series.
2,734 reviews1,723 followers
April 29, 2021
Bwahahaha! Sometimes a reader needs an explosion of choreogoraphed chaos to cleanse her literary palette and Mary Connealy fits the bill. Her droll humour and unconventional characters guarantee a rollicking good time.

This first book of her new series (Brothers in Arms) is going to be as wildly popular as all her others. And I love the quirky twist in that series title 'cause these brothers are literally in arms over their inheritance.

Cue oodles of laughter and tons of action. Connealy even makes the tense life-or-death moments lighthearted. And, as usual, the bad guys are classic Wild West movie worthy. And despite (or maybe because of) the pandemonium, Kevin and Win manage to connect in a delightfully romantical way.

Can't wait for July when book two, A Man With a Past releases. I'm really looking forward to Falcon's story.

I listened to the audible edtion of Braced for Love narrated by Barbara McCulloh. She has a kinda raspy voice which is a perfect match for these characters and her dialogue delivery and 'inner thought voices' are spot on. A joy to listen to.
Profile Image for Laura.
53 reviews
May 5, 2021
Mary Connealy's humor and love for family always shows up in her writing and makes her a favorite for me whenever she releases a new book. :)
Profile Image for Holly.
40 reviews
October 24, 2021
Did not want to put it down! If it hadn’t been such a busy week, I would have read it in a day. Cannot wait to read the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Jerrye Bell.
558 reviews10 followers
March 7, 2021
Braced for Love by Mary Connealy

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Story Notes

Mary Connealy brings readers the start of a new series about three separate "families" coming together as one to protect all of them from danger that comes calling.

I'm going to admit right off that I had a hard time connecting with this story. It wasn't that the characters, the writing or the plot weren't very good; it was that there seemed to be so many pieces to the story that were being told that my mind was spinning to keep track of them. The story begins with Kevin Hunt, a young man on his way to the ranch that his father left to him and his half-brothers - half brothers he had no idea existed before the telegram came. With nothing of real value to hold him and his siblings in Kansas, Kevin packs everything and everyone up and heads for Wyoming and the truth. Along the way he meets with some trouble of the killing variety and figures these half brothers of his must not want him to live to inherit his portion of the ranch. Unwilling to give in or up, Kevin pushes on to the Rolling Hills Ranch to confront his brothers. Meanwhile, at the Ranch, Wyatt Hunt is furious about the reading of the will. How could his father have had two other families they didn't know about? And why did he only leave the ranch to the male members of the family? His half-sister Cheyenne who worked the ranch her entire life is now told she has no stake in it at all. And now they're just supposed to give up their home and inheritance to people they've never seen before. When all the brothers have arrived, there is no holds barred when it comes to telling the truth. Everyone shares their side of the story and no of it leaves Clovis Hunt in a positive light. But they have more to worry about than just dividing the land. Someone is out to take over the RHR and is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they get it. Winona Hawkins has been part of the Hunt family for years and she is present when lawyer Carl Preston brings Wyatt and Cheyenne the news. Determined to help them with their new family members, she encourages both Cheyenne and Wyatt to meet with the others and discuss what to do. Neither of them are happy about it but see the wisdom of at least meeting the other Hunts. Winona is in a odd place herself given that she has secrets that keep her from going home to her father. As she works with the Hunts to solve this dilemma, she will find herself drawn to Kevin and his steadiness. But there can be no future for anyone unless they find out who is gunning for them. Kevin offers her protection from her father but that only puts her in more danger by remaining near the Hunts. Everyone will have to keep their guard up if they are to come out of this alive. As you can see, there is quite a lot going on. I think it might have been easier to keep up with if all the stories weren't being told at the same time. It was hard to keep everyone straight and what their involvement was in the plot. It did really like all the characters that were introduced and can see how their stories will all be very good ones to read in the future. I wish more time had been given to the couple of focus in this story - Kevin and Winona - so I could have gotten to know them better. I'm still not really sure I understand either of them yet. But hopefully the rest of the series will give more insight into their backgrounds. The rest of the book was really well done and well crafted. I was pretty mentally and emotionally invested in the Hunts and their fight for justice by the end of the story and am very curious to see what will happen next with them. I will be recommending this story as a good start to a series but with a recommendation that the reader plan to take time to understand everything going on. If this one is anything like Ms. Connealy's previous series, I will enjoy it very much.
I received this temporary, complimentary E-book from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in order to provide a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Alyssa Amey Madjeski.
149 reviews12 followers
March 4, 2021
I’ve been a Mary Connealy fan for years, and this is one of her best! I love the premise and the conflict of this new series, where three brothers who never knew each other existed are suddenly thrust together by the will of their scoundrel father.

Wyatt Hunt and his half sister Cheyanne have had their ranch stolen and divided three ways by Wyatt’s father. It was never his to distribute, but the law is ironclad. It has been divided between Wyatt, a brother named Falcon from Tennessee, and a brother named Kevin from Kansas. The family drama is compounded by the fact that someone else is trying to use this time of upheaval to make a play for the land. Someone who isn’t afraid to kill.

