Some people call Lane Bell a great bull fighter, but some days Lane thinks of himself as a rodeo clown. He knows about piling on damage, both physically and emotionally, and Lane has been on the run for many years. After his twin brother died, Lane felt he lost his other half, and then felt he felt he lost his best friend, the forever love of his life, Denver Reed. Lane has always wanted to be with Denver, but after only one kiss their lives were forever changed. Now, after an epic public meltdown, Lane finds himself standing outside county jail with Denver his only ride out of town.
Denver Reed traded his dreams of being a champion bull rider to stay in small town Montana. He never had a family and Lane’s family took him in as one of their own. Denver will do anything and everything to help Lane’s family’s ranch survive and thrive. Denver knows about denying the things he wants and Lane is at the top of that list. Denver never even had a chance to sort out his feelings for Lane before tragedy was upon them and then Lane was gone. Lane doesn’t think Denver is interested in men or interested in him. Denver can’t survive the heartache when Lane inevitably leaves again. The men have always been destined to be together and it’s going to take some work from both of them to settle into the life they always dreamed of with each other.
This book opens the next chapter of the Down Home series with Down and Dirty, following the first book in the series, Down Low. Lane was introduced in the first book as Cal’s rodeo buddy and while Lane and Denver’s relationship does stand alone to this story, I did like already having read the first book and being familiar with this world.
Lane loves the life of the rodeo but his body has been reaching the limits of the amount of physical abuse it can take. Lane knows he can’t chase bulls down forever as he exists on pain killers and adrenaline, but he knows he needs to protect the riders and that is part of his story. Lane has a lot of trauma surrounding the death of his brother and then leaving his family home and also leaving Denver. Lane can never forget about Denver, nothing and no one will ever compare to him, but Lane thinks there is no chance for them. Denver’s life took a different direction when he gave up bull riding and now helps run Lane’s family’s ranch. Lane is a part of him, but the men have so much to sort through. And there’s the story.
These men belong together, but there is so much history and hurt standing between them. They are stubborn and have no idea how to talk to each other and they both have trauma that has not been processed and even by the end of the book, I felt they needed more direct dealing with their trauma.
The chemistry between the men is written well from the first time they are on page together all the way through the book, as the fire between them blazes. It’s all encompassing from them physically wanting each other to them just needing to be together because they breathe easier around the other.
This book is similar to the first in the sense that we have Lane on the rodeo circuit, injured, and with nowhere to go but to return home, which is similar to Cal’s story. There was a background storyline between Denver and a person close to the family and I never felt like I got the full story of what went on there and I would have liked that as it was pivotal to Lane and Denver’s story.
Lane and Denver deal with deep issues, but are a truly inevitable couple. For two cowboys facing down their past and looking to their future, check out Down and Dirty.