Review: Black Widow (Book #1: Club Bridge Series) by Lauren Runow

Black Widow

Title: Black Widow Series: Book #1: Club Bridge Author: Lauren Runow Format: Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 245 pages Published: February 23, 2016

Purple Goodreads

Preston: I bury my pain in a sex club. I can be anonymous and still be faithful to my deceased wife’s memory. At the club, I can give and receive pleasure without guilt or attachment. My mask hides the lies of my past.  Kamii: My marriage ended tragically. Since then, the only excitement in my lonely, pathetic, workaholic life is reading erotic novels. However, I now have the chance to be whoever I want to be, where no one knows my past and will never be my future.  When their worlds collide, fantasies become a reality by pushing boundaries. The anonymity of Bridge offers protection from painful pasts, cunning schemes and dangerous lies. But when the masks are removed, there are no safewords to protect hearts and lives from buried truths.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 2½/5 stars

My Review:

I think the speed at which I read this book really has nothing to do with my overall enjoyment and/or impression of the read.  Yes, I read Black Widow in a single sitting but I had some issues with it along the way.

The longer I think about the plot of Black Widow the more issues I seem to have with it.  There are a lot of things I am willing to accept in my reads.  I am reading fiction, after all.  But, I do have my limits and here’s are the major issues I can’t or am unwilling to accept about this read:

  1. Kamii is described as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in her area which leads me to believe she is both intelligent and shrewd.  I would also suspect and expect someone in her position to be quite wary which leads me to my first real issue with this read.  How in hell does a woman such as Kamii begin spilling all her sexual wants and desires almost immediately to a complete and total stranger?  Oh sure, the two do become friends but there is an awful lot of intimate sharing going on in an implausibly short amount of time. 
  2. I can totally accept the whole idea of becoming a member of an exclusive sex club.  What I can’t figure out is how a woman like Kamii who has admittedly NEVER engaged in anything sexually wild and daring outside of her fantasy world so easily jumps into threesomes, foursomes, girl on girl, and some light BDSM play.  For me, this plot point was a bit like saying I’ve always dreamed of base jumping and the next day you are jumping from Meru Peak in the Himalayan Mountains.  Yeah, I looked it up, this is one of the seven most extreme locations for base jumping in the world.  You see my point???
  3. In addition to the whole Kamii and Preston coming together, there is a secondary plot line involving a mystery killer.  I have very often enjoyed books with a thinish mystery plot line but this one is paper thin.  I will not reveal here who the big bad is but most readers will figure it out very quickly and not be at all surprised by the big reveal at the end.

While I get that the above seems highly critical and extremely negative, it isn’t all I have to say about this book.  There are things I did like about this read.  Here’s the skinny:

  1. Even with the speed of light development of friendship between Kamii and Becca, I liked Becca and how she worked to help Kamii overcome some of the tremendous loneliness in her life.  Quick development is the name of the game here with Becca also forming a similarly quick and intimate friendship with Preston. 
  2. Bridge!  Bridge is one hell of a club and with the added bonus of total anonymity and masks, the sex is all the hotter.  Once Kamii decides she is going to fulfill her fantasies, she goes big and then goes home. . . totally and completely sated.  The sex certainly doesn’t overtake the book but it is a large part of the read.  Though the sex is supposed to be anonymous, Preston totally knows who Kamii is and becomes a bit more attached to her each time he is with her.  Though Kamii doesn’t know it is Preston she is having sex with, she does know that each time with him makes her feel safer, freer, more secure, and happier than she has been in a very long time.  In this way, the sex really is the conduit for the feels that develop between Preston and Kamii. 

The Bottom Line:  As you can see, I had some big issues with Black Widow which kept me from truly liking this read.  There are certainly some good things about this read but in the end, I found the negative outweighed the positive.  In addition to the major issues, there are some minor issues as well including some glaring word choice errors, more than a few “what the actual hell?” moments, and some loose ends that never really got tied up.  While I would generally call it quits on a series after issues like this, I find myself willing to give the second book a try with the hope that it has seen better editing and some of the kinks inevitably found in a first book have been worked out.

