This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
Series: Rough Riders #12
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Corralled, Saddled and Spurred, Rode Hard, Put Up Wet, Wrangled and Tangled, Long Hard Ride, Cowgirl Up and Ride, Rough, Raw and Ready, Tied Up, Tied Down, Wild Ride, Branded as Trouble, Shoulda Been a Cowboy, All Jacked Up, Raising Kane, Cowgirls Don't Cry, Chasin' Eight, One Night Rodeo, Kissin' Tell, Gone Country, Mistress Christmas, Miss Firecracker, Bound, Redneck Romeo, Unwound, Turn and Burn, Hillbilly Rockstar, "Schooled", Wrapped and Strapped, Unraveled.
Twelfth in the Rough Riders erotic romance series about a family of cowboys in Sundance, Wyoming. The couple focus is on Bennett McKay and Ainsley Hamilton.
Oh, lordy, James took me aback with that first page, and then she threw my interpretation right back at me, leaving me laughing. Too, too funny.
The tagline on this could well be “to thine own self be true”. One of the more important axioms anyone can hold to throughout one’s life. I gotta hand it to Bennett for knowing himself well enough to hold to it. For wanting to help Ainsley learn herself as well.
This is a novel of exploration. More so for Ainsley than Bennett, but they both have some lessons to learn in this. James does a reasonably good job of portraying her as nervous and frightened. Fear of wanting what society perceives as wrong, the average woman’s fear of humiliation. Then there’s Ben’s fear of exposure, of letting down his own barriers.
I’m no expert on the BDSM scene, but from the various novels I’ve read, James’ presentation in this story appears to portray a genuine variation, albeit a much kinder and gentler one…! A nice endorsement of there being a possibility for anyone to choose what suits them best. To prove that it’s not a power trip. At least not for the Dom/Domme.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed about this series is James’ portrayal of real life within an extended family with all its joys and the accompanying warts. It’s not all fun-and-games, but family, true family, will be there for you.
Ooh, I did like Leslie’s end-run around Turton. And from comments she drops, I gotta wonder how much longer Stevie-boy is gonna be around. I find it interesting that Tell and Dalton don’t want to bring their brother, Brandt, in on the deal but are willing to pull in Ben.
It’s easy to sit back here and play armchair editor, and I’m impressed with how well James kept her detachment to allow Ainsley her very reasonable anger with Ben over the whole loan situation. Nicely played.
Although, then there’s the possibility of Ben’s sub rosa life getting blown. Oh, boy… Considering the family, I’m kinda surprised he’d jump to such conclusions.
I still wanna know what Gavin’s plans are. He’s screwed up big time. Perchance James has an organic romance in mind for him?
A hookup at his favorite club hooks Bennett’s interest in Angel. Her obvious ignorance about a Domme’s role, and her much more likely interest in the submissive side.
She’s intriguing enough that their unexpected encounter in town has Bennett heating things up between the two of them. Heading down a road neither expects.
Meanwhile, Rielle has run into some trouble and Bennett learns there are some deep doings his brothers haven’t been confiding to him.
Bennett McKay is a full-time rancher on the McKay spread with a log-furniture building sideline. It’s taken a bit, but he’s come to terms with the man he is and the way he likes his sex. Ace and Deuce are his dogs. His brothers are Quinn, who is married to Libby (Wild Ride: Strong, Silent Type, 6.5) and Chase, who recently married Ava (Chasin’ Eight, 11). Gavin is a recently acquired brother. The oldest with a daughter, Sierra, who is a somewhat rambunctious fourteen-year-old. Charlie and Vi are their parents.
Ainsley Hamilton is the confident new bank president at National West. Inside, she’s the not-so-confident woman unsure about her sexual preferences. She’s coming off a lousy marriage with Dean, a controlling, uptight jerk. Wally and Charo are kittens she’s rescued. Her friend, Layla, is the one who introduces her to the Rawhide Club.
Turton Ingvold is the jerky bank employee with zero, actually less than zero, social skills. Leslie is the new loan officer. Jenny is a bitch of a receptionist.
The McKay Family
Carson and Carolyn‘s kids include Keely married to Jack Donohue (All Jacked Up, 8); Cord is married to AJ (Cowgirl Up and Ride, 3); Colby, who is married to Channing (Long Hard Ride, 1); Colt is with Indy (Branded as Trouble, 6); and, Cam is with Domini (Shoulda Been a Cowboy, 7).
Then there are the two single brothers, Tell and Dalton (they have saved a lot of cash by winning poker games), and their brother, Brandt, who is married to Jessie (Shoulda Been a Cowboy, 7 and Cowgirls Don’t Cry, 10) who are going through their own parental issues. Their parents split up and Casper has fallen into the bottle while mom has hied off to Casper, Wyoming to be with her grandchild.
Rielle Wetzler owns a small spread that the McKays covet. She’s opened a B&B and operates a small organic farm. Rielle fucks up big time when she sells her land out from under Bennett after he’s made a gentleman’s agreement with her. Rory is her college-going daughter.
Dr. Joely Monroe is reaching out for friends, and it looks as though she may be changing banks. Steve Talbot is president of Settler’s First where the McKays all have their accounts. I suspect that’ll be changing. He’s a jerk, and as the lone bank, he’s had things much too easy. Michelle Littlefield has opened a fancy restaurant in town, Fields, which only uses local products.
The Rawhide Club
The Rawhide Club has a hundred-year-old city charter and currently functions as a place to “avoid random, disappointing hookups with half-drunk men”. Cody and Trace own the bar and club. Sully is a happily single lawyer although he does help out at the club. Murphy tends bar, and he and his wife Layla live the D/s lifestyle 24/7 and have been happily married for 30 years.
The Cover and Title
The cover is hot with Ben in jeans and an open shirt showcasing that marvelous chest, a bullwhip in one hand with the lash trailing around his neck, and a straw cowboy hat in his other hand. All against the background of the hay barn with its stacked hay bales and gaping wallboards. Brought in line with the signature “carved leather” border at the base.
The title is where Ben is happiest, hookin’ up on the short term, a regular Cowboy Casanova.