Only If You Dare by Margo Hoornstra

Only If You Dare by Margo Hoornstra
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (146 pages)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fennel

All the pleasures and none of the pain, that’s what Cynthia Buckingham wants in a relationship these days. A one-night stand with Jonah Colt seems to fit that bill perfectly. Newly divorced, she’s too busy planning her daughter’s wedding for any serious involvement. Besides, her true passion is helping victims of PTSD reclaim their lives.

Waking up after spending the night with a woman he barely knows, Jonah is stunned to realize sex for the sake of sex isn’t enough for him anymore. A veteran of more military battles than he cares to count, he wants to forget it all and focus on peaceful civilian life. Except flashbacks won’t allow it.

Falling for Cynthia makes Jonah regret his weakened state, but he’d rather hide the truth than face it. When she sets aside everything she believes in to help him heal, can he accept her help–and her love?

Given that Ms. Hoornstra sets If Only You Dare smack in the middle of the difficult emotional background of a PTSD victim and counselor, you may be forgiven for thinking this will be a depressing and difficult read. It is neither.

The author’s heroine, Cynthia Buckingham, is a well intention-ed, and well-qualified PSTD counselor. She’s read the books, passed the exams and helped victims face their future with all the tools they need.

Or has she?

War veteran, Jonah Colt, has seen it all, and survived to return home, but the memories, experiences, guilt and regrets are his constant companions. Never-the-less he’s managed to glue over the cracks and make a presentable life for himself – until he bumps into Cynthia Buckingham in the hallway of the local courthouse – and then his life changes.

The author’s characters take the reader through the trials when practice meets theory and the effects it has on her hero and heroine in a realist and sympathetic manner, and with a light touch that took this reader right into the situation. I felt Cynthia’s frustration, and Jonah’s anger. I watched as they struggled to overcome major differences and sympathized with both while wanting to knock their heads together on a couple of occasions.

Ms. Hoornstra’s writing style offers an easy read, provides clear settings and a smooth transition from scene to scene. Her character’s have depth, both in their strengths and their flaws. Her minor characters balance the struggles her hero and heroine have with learning to trust, that while they ‘listen’ they truly ‘hear’ what the other is saying.

In a short story this author has used a difficult subject to create believable characters, and a charming, easy-to-read, sweet romance.


  1. Thank you so much for the great review. I’m pleased you enjoyed my book.

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