Hard Ride

A.M. Arthur. Carina, $8.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-1-335-45948-0
Scintillating romantic tension and steamy sex scenes redeem the jumbled contrivances that lead the heroes of Arthur’s fifth Clean Slate Ranch cowboy romance (after Lucky Break) to pretend to date. Derrick Massey’s sister-in-law goes into labor while the Massey family is visiting the ranch for a wedding. While anxiously awaiting news from the hospital, Derrick hooks up with ranch hand Slater Stamos. They agree it’s a one-off, but three weeks later Slater breaks his ankle saving a child from falling off a cliff, and Derrick unexpectedly visits him in the hospital. Derrick offers Slater the chance to recuperate in the comfort of his San Francisco Bay Area apartment if Slater will pretend to be his boyfriend at five upcoming weddings, hoping to convince his relatives that he’s settled down. The tale hits its stride once Slater agrees and opens up to Derrick about his time in prison and the child he fathered at 17, but the lead-up to their arrangement is unnecessarily convoluted. In a quirky subplot, Slater befriends Derrick’s nonbinary neighbor, Dez, who teaches him the art of profane needlecraft to occupy his hands during his convalescence. Cameos by characters from previous installments will please fans, but confuse newcomers. This passionate, trope-heavy romance is entertaining but uneven. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2020
Genre: Romance/Erotica
Compact Disc - 978-1-0941-4997-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-0941-4998-1
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