wild trailRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

Mack Garrett left his job in law enforcement to come work on his grandfather’s ranch. He loves life on the dude ranch where he helps take care of guests and gets to work with his two best friends. When a bridal party checks in for the week, Mack finds he can’t take his eyes off the bride’s brother, Wes Bentley.

Wes isn’t much for dirt and horses, but he would do anything for his sister, and that includes a week at a dude ranch in lieu of a bridal shower. But the hot and sexy cowboy does make the trip a lot easier. Wes flirts with Mac and makes his interest known. At first Mack seems kind of gruff, but it doesn’t take long before Mack gives in to temptation. They guys only have a week together, however, so both know it can only be a vacation fling.

When the trip is over, however, neither man is fully ready to let things end between them. But they are living totally different lives. Wes is an actor who still has dreams of making it big. And Mack is focused on life on the ranch, as well as working on his dreams to turn the town into a bigger tourist destination. Now these two men who had planned on only a casual hookup need to figure out if there is a way to make things work together long term.

Wild Trail is the first book in A.M. Arthur’s new Clean Slate Ranch series and it is off to a great start. I am not always a big western fan, but I really loved this story and really enjoyed Mac and Wes together. They are a fun opposites attract pair, with the gruff and burly Mac paired with the flirty and feisty Wes. I enjoyed seeing these guys get to know one another during Wes’ time at the ranch, and I really appreciated that Arthur extends the story to show them building a real connection after it is over. It would have been easy (and all too common) to tie everything up after a week’s fling, but instead Arthur takes the relationship deeper and shows how these guys are able to make things work in real life once the trip is over. Their connection was romantic and sexy and we are left with things really solid between them.

The first part of the book focuses on the time on Clean Slate Ranch. I enjoyed seeing the little details about life on the ranch from both Mac’s perspective as an employee and Wes’ as a tourist. We get lots of great scenes of riding, camping, and the beautiful wilderness. The second part of the book focuses on the building of their relationship in the aftermath, as well as Mac’s new project that aims to bring more tourism into the town. I don’t want to get into too much detail because it is kind of a surprise, but it really sets up some nice directions for the series to go in the future and gives us a bit of suspense, as well as a more well rounded storyline.

In addition to our MCs, we get to spend time with Mac’s friends and Wes’ friends and family. I have a few guesses as to how these folks will end up pairing up in future books and I am looking forward to their stories. At times I feel like Arthur spends too much focus on these side characters and developing their backstories when they are not the focus of this book. But honestly, this is something I have noticed in other series as well so I think it is just part of the author’s style.

Overall I really enjoyed this one and found it a great start to the new series. There seem to be a lot of avenues where things can go from here and all of them have me intrigued. So if you like some opposites attract, particularly in a western setting, definitely check out Wild Trail.

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