Perry Jameson is down on his luck, and after a disaster at his last job, is taking a chance by showing up at Wright Stables to apply for the job of ranch manager. His no nonsense attitude wins him the job, and he jumps in with both feet determined to do the job well and bring the place back to its former glory. He works hard and takes pride in it. But when the owners’ grandson shows up, Perry knows he’s got trouble on his hands.
Cory Matthews is a reining champion and spends most of his year on the circuit competing. He loves coming home to his grandparents’ ranch, but he doesn’t think he wants to put down roots. Until he shows up and the new ranch manager seems to be taking over Cory’s rightful spot as heir. The two men butt heads constantly, but the attraction is simmering just below the surface. They may want each other, but they don’t get along.
As time progresses, they start to see a different side of each other. And Cory is determined to have Perry for his own, despite Perry’s repeated refusals. A bet leads to a date, and they eventually fall into bed. But even that doesn’t turn out like they expect in the light of day. Will these two men ever get themselves sorted out and see what is right in front of them?
I came away from this one feeling a little bit unsatisfied. The story was solid, and the writing was good, but I had a lot of trouble connecting to the MCs. I didn’t feel their connection to one another at all. I had absolutely no idea what Perry saw in Cory. I ended up feeling detached from their romance, even as I liked the way the plot developed.
Perry has had some hard knocks, but he’s not going to let it get him down. When he gets the job at Wright Stables, he’s beyond relieved. He knows he can do a good job, and is more than determined to do it to the best of his ability. I really liked Perry. I understood where he was coming from and why the events of his past made him wary. What I couldn’t understand is why he would give Cory the time of day, and it was hard for me to watch him get involved with Cory when I didn’t think they fit.
Cory was harder to like, but what I thought the author did really well is show his age. He’s young, he’s a bit petulant, and he’s a star on the reining circuit. This all combined gives him a bit of big head, and that was wonderfully done here. As he comes back home and sets his sights on Perry, Cory changes and grows. But it didn’t feel completely real to me, and I had trouble with some of his changes. On top of that, the author gave him layers that we didn’t get to see hints of before they were revealed, so to me, they felt like they came out of the blue. If we got to see more of his true personality under his swagger, or got to see hints of who he truly was and what he really wanted, it would have been easier for me to accept. As it was, it felt a little forced.
The plot was really well done, the pacing was great, and I did like where the author took the story as a whole. But I definitely struggled with the relationship of the MCs, and as I said, I just didn’t feel their connection. I just didn’t get why they were together. At the very end, they made sense, but pretty much throughout the whole book, I was questioning why Perry would get involved with Cory at all. The attraction between them wasn’t enough.
This was a nice story, but it didn’t really resonate with me. I liked the way the author portrayed life on the ranch, and the reining circuit, but the relationship left something to be desired.