After a fire takes her grandma's life and kills her horse, Hannah's immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can't turn away even though she's not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.
Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.
But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.
**New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel**
**Contains scenes of domestic violence**
**Contains scenes of domestic violence**
"Let me try to be clearer. You are mine. Period. You can't escape me. Each time you turn and try to run, will be only that. A try. Because I'll catch you and I'll make you regret ever trying to run from me."
Looking at the cover for Breaking The Reins you would be forgiven for thinking that you were going to get a nice sweet story that involves a girl with a love of horses. And to some extent, you do get that. But this story completely blindsided me with it's depth. I was so thoroughly unprepared for the gamut of emotions that this story covered. There were such moments of sweetness, but there were also such moments of heartbreak and terror.
From the outside Hannah Taylor appears to have it all. Wealth, social status and Eric, her loving boyfriend... But Hannah doesn't really care too much for the trappings of the well to do society her family are a part of. She would much prefer to be helping her Grandma on her ranch or riding her beloved horse. But then tragedy strikes and her Grandma and horse are killed in a fire and the ranch is left to Hannah. As if dealing with her loss wasn't enough, then Animal Control bring Hannah, Argus, an abused horse to care for. Throw into the mix the hot new polo player Leonardo Fernandes who treats her just how a woman should be treated. Their attraction to each other is sizzling but Eric is not about to let Hannah go and he is willing to do whatever it takes to show her that.
Domestic violence is an all too common occurrence in our society and Juliana Haygert described perfectly the fear that it's victims live with. She created a character in Eric who was charming, good looking and an incredibly well respected member of the community. It was hard not to be swept away by his charms. But very slowly Hannah began to see glimpses of a man that she doesn't know. His jealousy was always something that made Hannah feel incredibly loved but when Leo entered the picture Eric's jealousy reached a whole new level.
Hannah was such a strong character who was beaten down by the man she loved. How do you reconcile your feelings for the man you knew with the man he has become? There were scenes in this book that were so heartbreaking. As Eric's true colours were revealed it was hard to imagine how he managed to maintain the facade for so long. He was truly crazy!! Hannah will need to gather every bit of strength she has to survive what Eric inflicts upon her.
He was ... perfect. Tall, powerful, strong with the right amount of manly hunk, gentleman and boyish demeanor.
I loved Leo!! He was supportive and respectful. He was so loving and caring. All the traits that a woman looks for in a partner. Someone who is your equal and who listens when you speak and cares about what you have to say. But Leo's life hasn't been everything it appears to be. He has secrets. Dark, messy secrets. How is Hannah going to deal with what Leo has been keeping from her?
(My Hannah & Argus)
And then there is Argus. Boy what a wonderful part of the story this horse was. So incredibly broken. So badly mistreated by a previous owner, he is wary of everyone and everything. With everything going on in Hannah's life, Argus proves how incredibly sensitive and intuitive animals are.
This is the first book that I have had the pleasure of reading from Juliana Haygert and I can guarantee that it definitely will not be the last. If you are after a New Adult book that goes much deeper and darker than a lot that you will read, then Breaking the Reins is the book for you. Although not incredibly fast paced it is really well written and will have you turning the pages to find out what exactly will happen next.
4.5/5 Intense Stars.