Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novel

 

As a teen, Colt Stonebraker fell in love with Mason Hayes. But when Mason’s father found out, he fired Colt’s mother and kicked their family off the ranch. Colt tried to keep in touch, tried to get Mason’s side of the story, but when he was met with nothing but silence, he gave up hope. Now, twenty years later, an old friend calls with a security job for Colt and his brothers. Someone has been making death threats against Mason, and though Colt’s first instinct is to turn down the job, the Stonebraker brothers take it on and head back to the ranch where they once lived.

Mason never could stand up to his father, but the old man is gone and he’s now running the ranch as he always wanted. He’s had his fair share of detractors for the changes he’s made, especially for revoking the hunting leases and turning the ranch into a horse sanctuary. Mason’s sure the threats aren’t as serious as they seem, and he certainly doesn’t want Colt and his brother’s back on the ranch. After being sent away, he tried to keep in touch with Colt, but Colt ghosted him completely.

The two men have serious tension between them and, as the days progress, they’re no closer to communicating. The threats amp up and get worse, even as most of them are annoying more than anything else. But the serious ones are life threatening. Though the chemistry between Colt and Mason is as strong as ever, they can’t seem to get out of their own way. Eventually, heated tempers lead to the discussion that has been a long time coming, and Colt and Mason rekindle the romance they had as teens, even if it’s not the smartest thing to do. Mason is Colt’s client after all, and Colt can hardly be objective when he’s in love with his protectee. However, with the threat to Mason still at large, it means Colt has a chance to stick around longer. But when things go from bad to worse, Mason’s life is on the line. Now that they’ve found their way back to one another, Colt is determined to save the day so that he doesn’t lose Mason for good.

L.C. Chase is a favorite author of mine and I was excited to dive into this book. I was doubly delighted to find out that this is the first in a series, with more for these characters to come. I’m always a sucker for second chance romances, and while this book had a few issues for me, I really enjoyed it.

Both Colt and Mason are complex, well drawn characters who practically leap off the page with their realness. They’ve been hurt, seemingly by each other, but in the years that have passed they’ve grown into good hearted men. Mason’s transformation is perhaps a bit more drastic, as he was a scared and kowtowed kid who really grew a backbone. He’s unafraid of hard work and confrontation now, standing up for what he believes in. Colt has always been more in command, and that hasn’t changed, but he’s also a bit bitter in a way he didn’t used to be. When the MCs meet again, there’s a lot of hard feelings, but they still both continue to do the right thing. I loved watching them find their way back to each other. The chemistry and tension between them sparks and simmers, underlaying all of their interactions. It’s clear from the start that they are meant to be, but their lack of communication about the past is a sticking point that takes a while to resolved.

And really, that was my only sticking point with this book as well. Twenty years of hurt was cleared up with one conversation, but it took nearly half of the book to get there. At first, it was easy to see why they couldn’t communicate. Years of hurt built up between them and it wouldn’t have made sense for them to jump right into the hard conversation. But as the days dragged on, I started having a problem with the fact that they just needed to talk, especially because both MCs had similar thoughts about how they were just kids and a lot had changed since then. When they finally do talk, and they discover the root of the problem, things resolve quickly. Though they still have hurdles, they are nowhere near as big. I really wanted that conversation to come earlier for these guys, not only because it was clear to the reader exactly what went wrong before, but because it felt a bit like this particular plot point was dragging on. Once it is resolved, though, the romance progresses well as they find the new way they fit together, all the while dealing with the rest of the problems.

The person behind the threats is not exactly a surprise, but the clues are dolled out in exactly the right way, at exactly the right time. The puzzle pieces start clicking together and it’s clear the hows and the whys. It’s a bit extreme in some ways, and yet fits. And this plot line is in good balance with the romance story line. The mystery is resolved in an incredibly satisfying way, paving the way for the MCs’ happily ever after.

Despite the fact that I wished the real communication between Colt and Mason came earlier in the story, I really enjoyed this book. The narrative flows well, the characters are well drawn, and overall it’s a great little story to get lost in. I’m looking forward to what else the author has in store for this series.