Ivan Gallagher is lonely. As foreman at Redemption Ridge, he’s found a family, a purpose, and a passion in beekeeping. But he doesn’t have a man of his own to love, and he feels the loss keenly, especially after Finley and Kieran got together. That also explains his instant and intense attraction to newcomer, Rory Snyder. Because Ivan definitely shouldn’t entertain thoughts about the younger man.
Rory needs to spend some time out of the limelight after nearly being attacked. He’s got a wildly popular YouTube channel, but more than that, his father is running for governor and the press is dragging out every indiscretion and misstep he’s taken in order to discredit his dad. Though his FBI agent brother drops him on the folks at Redemption Ridge, Rory is determined to pull his weight and work hard while he’s there. And if he can’t take his eye off Ivan and wants nothing more than to get the big man in bed? Well that’s a bonus.
Rory might let a bit of his brat come out and push Ivan’s buttons, but the two men quickly have a conversation that sets them to rights. However, there’s no denying the insane attraction between them and when they can’t resist anymore, a no strings, no commitment arrangement seems like the answer. Feelings quickly bloom, and Ivan and Rory understand each other better than anyone has before. But Ivan spent time in jail for a crime he would commit again if the circumstance were right and Rory has always had an end date to his time at the ranch. When an altercation with the wannabe cult in town gets media attention, Rory worries he will bring unwanted attention to the ranch. The problem is both men’s hearts are invested and, in order to have their happily ever after, they’ll need to figure out a way to persevere.
This is the second book in Aimee Nicole Walker’s Redemption Ridge series and, while some elements from the first book, as well as characters, show up here, this would work well as a standalone, so don’t be afraid to jump in here. I’ve been looking forward to this book since the teaser at the end of the first, and Walker didn’t disappoint.
The thing I enjoyed most was the way Ivan and Rory communicated throughout the story. It wasn’t always perfect, but misunderstandings never lasted long. Both MCs understood the other so well that they could see instantly when things went awry and fixed it as quickly as possible. I love the way these two talked and, maybe more importantly, how they listened.
Ivan and Rory are definitely opposites in a lot of ways. Ivan is a big, redheaded Viking type man who is quiet and introspective and fully understands how lucky he is in his life now. Rory is a much more vivacious person, used to the spotlight, and a people person. But they both have a passion for sustainable and eco-friendly farming, and when they are real with each other, it’s clear that despite how different they are, they are the same at their core. Ivan’s life took a hard left in college and he served time for his choices. Rory’s life imploded while he was still in high school, and he’s worked hard to put it behind him. They both deserve a second chance, and Redemption Ridge is exactly the place to find it. Their relationship drives the story, and watching them fall in love while finding their true selves was a treat.
The secondary characters work to flesh out the story, and the narrative style lends itself to an engrossing read. Walker handles some tougher subject matters well, and delivers a story with real and believable characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am very much looking forward to the next in the series, which seems to finally feature Cash and Nick, whose connection has been shown in glimpses in both books so far.