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Review: After the Hurt by Shana Gray

After the Hurt

Title: After the Hurt Author: Shana Gray Format: ebook, 246 pages Published: March 29, 2016 by Loveswept ISBN: 1101965150

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Pepper Chapman refuses to throw in the towel. Six months ago, she made the biggest mistake of her life. Blinded by grief after her mom’s death, Pepper abandoned the man she loves. Now she wants a second chance at everything she gave up: strong hands driving her to ecstasy . . . a deep voice whispering naughty promises in her ear . . . the future they’d planned since they were teenagers. So Pepper comes home looking for forgiveness, ready for a new beginning—if he’s willing to give her a shot.   
Retired MMA star Tank Sherman may be used to low blows, but Pepper’s emotional sucker punch left him reeling. Trying to ignore the pain and forget the pleasure of her body beneath his, Tank is prepared to ring the final bell on their relationship. Then Pepper shows up out of the blue, radiating pure sex. But Tank won’t let himself get hurt again, and that means resisting the heat that still burns between them. Because if he takes Pepper back, he knows he’ll never be able to let her go again.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review:

Sometimes, life just keeps on kicking you while you’re down and no amount of love and support is going to pull you through.  For Pepper Chapman, life didn’t just kick her, it backed up and took a running start.  When she just couldn’t take anymore, Pepper left her long-term boyfriend and the home and business they were building together.  For six months, Pepper has lived and worked in Bali with no connection and no contact with her old life.  Needless to say, walking back into her life and reclaiming what she left behind isn’t going to be easy.

Tank Sherman has dealt with some heavy blows in his life but the loss of his one true love, Pepper has left him at a total loss.  Without even so much as a goodbye, Pepper left him and their budding business high and dry.  Left with the choice of soldiering on alone or giving up completely, Tank opted for the former and has spent the last six months bringing he and Pepper’s dream to life.  The Octagon is not just a restaurant but a full service bar with an area reserved for regular, live music.  The menu – both the food and the wine – is excellent and varied and reflects both Tank and Pepper’s love of both.  Too bad only Tank has been around to see the success the Octagon has become. 

The night Pepper walks back into his life, Tank is both totally turned on and totally pissed off.  Once he accepted Pepper’s absence, Tank got on with life and closed his heart off to all comers.  With the exception of three disastrous dates with a crazy lady, Tank has avoided all romantic encounters.  Though he doesn’t want to admit it, he is still head over heels in love with Pepper but it is going to take more than a smoking hot body and some sweet talk to convince him of her newfound commitment to him and their shared life.

Pepper instantly recognizes Tank’s hurt and anger and accepts it for what it is, her damn fault.  She knew leaving Tank was a bad decision but she wasn’t good for him or even herself when she walked away.  Getting Tank and her old life back isn’t going to be easy but she decides the second she sees him, she is going to let her actions reinforce her words and prove to Tank that she really is back for good.  Pepper dives into the restaurant with both feet and makes her feelings for Tank explicitly clear both verbally and physically.  Being near him is a balm to her soul and she is willing to go the distance to prove herself. 

As it turns out, circumstances keep throwing the two closer and closer together and it takes very little time for Tank to admit what’s in his heart.  Before being a restaurateur, Tank was an MMA fighter which brought him great success, loads of fans, and some serious haters.  With his personal life already in turmoil Tank doesn’t have much room for more but more, there is.  First, there is the break in to Pepper’s loft apartment, then there’s the creepy dude watching Tank and Pepper from the street, and then there’s the constant feeling of being unsettled, as if something is always just the tiniest bit off kilter.  As you might well expect, everything comes to a head all at the same time which means decisions and choices must be made quickly if everything and everyone is going to come through all the drama unscathed.

The Bottom Line:  After the Hurt isn’t a hard read by any means and I was able to get through it very quickly as most readers will.  It’s a good read but there are some issues throughout including why Pepper and Tank don’t have “the talk” about her absence far sooner than they do, how no one but Tank and his sister seem to know Pepper despite her having lived in the area for years and years, the somewhat awkward encounters, and the cheesy names.  There are no glaring errors in this read and I liked it but it isn’t something I got overly excited about.  In fact, it has been just a week since I finished the book and as I write my review, I found myself having to really look back to be reminded of some of the bigger moments.  There isn’t anything new under the sun here but After the Hurt can still go on your TBR, just not so much near the top.

