Author: Bailey Bradford, Morticia Knight, Helena Maeve, L.M. Somerton, Ethan Stone, Molly Ann Wishlade
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/08/2015
Length: Long Novel (~ 100K+)
Genre: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Mystery, New Adult, Western
‘The Lonely Ones’ by Bailey Bradford
Marshall’s all city, and Rex is all cowboy, so it’s no wonder sparks fly when they meet.
Marshall Evans never wanted to inherit his grandfather’s Thoroughbred horse ranch. He doesn’t know much about raising and training racehorses, and he knows even less about the man who left him what he sees as a burden. His grandfather wasn’t a nice man at all, and he left the ranch to Marshall more as a fuck you to the one person who did want the ranch, who had tried to buy it, and had put up with years of verbal and at times, physical abuse, only to have his home yanked out from under his feet. Rex Martinez had only ever had one home, and that was the ranch. Now he was about to lose it.
Marshall arrives in the small town of Erring, NM, only to be confronted by this silently furious man, and together, they’re going to have to work out what to do. The will stipulates that Marshall can’t sell the ranch to Rex, because Allen found out Rex was gay. Rex didn’t know he knew, but the old man had no idea about Marshall since Marshall hadn’t been raised anywhere near him.
It’s not as simple as selling the ranch, either. Marshall thinks it will be, but no. He can’t put Rex out of a home so easily.
‘Racing for Home’ by Morticia Knight
Groom Charlie loves the Piedmont Farms horses—but not nearly as much as the man he can never have, Edward Piedmont.
At the age of twenty-two, Charlie has lived at Piedmont Farms—the largest race horse breeding facility on the east coast—for eight years. For five of those years, he’s been desperately in love with Albert Piedmont’s oldest son, Edward. At one time, he believed Edward’s declarations that they’d be together forever. It was a brutal slap in the face when Edward married a local heiress and moved away to live with her on her family estate. Only his love of the horses, including one in particular, has kept him from complete despair.
Edward knows that horse groom Charlie must hate him after being abandoned when Edward married Alice, but he’d thought he was doing the right thing at the time. After three years of a sham of a marriage, Alice has found someone who she really wants to marry, and Edward is free to divorce her. Edward moves back to Piedmont, desperate to get Charlie back, even if they would still have to hide their love.
Charlie wants to believe that Edward still loves him and that he can believe in him once again. But love between two men in 1912 America is even worse than love between someone of a higher and lower station. Charlie fears that it would never be possible for them to truly have a life together.
Edward’s father, Albert Piedmont, is also hiding. However, his secrets pertain to the possible loss of his once wildly successful horse breeding farm. When everything begins to rapidly crumble, Edward has to make a desperate move to secure a future for him and Charlie before it’s too late.
‘The Secret of Delville Wood’ by Helena Maeve
A handsome, naked man in his bed is the kind of surprise Silas lives for. The dead body hanging outside his window, not so much.
In the shadow of the Great War, three soldiers made a fortune on racetracks either side of the North Sea. Their families thrived with the clandestine passions of youth, wanting for nothing while whole nations suffered the scarcities of peace. By their grace and generosity, Axel, a young man once forced to sell his body, became a champion.
Yet the lure of fast money hides many dark deeds and Pia Eckdahl’s manor on Lake Sågträsk is no exception. Hired to cleanse the Swedish socialite’s house of evil spirits, Nigerian-born Silas doesn’t care much for horses, racing or the affectations of the nouveau-riche. But he does care for Axel. Caught between peddling his heritage for an extortionate sum and investigating a suspicious suicide, Silas soon finds himself delving into a decade-old family secret that could well destroy his lover’s racing future.
‘Keeping the Luck In’ by L.M. Somerton
Since when was a squirrel crossing your path bad luck?
Like his father before him, Rory Ironstone was born and bred to be a blacksmith. Standing six feet five in his socked feet, he’s built like a barn door. He loves his job at Camworth Racecourse forge, tending to the beautiful racehorses and creating ironwork art in his spare time.
Pip Ryder is a summer stable hand and newly qualified vet who longs for someone to love him as much as they do his four-legged charges. He admires Rory from afar, but is too shy to admit his interest goes beyond the anvil.
