Welcome to my stop on the STRUNG UP blog tour! Check out my review and an excerpt from this awesome Blacktop Cowboys novella!
Strung Up (Blacktop Cowboys #7.5), by Lorelei James
Publish Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Format: ARC, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult m/m contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon
Rating: 5 STARS
(Synopsis) Rancher Creston Grant retreats from the world after he loses the love of his life... Can his former flame, rodeo cowboy Breck Christianson prove he's a changed man who can give Cres a second chance at love?
Cres and Breck had one hot weekend together years before, but Cres knew the score going into the affair and bailed before Breck could ask him to. The rodeo world is violently homophobic, and if Breck wanted to keep on chasing his titles, he’d have to continue playing the straight stud.
Cres, on the other hand, was not interested in hiding, so when he found Mick and fell in love, he thought that was it. He’d found his happily ever after. Even if Mick was just like Breck and wanted to hide who Cres was to him, telling his family that they were simply roommates. But, when Mick was killed in a car accident, Cres’ world was rocked nonetheless.
Two years later, Cres is still having trouble getting over Mick’s death. Meanwhile, Breck’s secret has come out, and he was shunned out of the rodeo circuit. They meet again by chance at an event sponsored by Cres’ sister-in-law’s rodeo school. And now there’s nothing holding them back except themselves.
Breck was always a loudmouthed jerk. We’ve met him in previous books, and he’s never seemed like a good guy. Funny how perspective can change things. Once his behavior was explained, I could understand his actions better. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t still a jerk, but I now got that that wasn’t who he was deep down.
Of course, that means some really good reading for us. Cres and Breck are nothing short of combustible together. But, Breck’s fear of commitment to a man and Cres’ fear of loving another only to lose him too get in the way of the real feelings.
I loved these two guys so much. I wish they had their own full-length novel. I would’ve loved more from them. I wanted to know more about how Mick’s closeted life affected Cres. I wanted to see more of Cres’ interaction with his family. I wanted more of Breck’s job at the rodeo school. And of course I wanted more Cres and Breck sexy times.
But, this novella was still fantastic. Lorelei James packs a lot of story on not a lot of pages. It was a quick and satisfying read, and it set the stage nicely for the next novel in the Blacktop Cowboys series. I’m looking forward to catching up with Cres and Breck in that one.
Staring into the flames, I brooded about my uncertain future. I didn’t trust my ambivalence toward teaching because I was a master at self-sabotage. Maybe I considered this teaching experiment a failure so I had an excuse not to sign on for the next session. Then I could stick with the “I’m a ramblin’ man” warning I’d given Cres and return to the blacktop.
But I didn’t want to go back on the road. Facing miles of empty highway day after day…I knew firsthand it was as lonely as it sounded.
Loneliness hadn’t been an issue since I’d rolled into the Grade A complex. I spent my days surrounded by students and staff and my nights wrapped up in Cres.
Sexy, funny, sweet Cres.
I’d been such a fool to think I could work him out of my system. The more time we spent together the more I wanted. Yet Cres hadn’t mentioned extending our time.
Maybe because you’ve done a bang-up job convincing him of your “itchy feet.”
Only because he’d been so insistent about never getting into another serious relationship, and I didn’t want to be the pathetic hanger-on, trying to convince him that I was worth the risk to his heart, because I wasn’t sure I was.
There was some confidence. I’d gotten my mo-jo back in the arena, but I didn’t have the same certainty with Cres unless I was fucking him.
Why did this have to be so f*cked up? Why couldn’t I just tell him my feelings had changed and I needed more than “just sex?”
From Lorelei: “Why do I have a particular fondness for all things western? Well, I’m a fourth generation South Dakotan, living in the Black Hills, which is chock-full of interesting characters, including cowboys, Indians, ranchers, and bikers. The geographical diversity of the surrounding area showcases mountains, plains, and badlands. Living in and writing about rural settings gives me a unique perspective, especially since I’m not writing historical westerns. Through my fictional world, I can show the ideals and the cowboy way of life are still very much alive.”
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