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Review: Cliff’s Edge (Book #7: Willow Springs Ranch Series) by Laura Harner

Cliff's Edge

Title: Cliff’s Edge Series: Book #7: Willow Springs Ranch Author: Laura Harner Format: ebook, 115 pages Published: April 22, 2015 by Hot Corner Press ISBN13: 9781941841013

Purple Goodreads

Assigned to shore duty for his final tour before retirement and without Ryan to anchor him, Cliff’s restlessness leads him to a local club and hands-on research that leaves him in a compromising position and a witness to murder—signaling the abrupt end of his Navy career. Needing a place to lay low and lick his wounds, Cliff visits his old friends at the Willow Springs Ranch while he considers making cowboy his new job title.  After six long months on deployment, Rhino returns to San Diego—only to discover Cliff’s gone dark and the unlikely words ‘poor judgment’ hanging in the air. Despite the offer of a prestigious assignment, Ryan opts to track down his best friend first and finds him at the WSR…along with more questions than he ever expected. With the most coveted orders for a SEAL dangling, twenty years of service under his belt, and Cliff determined to move on without him, decisions must be made.  Ryan is certain he has the perfect solution going forward, but Cliff knows he must face the fallout of his actions alone—and the one thing he’s determined to do is protect Ryan from making the biggest mistake of his career—even if it costs Cliff everything. You know what they say—the only easy day was yesterday.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

After reading the entire Willow Springs Ranch series twice, I can safely say that both times through, Cliff’s Edge was and still is my favorite read.  From beginning to end, Cliff’s Edge satisfied me on every level but the real highlight of the read are Cliff and Ryan. 

For twenty years, Cliff and Ryan have been partners in crime, so to speak.  They have gone through military training together, they have gone on dark ops missions together, survived at least one marriage and divorce together, and put up with the constant teasing of their teammates about being an old married couple.  In so many ways, the teasing is beyond accurate but it isn’t until Ryan thinks he may lose Cliff forever that he begins to really assess what that designation might mean.

After a misstep that has cost Cliff his career in the military, he escapes to the Willow Springs Ranch to sort out his thoughts and decide what it is he wants for his future.  When he left, Cliff had no way to contact Ryan and really had no intention of doing so.  If Cliff’s career is over, he certainly isn’t going to bring his best friend down with him so leaving was really the best for both of them.  After twenty years, Cliff should have known better.  When one seriously pissed off Ryan literally swings down from the rafters at the WSR, Cliff is in for an ass-chewing like he has never experienced. 

Once Ryan calms down and is ready to listen to Cliff’s story, he understands his old friend’s reasoning but warns Cliff there won’t be a repeat of the running away incident.  Furthermore, there won’t be any going at it alone and whatever consequences Cliff is facing, Ryan will be by his side.  Outwardly, Cliff agrees to Ryan conditions but he still has no intention of dragging Ryan through the mud with him.  Because of Cliff’s actions, he is a part of an ongoing investigation that, if involved, could bring Ryan’s career to an end as well.  Until he is called back into the investigation, Cliff is content to spend his time at WSR with Ryan. 

After twenty years, Ryan is more convinced than ever that his one and only has been by his side for the last twenty years and if he can convince Cliff of the rightness of them as a couple then they can deal with everything as they always have, together.  Cliff is straight-up, totally gay but Ryan has always leaned a bit more toward women than men.  Make no mistake, Ryan has considered what it would be like to be with Cliff in that way but has never acted on his thoughts until now.  Cliff certainly enjoys the action he’s getting from and giving to Ryan but he is also beyond worried that what they are doing physically will ruin twenty years of friendship.  But, for the time being, Cliff will find a way to suffer through the phenomenal sex with Ryan.

As you may well expect, the road to the HEA isn’t easy and, in fact it gets quite dangerous.  What two better men to send into the fray than two deadly Navy SEALs who have spent the bulk of their lives fighting side by side??  That’s right, there aren’t two better men 🙂  Yet again, Cliff and Ryan face and nullify the danger but what they discover is that the immediate danger is just that, immediate and there is something even more sinister lurking in the shadows. 

The Bottom Line:  I’ve read it twice and I’m going to read it again!!  Cliff’s Edge has everything I love in a book!!  There’s hot men, hot sex, just the right amount of danger and drama, and the promise of more to come.  Cliff and Ryan are strong, sexy, courageous, honorable, and did I mention, sexy??  In so many ways, they remind me of Cass and Ty, two men who are partners in every way.  Though their path will eventually lead them away from the WSR, Cliff and Ryan’s story isn’t over and Harner clearly isn’t done with this particular genre.  YAY FOR ME!!!!