When the horseshoe above the forge door is knocked off, Rory believes his luck has fallen out. Pip comes to the rescue but when Rory shows more than a platonic interest, he bolts.
Rory is convinced that the only way to re-fill his horseshoe with luck is to get Pip back and keep him.
‘Just my Luck’ by Ethan Stone
Appearances can be deceiving.
Kieran Jones is as used to short jokes as Sam Shaw is to being teased for his height. When they meet at a nightclub there’s an instant attraction, and not just because of the stark difference in their bodies.
After a passionate night, Sam sneaks out, positive he won’t see the hot guy again. Not because he doesn’t want to, but because he’s in town to do a job and he doesn’t need a distraction. He never imagined that growing up on a farm and knowing all about horses would help with his career, but it has and he can’t let anything get in the way.
However, jockey Kieran is connected to Sam’s mission and Sam has a tough choice to make—use Kieran to get it done or walk away. It could spell the end of the relationship before it’s even begun, but a life or death situation makes Sam realize just exactly how much he cares for Kieran and how much he wants a future with him.
‘Horses and Harleys’ by Molly Ann Wishlade
Life’s not just about horses and Harleys, but sometimes you have to get back in the saddle if you want to go along for the ride.
Henry Lockhart is a rich, successful businessman but life at the top can be lonely, especially as he vowed never to fall in love again after a painful bereavement.
Alex Castillo grew up in a small town where small minds made his life a misery. A disastrous love affair with a married man and the recent death of his mother led him to flee his hometown in search of a better life.
When their worlds collide after Alex takes a job as a groom at Henry’s stables, they both know that life will never be the same again.
But they’ve both been hurt, they’ve both suffered loss, shame and regret.
Can they find a way to be together, or will they both ride off into the sunset alone?
Publishers note: Royalties from the publisher will be donated to Cancer Research UK and Prospect Hospice in memory of Peter Laybourn, husband of Pride Publishing editor, Sue.
The Lonely Ones by Bailey Bradford 3
This story was odd for me. While I enjoyed it and the epilogue fixed everything up nicely, the story itself left me wanting in the romance department. I liked the characters and I liked the bones of the story itself, but I never understood the attraction turning into sex let alone turning into more. This one just felt too manufactured and rushed. I think that had it been longer, this story could have and probably would have been great.
Racing for Home by Morticia Knight 4
I enjoyed this one. It was a very sugary look into a second chance romance. It was a love between two men who had to learn to beat the system to achieve their happy. I liked watching these men fight for what they wanted in the early 1900s and I liked that this one was slow and sweet. Do I wish it was longer, absolutely. But what was there was slow and sweet and easy. This was a story with little angst and a nice outcome.
The Secret of Delville Wood by Helena Maeve 3
This story was strange. It was a mystery that was never really resolved. Yes, the folks involved in the mystery believe they got some answers, even though those answers were too easy and arrived at with little background information. But the ending was very abrupt and left me confused. I am also unsure of the need for the “romance” in the story at all. I gave this one 3 stars because the bones were there, but this one needed more to be carried off well.
Keeping the Luck In by L.M. Somerton 3.75
I thought this story was very cute. I liked the romantic pairing and the way these men came together. I do wish it would have been longer to explore the luck aspect a bit more, but I enjoyed what was there.
Just my Luck by Ethan Stone 4
I enjoyed this short story. It had smexy sexiness, romance, intrigue, and a little bit of action thrown in for added zing. I needed a bit more to truly understand the epilogue, but the rest of the story was a really good start to something promising.
Horses and Harleys by Molly Ann Wishlade 5
This was my favorite story of the bunch. For being a short in an anthology, it had depth and emotion and a start to a romance that was easy to feel. I liked that both men had histories that kept me reading so that I could know more about why they were who they were. There was the hint at a power dynamic that was intriguing and again kept me reading because I needed to know if they would be explosive or tender together. There was growth for both men as they fought their pasts and their futures. And I really liked that the author did not try to force this to be more than it needed to be for the word count. I think I have found a new author to pursue and I will be investigating her other titles.
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.
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