Long, Hot Texas Summer by Carolyn Brown

Grade: A-
Hotness Level: Ember
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Published: 8/26/14
Reviewed by Kate
248 pages

Loretta and Jackson have been divorced for 17 years.  They have a daughter Nona who is now 21, but they haven’t seen each other in 4 years, since Nona was old enough to drive herself to her father’s house.  Loretta hears that Nona is planning on skipping her last year of college and living with Jackson and ranching with him full time.  So Loretta storms off to the ranch to talk some sense into Nona and she’s staying there until Nona agrees to go back to school.  But the sparks are still there between Jackson and Loretta.  Can she get Nona to leave the ranch before the sparks ignite a fire?

There was so much that I liked about this book.  First off, I’m always a sucker for a plot about exes getting back together and this one was sooo good.  Secondly, I quickly fell in love with Loretta and Jackson. Loretta is quite a spit-fire.  I loved how she could verbally fight, but it never came to blows.  And at times, she had me laughing out loud.  Jackson has taken up residence at #1 on my most romantic hero list.  And all because of a jar of mayonnaise.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the crazy family that Loretta comes from.

My one true complaint is that there were a ton of country music references.  And every time the author wrote about a song, it pulled me out of the story a bit.  As a country music listener I had to stop and think of lyrics.  It wasn’t terrible.  Just distracting.

This one is going on my “Best of 2014” list.  A perfect, light, low-conflict, cowboy romance.  I look forward to re-reading this one in the future and seeing what else Carolyn Brown has in store for this series.

Despite the low heat rating on this one, (I think it’s been years since I’ve read a romance with no direct mention of even an erection) I really enjoyed it.  Do you have any low heat reads that remain on your all-time favorites list?

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!

Slow Ride Home by Leah Braemel

Slow Ride Home (The Grady Legacy, #1)
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.