Rating: 4 stars
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Nathan has been planning and saving for years to get his own horse. The day has finally arrived when he can take Tsarina out on the trails above his Colorado town, Tucker Springs. But when a motorcycle comes out of nowhere, spooking Tsarina and sending both of them falling, Nathan is left with a broken arm and leg, and facing a summer with no riding.
Ryan feels awful for scaring the horse and causing Nathan’s injury. He immediately offers to help with whatever Nathan needs and agrees to Nathan’s suggestion that Ryan ride Tsarina and keep her exercised while Nathan is off his feet. As the two men begin to spend more time together, a friendship builds between them, which soon leads to attraction.
Neither man is looking for a relationship. Nathan has been burned twice by bad boyfriends and is determined to have no more serious commitments for a while. And Ryan is a loner, moving from place to place and never settling. So long term relationships are not for him either. But the heart doesn’t always listen to the head, and the guys find themselves falling hard for each other despite their intentions. Now they must decide if they will let their determination not to have commitment get in the way of what could be a wonderful connection.
After the Fall is the sixth installment of the Tucker Springs series, a series set in a Colorado town and co-written by Witt, Heidi Cullinan, and Marie Sexton. Each book focuses on different characters within the town. In this case it features Nathan, who is the assistant to acupuncturist Michael (whom we met in When Nerves End), and Ryan, who is a new character. Both are likable guys, sweet and friendly and pretty easy going. While Nathan’s first instinct is anger that Ryan scared the horse and ruined his summer, he quickly gets over it, even before he starts falling for Ryan. And Ryan is just the right mix of caring and nurturing with Nathan, while still giving him the independence he needs as he figures out how to navigate multiple casts and crutches. Both have some issues in their past that make them wary about getting into anything serious, but this book is pretty low on the angst. Mostly it is two nice guys who hang out a lot, begin to really like each other, have hot sex, and realize they have fallen for each other. I did wish for a little something more here. Maybe some more intensity, some more conflict, some more background into Nathan and Ryan’s past and how it is affecting them. As it is, the story is very nice and easy, but missing a little bit of a spark for me.
My only other issue here was some confusion on a side character, Nathan’s roommate Brad. When he is first introduced, we learn that Brad and his boyfriend are having problems and Brad is living with Nathan while they work them out. I was confused from the start because these guys are introduced as if we are supposed to know them and their back stories already. So I immediately went searching through my other reviews to figure out if they were characters we had already met. Then I found that Adam’s ex-boyfriend and tormenter in Dirty Laundry was Brad and I was even more confused. Because this Brad is nothing like that one. And I was wondering when he got this long-time boyfriend (along with a total personality transplant). At that point, I asked around a bit and learned from Witt that this is a different Brad. So on one hand better, because otherwise the character would be totally inconsistent from book to book. But still an issue because to me this is a mistake of series continuity, to have two side characters with the same name. I have no idea how this happened, but I feel like it is a failure in the series writing and editing to let something like this go by. Now to be honest, if I hadn’t started down the path of trying to figure out if we had met these guys before, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the same names. But as it was I found it distracting throughout the book as I tried to figure out what was going on and think this is something that should have been caught.
But overall I liked this one. Like I said, it is light on the angst and intensity. Just a nice story of two likable guys who fall for one another along with some nice scenes of horseback riding and Tsarina for the horse lovers. I am continuing to enjoy this series and look forward to more.