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Review: Whit’s End (Book #6: Willow Springs Ranch Series) by Laura Harner

Whit's End

Title: Whit’s End Series: Book #6: Willow Springs Ranch Author: Laura Harner Format: ebook, 126 pages Published: August 29, 2014 by Smashwords Edition ISBN13: 9781937252885

Purple Goodreads

When his three-day marriage ends in an annulment, country music sensation Brody Kent finds himself on the run from paparazzi intent on discovering why. Seeking shelter with his old friend at the Willow Springs Ranch might not be his wisest choice, considering the place is crawling with gay cowboys, but he needs someone he can trust and time alone to look for the joy that’s been missing from his music. Although no one should know of his travel plans, before he can make the turn to relative safety, Brody’s run off the road by a rogue reporter determined to get a scoop. A very different cowboy rides to his rescue…and Brody can’t help but wonder, well, a lot of things.  The men at the WSR might work hard and play harder, but as the long-awaited Ranch Quest approaches, ranch hand Whit Truman needs to focus on preparing to host the sick children and not the oh-so-sexy voice from his past due to arrive at any minute. Not that the singer would have any reason to remember his brother’s childhood friend. When a desert storm postpones the event by a week, Whit takes some much-needed time off, only to stumble upon the object of his avoidance in a most surprising place. The walking, talking grown-up version of his teenage crush isn’t anything like the arrogant megastar Brody plays onstage—most of the time. That unexpected vulnerability could prove to be Whit’s undoing, as he vows to do everything in his power to protect Brody…if he doesn’t kill him first.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Brody Kent has spent the bulk of his life living his life in the public eye.  As a country music sensation, Brody’s every move, every word, and every action is chronicled by the press.  For many years, Brody was OK with the constant attention but, of late, the attention hasn’t been good and Brody needs some time to regroup and to do that, he has to escape.  With the help of his old friend, Cass, Brody makes his way toward the Willow Springs Ranch.

Whit has been at the WSR for a lot years and has no intention of ever leaving.  Though he loves the ranch and will continue working there, he wants a place of his own and with Cass’s help, that has become possible.  The cabin is small and it will take a very long time to get the land and his home the way he wants it, but Whit is more than willing to put in the time, effort, and money.  For the time being, his home away from the WSR is just right for one but could accommodate two if the need arose.  Turns out, the weather is just in the mood to have Whit’s home accommodate two. 

The second they get safely out of the weather and into Whit’s tiny cabin, the attraction between Whit and Brody is evident.  Whit has no problem giving into the attraction as long as Brody is willing to go the distance.  Whit has no interest in being another of Brody’s one night stands.  Brody clearly and freely admits to being bisexual in private but if the world were to discover his attraction to men, it would likely ruin his career.  Make no mistake, he wants to give into his attraction to Whit but his life is already such a mess that he just can’t risk any further scandal or controversy.  For the time being, Brody is safe with Whit and once the weather passes, he’ll be able to take up residence at the WSR.

Life at the WSR is crazier than normal with the preparations for Ranch Quest in full swing.  Cass knows he and his men can protect Brody and his whereabouts under normal circumstances but with all the activity, Cass feels it’s best to have Whit remain by Brody’s side.  The attraction between the men continues to grow but there is hesitation on both sides.  For the first time in years, Brody is able to write music again, he isn’t being hounded by the press on a regular basis, and he has found someone he is certain he can he happy with.  If only the world he lives in could accept the truth of Brody and his life. 

Whit has every intention of protecting Brody and as their relationship evolves into something real, he takes his duties all the more seriously.  Unfortunately, getting to an HEA isn’t going to be easy and it is going to require that Whit break Brody’s heart and cause him to question everything and everyone in his life.  If Brody can survive what he perceives to be the ultimate betrayal, he will be able to make his way back to Whit and to a life that is truly a happily ever after for them both.

The Bottom Line: With the major plot line of the series resolved in the previous read, Whit’s End comes back around to telling the story of just two people, Whit and Brody.  Whit has made the occasional appearance in previous installments of the series so it is appropriate that he finally get his own book.  Whit isn’t sad per se but he is looking for his forever and had no idea his forever would be in the form of a man he already has a history with.  There is some fine backstory in this read, some fine story in the present, and by the time you get to the end, a fine future for two incredibly deserving men.  Whit’s End is a an excellent rebound from the disaster that was Park’s Lot and gives me incredible hope for the future of the series.

