People think they know Richard Dunning. They see him as rich and spoiled and entitled and someone who never follows through on anything. He has a great wardrobe and a great skincare routine, but Richard lacks focus and confidence and someone to believe in him. His father only wants Richard to do exactly what he tells him to him and to take over his billion dollar business one day. While Richard has the business degree, working with his father was not the best fit, and his father let him know time and again how disappointed he was in Richard. So, Richard quit his job, his father cut him off, and now Richard is spending his nights on one friend’s couch after the other. Taking a bet from Oscar, a man Richard wished he didn’t know, sends Richard to a cattle ranch in Wyoming to work for Boone Hammond as a cow hand. Richard shoveling you know what, yeah this will be a scene.
Although Boone has been in Wyoming for 17 years, he is still seen as a newcomer by the locals. His ranch is successful, but it’s his busy season and he’s short staffed. Richard arrives in a swirl of moisturizer and upscale clothes and, while Boone takes notice, he doesn’t have the time to train Richard. Richard, however, is determined to prove himself to Oscar, to Boone, and maybe even to himself. The days are hot, but the nights are filled with stars and longing and Richard may have found the man he’s been in search of all of his life.
ISO is the fourth book in the After Oscar series. I thought this was going to be the last book in the series and would feature Oscar’s story, however this is the second to last book and features Richard and Boone. They both know Oscar, although Boone has a much deeper connection with him. Oscar is featured a little more on page here and, since the series is named after him, it was great to get a little more information on Oscar after all of this time, as this series started years ago.
Boone is about 12 years older than Richard and they are completely different and have different ideas of success. Richard is about at the end of his financial rope and is offered a month in Wyoming. He doesn’t seem to fit in right away, but Richard attracts people wherever he goes, and Boone has certainly taken notice of all of Richard.
The book opens with a set up and scene that feels familiar, with Richard arriving in a scented cloud of privilege and Boone trying to figure Richard out, but being too busy to do that. The book then also falls into a familiar journey of Richard starting to fit into ranch life, having more skills than anyone gives him credit for, and the men falling for each other. Despite the familiar beats of the book, I liked both Richard and Boone, the ranch, as well as the story they were in, and this is my favorite book of the series so far. I also enjoyed that many of the over-the-top antics seen in other books in the series were eliminated here.
I would have liked a little more character development for Richard toward the end of his journey, but there was also enough there not to prolong the story as the men become a perfect fit for each other. I certainly liked seeing more of Oscar on page through his connection to both Richard and Boone, and this book once again made me eager to see Oscar finally find his HEA.