Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Talked into buying a horse at a claiming raise, rising television star Wesley Tremayne finds himself the spokesperson of the venture. It wouldn’t be a problem except Wes can’t keep his eyes off of Mister Twister’s trainer, Evan. Wes isn’t out. In fact, the world thinks he is dating his co-star Julia. Only they know the truth.
Evan Taylor loves his job and loves his horses. One thing he does not love is Hollywood and the people who live in the spotlight there. So, regardless of the man’s beauty, Evan is inclined to dislike Wesley on merits. Besides, Evan has Gary, at least that’s what he tells himself. After Gary leaves to film one of his documentaries, leaving a mysterious request about one of the horses, Evan is faced with Wesley Tremayne.
Wesley spends hours then days at the training track, learning everything he can about the horses, his horse, and the races. Spending so much time with Evan is confusing. Wesley wants Evan, wants things he thinks he shouldn’t want, but he knows about Gary and refuses to make a move while Gary is in the picture.
When Wes shows up for a race several days early, the attraction between them is undeniable, but obstacles stand in their way. When they finally work through their issues, reality threatens to take them under. Someone is after Evan’s barn and will stop at nothing to get it. At the same time, Wes is confronted with his biggest fear, coming out in Hollywood and all of the repercussions that may entail. With their lives falling apart, the only thing that seems to make sense is their relationship.
I love when an author thinks outside the box, writes a story that is both exciting and refreshing. It holds my attention and keeps me interested. That’s exactly what Lynley did with this book. Out of the Gate is about horseracing. Now I’m certain none of you know this, but I live not far from one of the South’s most popular race tracks, and I love it. Maybe not so much the gambling, I really don’t get the attraction, but the feel of the track. The ambiance. The thrill of the race. The heart pounding, breathtaking excitement of the atmosphere when you walk into the arena. That, my dears, is what this author presents in this story. The hope and excitement of a new day, of a new race, of a new love.
This story was a slow-go for me. There is a lot of foundation building in the first half of this book. It’s not bad and it’s really not boring, but it’s slow. In the first half of the book, we learn of Wes’ struggle with who he is and what he wants. He loves his career and never expected to love anything more. But then he meets Evan and his world changes. Evan is probably my favorite part of this story. He’s a good guy. His life is simple save for the fact he lives with a jerk. Evan’s past is the biggest part of who he is, but we don’t learn of it until closer to the end of the story, although there are some pieces I was able to pick up along the way. His past shapes who he is, especially with whom he is in a relationship. I love his journey of trust and healing with Wes. It’s not easy and there are obstacles that they have to overcome, but in the end it’s very satisfying.
And speaking of obstacles. Holy Cow. Seriously, guys, there was a time that I was certain there would never be a silver lining for this couple. Geez. One thing after another. First, owners are taking their horses from Evan’s stables with no explanation. Then comes Wes’ drama of will he/won’t he come out and all of the mayhem that ensues with that. Plus Evan and Wes have to face the asshole who is Gary. I’ll be honest here, I didn’t like Gary from the beginning he’s a selfish jerk, but his role in the story… ugh! Oh, and let’s not forget Wes’ friends, half of his struggle with maybe/maybe-not coming out has to do with their judgment. Honestly, by the end, I was sure that the entire cast was heading for certain disaster, but Lynley restored my faith in her storytelling, romance wielding abilities by the end.
One thing I love about this author is her ability to captivate me. Her writing is engaging and constant. She tells a story that is both relatable and allows me to dive into the fantasy that is romantic fiction. I enjoyed the romance here so much. The slow build that ignites a raging fire. It’s very well presented. There’s also a suspenseful mystery element to this story that, for the most part, I enjoyed. It’s very creative and engrossing. Lynley presents the emotions through words in a way that is breathtaking. That’s what I like most about it. My one complaint about the mystery is that it almost felt like an afterthought. There are a few mentions throughout the story that hint to something being off, but it’s not really until the last quarter of the book that we start seeing that there’s an honest-to-God suspense-filled mystery in this book.
There’s also a question of did he or didn’t he. Evan is clearly in a relationship, although a very dysfunctional one, at the beginning of this story. In fact, he’s technically in the relationship throughout most of the story. He “breaks up” with Gary very informally. There is some debate as to whether Evan technically cheats or not. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of cheaters in my romance and this one is a tossup. I can see where it could go either way. In the end, I chose to opt for the rainbows and glitter and happy days because I like these guys and I really like Evan. And on the flip side, I really didn’t like Gary. It is definitely up to the individual reader.
And I do have one question. What in the world happened to Brent? If you look at the connections between Wes and Evan, you’d see that without Brent, they never would have met. Brent is one of Evan’s oldest friends—dating back to middle school, and he’s one of Wes’ co-stars. He just sort of disappears about a quarter way through the book and never shows up again. He’s supposedly besties with Evan and the closest friend, next to Julia, that Wes has. So one, why wasn’t he informed of his gay BFF and his co-star’s relationship? And where the heck did he go?
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It’s engaging and exciting. The reality of the story is spot on and the romance is both intense and sweet. I have a few quibbles, but in the end, the good far outweighs the not as good. I definitely recommend Out of the Gate by E.M. Lynley.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.