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Spotlight: Kismet and Cartwheels (Book #5.5:Willow Springs Ranch Series) by Laura Harner

Kismet and Cartwheels

Title: Kismet and Cartwheels Series: Book #5.5: Willow Springs Ranch Author: Laura Harner Format: ebook, 50 pages Published: March 13, 2014 by Smashwords Edition ISBN13: 9781937252779

Purple Goodreads

For the free-spirited Park Williams, leaving the relative safety of the Willow Springs Ranch for a remote cabin near Flagstaff to spend some quality alone-time with his new boyfriend seems like a no-brainer. They can get to know each other while hiding away from the bad guys who may or may not be looking to kill his lover. At least it seems like a good idea right up until the minute he is standing on the front porch, with a man he’s known less than three weeks, and who spent two of those weeks in police custody. Oh shit.   Tanner Triplett is having a bad month. After two attempts on his life, he’s helped put his father and brother behind bars, lost his beloved ranch, and oh yeah…stepped out of the closet in a big way. But it remains to be seen if he’s in bigger danger from the men he’s agreed to testify against, or the golden-haired, cosmic-quoting devil trying to kill him with soy-gurt.

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Review: Park’s Lot (Book #5: Willow Springs Ranch Series) by Laura Harner

Park's Lot

Title: Park’s Lot Series: Book #5: Willow Springs Ranch Author: Laura Harner Format: Kindle Edition, 122 pages Published: February 19, 2014 by Hot Corner Press ASIN: B00IJOAQ3U

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When vegan, peace-loving, social do-gooder Park Williams stumbles across the half-dead cattle rancher who has been sabotaging the Willow Springs Ranch in the name of a homophobic militia group…there’s only one thing to do. Save his life, then share his tent. Waking to find the man’s dick pressed against his ass is just a bonus.  Tanner Triplett is in trouble. Not the your-brother-is-a-sociopathic-murderer-and-you’re-his-next-victim sort of trouble. Not even the your-father-is-trying-to-overthrow-the-federal-government-and-you’re-going-to-jail-for-helping kind of trouble. No…this is the sort of trouble that comes when you wake up with stranger’s dick in your hand. Holy fuck. How is he going to get out of this?  A sudden need to run for their lives ought to do it.   Determined to make amends, Tanner leads Park to the relative safety of the WSR, where the biggest danger should be from gun-wielding cowboys seeking revenge. Tanner hadn’t counted on sharing a room with the exotically beautiful Park or the danger to his heart when the carefully erected walls protecting his secret come tumbling down.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 2½/5 stars

My Review:

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again.  Every series has that one book that just doesn’t hold up to the rest of the series.  In the Willow Springs Ranch Series, that book is Park’s Lot.  Without reservation or hesitation, I can lay the blame for this squarely at one character’s feet, Park Williams. 

Park was introduced briefly in Hanging Chad as the social worker assigned to Chad’s case.  Chad’s case was so corrupt and wrong on so many levels that it became the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Along with all the other hurt and despair Park has seen as a social worker, he has decided to call it quits and move on to the next stage of his life.  Park’s Lot opens with Park and his two dogs taking off into the wild blue yonder where, as it turns out is just a few miles from the Willow Springs Ranch.  Park fully intends to spend two solid weeks living of the land (and protein bars) and being completely removed from all of civilization.  The unfortunate presence of one badly beaten and near-death Tanner Triplett throws a huge monkey wrench into those plans.

Tanner Triplett has had a truly shitty life and it sure doesn’t seem to be getting any better.  His father and brother are true believers in some pretty scary stuff and have spent their lives trying to convince Tanner of the rightness of their path.  Tanner’s family is so convinced that Tanner has spent the bulk of his life hiding his true nature from his family.  If his father and brother really knew about Tanner, they would kill him.  In fact, Tanner is pretty sure his current near-death status is a direct result of his brother’s attack.  What’s worse, if his body isn’t found, his brother is going to come after him again and this time, he’ll finish the job he started. 

When Park and his dogs find Tanner alone and hurt in the middle of the desert there is no question about helping him.  As circumstances play out, Park ends up taking Tanner to the WSR, the one place Tanner has been taught is an abomination and should be destroyed.  In fact, Tanner has played a part in more than one act of destruction against the WSR and fully expects the men who live at the ranch to instantly turn him over to the authorities.  What Tanner doesn’t expect is Park to vehemently come to his defense and for Cass and crew to not only take him in and help him but, be more than willing to listen to his story.  In fact, for the first time in his life, Tanner feels accepted for who he is and wants nothing more than to live his life as he chooses, according to his beliefs, and to make amends for his actions. 

As Tanner’s injuries heal his emotions also come into focus and he accepts his feelings for Park.  Park is adamant in his belief in Tanner’s goodness but it is going to take more than a few sweet words to convince Tanner of the truth.  The first step toward earning back his honor and self-respect is divulging everything he knows about his family’s plans for the WSR.  Though Tanner doesn’t know every detail, he knows enough to go to the authorities which will, in turn bring down a huge network of evil-doers, plotters, and schemers. 

