Bradley Ellesbury was born in the small rural town of Foster Creek, but then was shipped off to a Paris boarding school by his father when the man found out Bradley was gay. That has made him bitter, childish, and selfish. When his father dies, Bradley learns he cannot sell the family ranch. In addition, if the foreman running the place, Jace Cornielle, leaves because of Bradley, he will lose the entirety of his multi-million dollar inheritance. Talk about crappy parents who rule beyond the grave!
Naturally, the rough-stock cowboy and the pampered younger man butt heads from the first moment and they hate each other with fierceness. Even though both of them secretly lust after the other. Bradley has to find his own way and apologize for being an ass to his best friend Galen, and Jace has problems with his adopted son Sam and Sam’s biological father. Then naturally there’s a medical emergency to put people’s feelings into perspective. That’s about the gist of it plot-wise.
I’m finding it hard to review this book. Overall there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. Yet I could never get into the story, feel for the men, or care what became of them.
The first reason is the characters themselves. Bradley is indeed a selfish brat and, though he claims to be the better man, Jace isn’t any better. Throughout the story Jace referred to himself as mature, as opposed to Bradley, but he often wasn’t. Despite the age difference (about 10 years), they are awfully alike. Neither man can hold onto an adult conversation, their tempers flare over the smallest thing, and the insane attraction between them is just that, insane, with no foundation or point to it. I couldn’t understand where this insta-lust came from. It made no sense.
The only time either man was tolerable, well mostly Jace, was when he was with Sam, his adopted teenage son. Bradley, on the other hand…. I didn’t like him one bit. He was everything a thirty-year old man shouldn’t be. He had tantrums, he said and did whatever he wanted without a single thought to the feelings of others, and he was completely self-obsessed. Every time he didn’t get what he wanted, he pouted. Yeah, he pouted! Like a kid.
Even when the story ended, and both men acted like everything was finally okay and they were both mature and capable of commitment, there’s no chance these two would make it as a couple for the long haul. Nothing was resolved. The only thing they could do right was sex, and we had to wait for the last third of the book for that!
The second reason why I couldn’t get into this story was the language. It felt unrealistic to me, the talking about their feelings, pestering one another about their relationships, etc. especially between brothers and straight best friends. In a book with this much dialogue, a lot of it should have been sensible and true, but… only perhaps 10 percent felt realistic and possible.
The themes here are change and growth. Yet I saw only glimpses of those, and then they were gone. The ending was cheesy and rosy, and every rough edge was smoothed over by kinky sex. In fact, the sex scenes were the only parts of this book I liked. Except for Sam and his friend Chad. Sam is actually far more grown up than either of the main heroes. Bradley is super infantile (he comes to apologize and declare his love, but at the same time dismissing Jace’s son because they’re not flesh-and-blood? No, just no) and Jace is hypocrite, claiming to be more mature and less infantile—when he’s exactly the same. Communication is a two-way street. While I got Bradley’s tight-lipped quality, I kept waiting for Jace to do or say something to prove he really was the bigger man. But no.
Two men who cannot communicate very well, let alone put their childish behavior behind them, have very little future together. Yet the end patches everything up with a neat little bow. Super sex to heal all wounds? I wasn’t buying it. At least in this tale the cowboys actually did some cowboy work around the ranch, instead of just walking around in tight jeans and a Stetson, which was one of the few bright spots.
I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this, as there are better M/M books out there. But that said, this wasn’t a total loss. I imagine some readers will find this tale a nice read, so I’ll let you all be the judge of this for yourselves.