Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A lovely addition to the Clean Slate Ranch series, this story features Shawn, the assistant cook at the ghost-town saloon who helped Miles when his abusive ex showed up in Saddle Up, book three. Robin, one of the ranch hands, befriends Shawn after an initial minor hostility due to the fact Shawn looks like Robin’s former husband, Xander, who died in a rodeo accident three years before. But once Robin gets to know him, the resemblance takes a back seat because Shawn is a completely different personality: shy, sweet, virginal, and reclusive. Shawn has kept the fact he lives in his car a secret for two years, but now that it’s out in the open and he’s given the cabin next to Robin’s, the two slowly become friends, and then more.
The story is a good length and focuses on the slow buildup of a relationship with plenty of kissing and not much else through most of the book as each man slowly begins to share pieces of his past with the other. The author allows time for readers to get to know the characters as they get to know each other and that’s something I appreciate. When circumstances occur that bring Shawn back to his hometown where the public shame and humiliation that forced him out of town took place, Robin accompanies him and finally learns Shawn’s truths.
But it’s not until much later, when they are back at the Clean Slate Ranch, that Shawn learns Robin’s truths about how he lost his husband and the guilt he carries over it. Past characters round out the story and new ones are introduced as I suspect the series may continue for some time—at least, I hope so because I want Derrick and Levi and Hugo to all have their own loves.
As with other books in this series, there’s a sense of family, friendship, trust, and support by all the characters at the ranch. Those who love a sweet cowboy romance, with a small age gap (8 years), should enjoy this one. Add slow burn, virgins, smaller tops, and widower to the tags, and you get the picture of how very nice this story is.
The bright cover features a handsome cowboy walking toward the camera with a bright blue sky background.
Sales Links: Amazon
Expected publication: October 21st 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488056986 (ISBN13: 9781488056987)
SeriesClean Slate Ranch #4
Clean Slate Ranch Series