Let It Ride by L.C. Chase

Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, m/m, cowboy
Series: Pickup Men #2
Published: 5/26/14
Reviewed by Anne
195 pages

Bridge Sullivan wakes up one day after a scorching wet dream and thinks he just might be gay.  After a hilarious talk with his penis he’s not really sure about being gay or bisexual, but he’s quite sure he’s Eric-sexual.  He’s a pretty self-accepting kind of guy.  Not much bothers him.  So, once he figures out he’s got a thing for Eric, he decides it’s time to act on it.

Eric Palmer is a paramedic on the rodeo circuit that Bridge works.  He’s openly gay and has become good friends with Bridge and his circle of buddies over the past year.  For the first time in a long time, he feels like he belongs.  He’s surprised by the signals his straight friend is sending him, and even if they mean what he thinks they mean, he’d never do anything to screw up this group of friends he has.  Eric is very attracted to Bridge, but determined not to take any risks.  Bridge only scares him more when he tells Eric he’s not looking for a one night stand – he wants a relationship. 

This was a nice story that worked best in the last quarter of the book.  The reasons behind Eric’s hesitancy to allow himself to attach to Bridge are hinted at during most of the book, but not spelled out until near the end. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until those reasons were made clear that I found them believable.  So the first part of the book suffered because Eric came off as over-reacting.  I do think my own history as a foster parent makes stories including foster care a harder sell for me.  

Overall, though, it was a good read and a pretty low conflict story, which I enjoy.  I loved the rodeo setting and camaraderie between Eric, Bridge, and their friends.  The fact that Eric refused to just throw a condom on the floor, and in fact turned getting a garbage can into a pretty hot scene earned the book bonus points from me!

This story is the second in this series, but it stood alone just fine for me.  I’d recommend it for any m/m reader who has love for cowboys and rodeos!
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Slow Ride Home by Leah Braemel

Slow Ride Home (The Grady Legacy, #1)
Grade-C
Hotness Level-Inferno
Kink Level-Mild Kink
Series-The Grady Legacy #1
Genre-Contemporary Western
Reviewed by Kay
257 pages

Ben Grady is half owner of the Bull’s Hollow ranch. He is a partner with his brother Jake. His first love was Allie Daniels. They dated in high school until Allie’s father was found out as a thief and they left town. Ben has never gotten over Allie. Turns out there was a video made of Ben, Allie and Ben’s best friend, Logan when they had a threesome. This video led to Allie losing her scholarship to Texas A&M.

Fast forward fifteen years and Allie is a lawyer who handles property title disputes. Bull’s Hollow had part of it’s shares held for a unknown heir. Ben and his family think the whole claim is ridiculous and their title insurance company sends in Allie to investigate. Ben and Allie’s first meeting after fifteen years is strained to say the least. I won’t give anymore plot away but that’s the synopsis on how this story starts.

I am a sucker for western romances. I’m also a sucker for second chance love stories. I enjoyed both of the tropes here. What I didn’t enjoy was the idea that back in high school a girl engaged in a threesome. I’m not a prude but it’s hard for me to buy into it. The suspense of finding out if there was truly another heir was entertaining but I kind of thought my heroine was a slut. This tainted the book for me. I will admit that even though there was copious amounts of descriptive sex in this book that were hot, it still left me a little cold. I don’t know if I’ll read any more in this series yet.

                     

So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl

So Tough to Tame (Jackson, #3)

 
Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Mild Kink
Genre: Contemporary, cowboy
Series: Jackson #3
Published: 9/24/13
Reviewed by Anne
376 pages
 
Charlie and Walker were friends in high school when geeky Charlie tutored the very popular Walker.  They went their separate ways, but now they have apartments across the hall from each other and they are both recovering from awful on the job experiences that ended with being fired.  Neither has troubles starting a new job, and neither is admitting to anyone that anything bad happened.  It’s like a high school reunion.  I’m great!  I’m so happy!  I just moved on to a wonderful job!
 
The attraction that had simmered between them in high school flares up again and now they are adults free to act on that attraction.  Neither is looking for anything long term, so it all should be great, right?
 
This was a good story.  I thought the characters were unique and more flawed than I’m used to reading.  They were each hiding the truth of themselves from the other, which bordered on annoying.  However, this set up worked for me.  They were both so embarrassed about their pasts because they were responsible for the poor choices they’d made.  This made for more angst than I usually like to read, but, again, it really worked in this story.
 
Walker is a really refreshing hero in a genre that seems full of billionaire CEOs and over achievers.  His life is simple, in part because he doesn’t think he can achieve more, and in part because that’s how he likes it.  Walker does make some changes over the course of the book, but the changes are motivated by his own happiness, not out of a desire to impress someone else.
 
Charlie was interesting, too.  A security expert who wasn’t a strong physical force.  She specializes in out-thinking criminals and setting up monitoring systems.  The situation she finds herself in on her new job – feeling like she’s being watched every moment of the day – was really creepy!  (Although I should point out that I’m not a huge suspense fan, so even a little bit of it is creepy to me!)
 
I think one of my favorite parts of the book was that their personal growth was in parallel, and not caused by the other person being in their life.  Even when Charlie tries to interfere with Walker, he’s not going to move on things until he’s ready.  I enjoyed that as opposed to magic sex that heals all wounds!
I thought the ending was a little too hearts and sunshine with respect to their careers, but I REALLY appreciated that the wedding in the epilogue wasn’t theirs.  They still have issues to work through, in my opinion, but you leave the story sure that they will work things out.  This was an enjoyable and funny contemporary romance!