Roy Unger is greenhorn running from his past. He’s gotten a ranch job and works hard to prove himself every day. Since leaving home in a hurry, he’s come to realize that this job is the only thing standing between him and starvation. He isn’t going to mess it up, no matter how much Brad might drive him to distraction.
Brad has been around the block more than once. He’s a cowboy through and through, complete with a failed rodeo career and a love life that could only be described as hopeless. He’s worked hard and kept his head down. Roy makes him want more, but Brad has come to realize that what he wants isn’t what he gets.
Brad knows what desperation feels like and how important it is to fit in. When he decides to help Roy get over his fear of horses, the two men spend more time together, leading Roy to share confidences about his troubled past. Listening builds trust, which shifts into so much more. But before they can have any sort of future, they need to deal with Roy’s past, which could ruin everything.
I found this to be a wonderful slow-paced cowboy romance. While the world and ranch have been set up in the two previous books in this series this actual story and the two heroes totally stand alone and so I strongly feel this story can be picked up and read by itself. I really enjoyed how both Brad and Roy’s characters were multi-faceted. This helped me feel like they were more realistic. I thought the author did an awesome job making both Brad and Roy feel fresh, relatable but also new to me and I loved this.
I’m not keen to delve too deeply into Roy’s past and his troubles, as I found they were different enough it was quite a pleasant surprise when I worked them out while reading the book and I’d hate to spoil that for other readers. Mostly I feel I want to commend the author for making what could have been very tried-and-true, almost trope-like problems turn very slightly and actually end up being something quite different and fresh. I also really appreciated the patience and understanding Brad had for these problems. Instead of just pushing Roy or guilting him into “fixing” everything, Brad slowly coaxed Roy into explaining everything in greater detail and then Brad supported Roy and helped him help himself. I found that really lovely and a good way for the men to become friends and slowly grow something deeper between them.
Readers looking for something intensely erotic or really fast-paced probably won’t find this romance suits their needs, but I personally felt the slower pace really matched both the character’s needs and the situation they were in. A hot and torrid affair wouldn’t have had either man end up happy and so I loved watching them really build something special between them. I’m also curious as to whether one of the other strong secondary characters (Jessup) might end up being the main character in one of the upcoming stories as he certainly seemed to be interesting and complicated enough that I feel perhaps the author was gently foreshadowing something with that brief snippet of storyline.
With a lovely pace, multi-layered and complicated characters and a lovely slow burn to the romance this was a great story and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m eagerly waiting in hope for future installments.