Into the mess comes a travel-weary Kevin, toting his half-sister and half-brother to Wyoming for a new life. Leaving war-torn Kansas behind was a no-brainer, but they didn’t expect such a hostile reception. To Kevin’s credit, as soon as he finds out the injustice done to Wyatt and Cheyanne, he does all that he can to fix it, despite them not wanting to hear it. The peacemaker in all of this is Wyatt and Cheyanne’s lifelong friend Winona Hawkins, who stays at the ranch because she has her own demons. Winona never expected one of the enemy to be such a nice guy, a good listener, or quite handsome... and she can’t help the feelings she starts to have for Kevin, even as it draws her into the crosshairs of the conflict.

The romance is really cute. It came together a little fast (I see your raised eyebrows, Molly!) but it was pretty undeniable how Kevin and Win were perfect for each other. I like that despite how quickly their feelings developed they went into the friendship with honesty and a whole lot of conversation before forging ahead. The fact that they were both such good communicators made it believable. They’d slow each other down and talk it out and right from the start they made a great team.

Like I said earlier, I love the premise, and Connealy executes it brilliantly. There’s something special about her characters in this new series that caused me to stop and pay attention. The conflict between them felt so real, even when you want to shake them and say “calm down, this idea makes sense!” ... it felt like honest reactions. So often in a Mary Connealy book the main characters work to defeat an outside evil. We love to root for them against the bad guys! And while this book has its own bad guys, we are forced a little deeper because Kevin, Wyatt, and Falcon have to look inside and fight the bad guy that they found lurking in their DNA too. They have to prove to themselves in this series that they don’t need to be defined by who their father was and that they can be men of honor. That alone has me super eager for the next one and the one after that, and I’m really glad I don’t have to wait all that long.
134 reviews2 followers
April 5, 2021
When Kevin Hunt learns of the inheritance of a part of a ranch in Wyoming, he brings his younger siblings to claim it. After all there is little left for him in Missouri, even if the ranch is also going to a half-brother he has never met. It seems that his supposedly dead father has more secrets than anyone knew. Danger follows the siblings, up to a ranch where Kevin can’t help but suspect his half-brother, Wyatt. As tempers flare and suspicions only grow, Kevin finds a reluctant friend in Winona Hawkins. Win, school teacher of the town and long-time friend of Wyatt, finds herself drawn to earnest and kind Kevin, who is just as hurt and confused as the rest of them. As a dangerous plot looms, will the unlikely family be able to put aside their differences in time to keep themselves safe?
I have read quite a few of Ms. Connealy’s books and I must say, it is always lovely to read! I love the theme of family that is found in so many of her books! And this one does not disappoint! First of all Kevin and his siblings, they are so cute! He is the oldest and in some ways is more of a parental figure to them. He is steady and grounded. They are a very close-knit group and take care of one another. Upon coming to Wyoming, they discover more family and secrets than they realized. There seems to be suspicion all around. An attempt on their lives leaves Kevin with few choices, he is determined to take care of his siblings and do right by his new-found family. Win is intriguing to him, both for her level-headedness and her calm competence. She was doing her best to look out for as many people as possible, even though she herself was in difficult circumstances. I liked Win, she felt very genuine. I really empathized with her as she tried to help those around her. I thought that they really complimented one another, they were both caring and thoughtful. It was so sweet how aligned they seemed to be.
I also enjoy how Ms. Connealy’s series connects, the overarching storyline that usually follows a family. Braced for Love is the first in the Brothers in Arms series and as you read it, you can see the foundations of the next books, which I love! It is so cool to already get to know the characters and I am so excited for the next books. Although, some mysteries have been solved and some of the plots are foiled, there are still secrets that are yet to be uncovered. It is exciting to see the uncovering of things throughout the book. I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy clean Western romances! It is a great start to the series!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.
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427 reviews2 followers
March 2, 2021
Braced for Love
by Mary Connealy
Back of the Book: “Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he's inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half-brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin's supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life.
But danger seems to track Kevin along the way, and he wonders if his half-brother, Wyatt, is behind the attacks. Finally arriving at the ranch, everyone is at each other's throats and the only one willing to stand in between is Winona Hawkins, a nearby schoolmarm.
Despite being a long-time friend to Wyatt, Winona can't help but be drawn to the earnest, kind Kevin--and that puts her in the cross hairs of somebody's dangerous plot. Will they all be able to put aside their differences long enough to keep anyone from getting truly hurt?
Impressions: I was torn on this book. I enjoyed the excitement but felt the transitions between perspectives was messy at times. It was also a strange romance as it was more a last-minute marriage followed by the end of the book.
Rated: Murder attempts, mentions of abuse and murder
Liked: I enjoyed the excitement and suspense in this book.
Disliked: Towards the beginning, as everyone is being introduced Win starts her own dialog and it threw me off. There seemed to be a lot going on and I didn’t understand her significance yet to the story and who she was. As the story read along it easy to understand but there were other moments where the transition of the speaker was confusing.
Quotes: “I’m sorry for all you must’ve gone through to learn the skill, but it was a blessing to me today.” – I loved this quote because it reminds me that God uses our messy broken bits for His glory.
“I’ll try and remember to obey your every order – including reading your mind and obeying orders you haven’t given- from this moment on.” – I hope you read the sarcasm in this statement. It made me laugh because I’m sure that I’ve said as much to my husband and he to me.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review shared here.
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