Last night I finished Rode Hard, Put Up Wet by Lorelei James. I couldn’t put it down and go to sleep before I finished it, so it was after 3 am when I closed my tired eyes. But with a satisfied smile ;-)
Thursday I posted a sexy excerpt from this long novel (look here >>>) and wrote about the 'bonus couple' Carter and Macie. Well, it turned out that the largest part of the story was theirs and I liked it. I even loved it more than that of Cash and Gemma, although that was good as well. But the first couple’s issues and emotions were worked out better. There wasn’t much development in Gemma’s and Cash’s feelings and it was almost as if their restraints were solved too fast. I like it when the doubts and uncertainties are elongated a little bit ;-) and those of Carter and Macie definitely were!
Let’s start with Cash and Gemma’s love story. In the first book of the Rough Riders series, Long Hard Ride, these characters were introduced as friends and rodeo colleagues of the protagonists, Colby and Channing. Gemma is a 48-year old widow and Cash a 38-year old Indian. Already in Book 1 Cash has a crush on Gemma, but back then she wasn’t completely over the loss of her husband yet. Their ways parted until now, when Gemma asks Cash to manage her ranch. He agrees on one condition: their relationship won’t by solely professional. He wants to spend the nights in her bed. Secretly thrilled Gemma says yes to his demand of her obedience (look here >>> for another excerpt from the book of this scene). Although they do have hot sex, Cash always keeps her blindfolded or in the dark. Gemma regrets that she never gets to see him. In the end she confronts him with his behavior by handcuffing him to the bed in his sleep. Their sex scenes were blazing hot, them taking a lot of unorthodox positions, with a threesome as well. The out-of-bed scenes were too scarce, I think. Or rather, they were not enough about them, but about Cash’s relation with his daughter for example. So their love story suffered a little bit from the sub stories.
Then there’s Carter and Macie’s love story. This one is really sweet. Carter is an artist, with many uncertainties, about his place in de big McKay family, about his art, about dancing ;-). Macie is Cash’s 22-year old daughter. Her mother died about four years ago and she tries to establish a relationship with her father who hasn’t been around. She’s wonderful towards her father, who has his own feelings of guilt to deal with. Carter and Macie run into each other at a rodeo show before Cash and Macie turn out to spend the summer at Gemma’s ranch where Carter is handing a hand. Carter has had visions of Macie before he met her and wanted to paint her. When he meets her, he asks her to model for his paintings and she does. They also start acting on their attraction. The sex is great but Carter wants more and starts romancing Macie. She has the impulse to run, but doesn’t, and even has to admit that she loves him. He loves her back but then he hurts her with an action I’m not gonna reveal ;-). This couple’s love story has more scenes outside the bedroom, without sex as the centre of interest. Like scenes of Macie in the diner where she works, interacting with her boss. And scenes in which the feelings of Macie about her relationship with her parents are unfolded.
The setting of the ranch, the reappearance of Colby and Channing (from Book 1), the glimpse of Book 3’s characters (AJ and Cord, Carters brother) are all adding to my reading pleasure! Only my small hesitations about Cash and Gemma’s plot prevent me from rating this book with 5 stars, but it’s definitely worth 4.5 stars! I’m looking forward to the AJ and Cord story: Cowgirl Up and Ride.