Title: Dark Horse
Author: Kate Sherwood
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Dan thinks about just driving, leaving the whole mess behind. He’s got enough money. He could just arrange to get his stuff and his horse shipped to wherever he’s going. Taking off is what he used to do when things got to be too much, and it worked pretty well, really.
Dan Wheeler thought he’d found lasting love and stability with his life and work partner Justin Archer. But when Dan finds himself alone again, still working as a horse trainer for Justin’s parents, he has to find a way to accept that his perfect life is gone forever.
Then he meets billionaire Evan Kaminski, who arrives to buy a horse for his younger sister, and Evan’s lover Jeff Stevens, a horse trainer who seems to understand more than just Dan’s job. Struggling to deal with all the upheaval in his life, Dan finds himself drawn to both Evan’s mercurial passion and Jeff’s quiet wisdom. Is Dan strong enough to take a chance on new love, or would it be better—safer—for him to be alone?
Dark Horse is possibly the saddest romantic story I have ever experienced. Dan, the main character, is brokenhearted over his best friend since boyhood and true love Justin’s fatal brain injury following a horse riding accident. A scene where a devastated Dan rushes to a brain dead Justin’s nursing home bedside after hearing from Justin’s parents that they have signed a Do Not Resuscitate Order brings tears to my eyes. I honestly could feel my chest tighten as I listened to him quietly beg Justin to wake up, although he already knows his efforts are futile. The entire story line surrounding Dan’s profound sense of loss and grief is simply superior.
The relationship between Dan, Evan and Jeff leave me less enthused. I understand that Dark Horse is a M/M/M romance – and it is, to some degree – but I find it less a true romance than a story about Dan’s loss and his attempt to find his way in a world that suddenly doesn’t contain Justin. The characters are all quite different men – Dan is hardworking and quietly tortured by grief, Evan is affable and energetic, and Jeff is older and wise. While the three men do largely complement each other’s personalities, I am not terribly excited with their chemistry as a romantic trio. There is also surprisingly little actual physical intimacy or sex in this story, which is somewhat unusual for M/M/M stories, and I do feel that the relationship between the men could be enriched by more physical affection. And perhaps the main issue I have with the Dan/Evan/Jeff grouping is that Dan is clearly still in love with Justin – he is trying to move on, and he likes and is attracted to Evan and Jeff, but I don’t honestly feel that there is a true emotional investment on his part (or Evan’s, for that matter).
This story is quite long, and the slow pace of the story is ideal for telling Dan’s story of loss in a way that doesn’t gloss over the devastation that Justin’s accident and death cause Dan. However, I feel that the pace of Dan, Evan and Jeff’s developing relationship is almost too slow. Also, this a “happy for now” story, and the three men don’t proclaim to be a love match, but there are two more books in this series for Dan, Evan and Jeff to hopefully work toward their happily ever after.
The narrator of the audiobook, Peter B. Brooke, is ideal for this story. His deep, manly voice has a slight gravely tone that is simply luscious. I swear his voice for Jeff makes me think of how I imagine the Marlboro man would sound! While female voices (and there are few in this story) are not Brooke’s strength, he is an excellent narrator that improves the experience of listening to Dark Horse. I will certainly be looking for other stories narrated by Peter B. Brooke to enjoy.
Overall, the audiobook of Dark Horse is quite long (over 14 hours), but well worth the time investment. Dan is a remarkable character that I will not soon forget, and I look forward to the audiobooks of the next two stories in this series.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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