The Bottom Line:  Park’s Lot brings to a close one of the major plot lines that has spanned several books in the Willow Springs Ranch series.  The resolution of this plot line is beyond satisfying and, along with Tanner, is the primary reason this read made it to 2½ stars for me.  Tanner isn’t the guy you think you’re going to like but once his story comes out, he becomes a far more likeable character.  His only flaw, for me, is his choice of partner.  Park is just a truly terrible character though I may be one of the few who feels that way.  There are just so many aspects to Park, his behavior, and manner that I never could get past.  Believe me, I tried.  I read the book twice and Park just never got better for me.  Of all the WSR men, Park is the most effeminate and doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the WSR cast and crew.  His most admirable quality is his devotion to Tanner and his dogs.  Yeah, that’s all I’ve got there.  As with most series, I won’t let one bad read turn me away from the rest of these reads and so, it is forward I shall go.

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Review: Hanging Chad (Book #4: Willow Springs Ranch Series) by Laura Harner

Hanging Chad

Title: Hanging Chad Series: Book #4: Willow Springs Ranch Author: Laura Harner Format: ebook, 113 pages Published: 2013 by Hot Corner Press ISBN13: 9781937252472

Purple Goodreads

For Chad Ollom, landing on the Willow Springs Ranch after his teaching career crashed and burned last year was a lesson in irony, considering he’d sworn off all things related to horses and cowboys after a near fatal fall as a child. Now with a new mission in life, Chad plans to bring critically ill children to the ranch for a special celebration.  Aging rodeo cowboy Jesse Duran lives life eight seconds at a time, and whether it’s broncos or men, it’s always been get on and get off before anyone gets hurt. When he’s required to take a break from the circuit and ends up on the WSR, the enticing ass of a stand-offish teacher turned contractor might just be enough challenge to keep him entertained for a week or two.  As attraction flares, personal boundaries start to crumble, and the lines between seducer and seduced begin to blur. When the series of on-going attacks against the WSR moves from sabotage to arson, Jesse steps up to help, but when Chad is forced to return to his past to face charges, the men of the WSR want to know if Jesse will stick or leave Chad hanging.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Chad Ollom has two skills, construction work and teaching.  After finishing his Master’s work, Chad thought his days of working construction were over then a whisper campaign over his sexual orientation derailed his career.  Though there was NO evidence against him, just a malicious rumor, Chad now finds himself unable to teach and working construction on the Willow Springs Ranch.  The WSR has become Chad’s sanctuary and everyone present knows, he isn’t interested.

Jesse Duran just loves a challenge and Chad Ollom is definitely a mountain that needs a good climbing.  With his rodeo career on hold and in the interest of helping an old friend, Jesse has made his way to the WSR.  With nothing but time on his hands and a willingness to work, Jesse quickly fits in with the cowboys and is warned, Chad is off limits.  Oh, Chad isn’t partnered with anyone but he has made it clear he isn’t interested in horses or cowboys.  In an instant, Jesse sets out to correct that situation and show the beautiful man just how good saving horses and riding cowboys can be 🙂

As fate would have it, Jesse and Chad are thrown together when Chad aggravates an old injury.  No one at the ranch is better at soothing injuries than a rodeo rider so Jesse jumps in to help Chad.  It doesn’t take long for the chemistry between the two to make itself known which inevitably leads to some naughty bits.  For a day or two, things are all sunshine and roses for the new couple but trouble is on the horizon.  Chad is called back to Flagstaff to face yet another trumped up charge and both he and Jesse get caught up in a dangerous scheme cooked up by the bigots at the neighboring ranch.  Amid all the drama and upheaval, both Jesse and Chad are forced to face some harsh truths, accept their situation, and acknowledge their true feelings for one another. 

The Bottom Line:  Hanging Chad isn’t just Jesse and Chad’s story but also a continuation of the big, ugly, dangerous drama that was introduced in Taking Chance.  The WSR and its inhabitants are clearly under attack and the attacks are becoming more serious as the series goes on.  Both Chad and Jesse are victims of the attacks and while the attacks are heinous they also propel the two men toward each other which is exactly where they are meant to be.  Though I can’t Chad and Jesse are my favorite characters in WSR series, I can say I liked their story and particularly how the series plot line is expanding through this couple.  As always, Harner includes characters from past reads which only serves to enhance the current read and create an evolution in these characters.  As with every other review this week, I’m out and on to the next book 🙂

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