A MelanieM Review: Roughstock: Blind Ride – Season One by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Blind Ride cover 2Jason Scott is at the top of the field in his career, that of professional bull riding.  Jason, along with his traveling partner and best friend, Andy Baxter, are riding the circuit, both hoping to finish at the top of the boards and win enough money to see each of them set for life.  Jason and Bax have been dancing around the fact that they are crazy about each other.  Each is afraid of losing his best friend if they admit how much they actually love each other. It will take something huge to make a change in their relationship.

Being a professional bullrider is a dangerous game and in one horrible instant everything changes for both Jason and Bax.  When a ride on one of the top bulls goes wrong, an injury to Jason’s head causes him to go blind. Reeling, Jason and Bax retreat to Jason’s family ranch to recover and wonder what’s next for them both.  For Jason, it appears his life is over and he has nothing to live  for.  Bax is determined to prove him wrong, both personally and professionally.

Bax thinks Jason can ride the bulls even blind.  But it will take Bax, his love and their small circle of friends to prove to Jason that even blind bullriders have their life and love ahead of them.

I have a huge fondness for both the Roughstock series and its author, BA Tortuga.  So it pains me when I have to report that this story, while having so many of the great qualities I have come to expect from this series, is guaranteed to frustrate the reader to the point that it is hard to recommend it. First let’s look at the merits of this story.

The characters are wonderful.  Jason “Mini” Scott and Andy “Bax” Baxter are typical of the cowboys you will find in the stories of B.A. Tortuga.  Their personalities are so authentic to the bull riding circuit and the locale that I would also expect to run into them at any PBR event.  They become so real that they feel like a part of your family.  And it is this intimacy that connects the reader to them and their futures.  You feel the dust that coats them as they pick themselves up off the arena floor and the pain their profession inflicts upon their bodies.  They are just so realistic that you hurt for them.  And Tortuga is one of the best authors around when it comes to dialog.  The words that issue out of the mouths of her cowboys ring with authentic local flavor and colloquialisms.  And it does so without being hokey or off sounding.  Here they are heading down the road to get supper:

Bax threw his duffel back, too, sliding into the driver’s side. “So, where to? I figure that one little place where you circle your order will be closed.” “There’s that one place by the highway — about twenty minutes out. It’s nothing but old ranchers taking their women out. Nice T-bones.” And he always got tickled by those tables with the ads printed on them. Reminded him of going to auction with Pa-paw.

“That works.” The big dualie slid right into traffic like an elephant into a herd of zebras, Bax muscling them right in.

They scooted down 35, radio blaring. He found a pack of smokes in the console and lit one for Bax, then got himself one. Three days of rest, then Tulsa.

“You think we ought to try and hit home ‘fore Tulsa?” It was kinda eerie sometimes, the way Bax read his mind. Then again, they’d been on the road together for nigh on six years.

“We can. Momma’d like to see us. ‘Course, we could go on to the city. Goof off. Depends on how much you want Momma’s pineapple upside down cake.”

“Oh, I’d rather go see your momma.” That man did have a sweet tooth. Pineapple upside down was Bax’s very favorite.

“Cool. I’ll call her. Let her know we’ll be in.” He took a deep drag, grinned. Lord, lord. “I hope your knee’s up to riding fence.”

“Shit, you know it. Just don’t ask me to walk fence.” Wheeling around a little Honda, Bax started humming with George on the radio, off tune as anything. “Nah. You wouldn’t be worth shit in Tulsa, then.”

They both hooted, and Jason leaned back, easy in his bones. Man, event win number three. Check in his pocket. Him and Bax heading for steak.

Life, she was good.

Of course, we know it’s all going to change and soon.  But in that short exchange we see the ease and contentment of Jason and Bax’s relationship.  It sings of a friendship long established and perhaps much more.

And once they fess up and go for a full romantic relationship, it is still in keeping with their cowboy ways and personalities.  No flowers here.

 It was like a good ride, all motion and want and spinning. He tried to warn Bax, tried to let the man know he was gonna be way quick off the mark, but it wasn’t happening. And it didn’t seem to matter one bit. Bax was pushing him on, making these amazing noises, just as hot for him as the Fourth of July.

Their relationship is hot, sexy, and emotionally deep.  How we fall for them.

Pretty much everything works here for much of the story.  The narrative suffers a bit from almost too much sex.  We want more of Jason coming to grips with his blindness.  And we want to see exactly how Jason, with Bax and Coke’s help, will learn to ride again.  At one point, even Bax remarks that he and Jason have sex instead of talking.  OK, but as a reader, while I love the hot sex, I want more of the relationship that produces it.

After all I have been through with Jason and Bax, feeling side by side with them on their emotional rollercoaster, I want and deserve to have the emotional payoff I expect at the end of the story.  And that is exactly what’s missing.  No “aha” moment, no ending.  Nothing.  It just stops prior to Jason ever getting back up on a bull, even one on his friend’s ranch.  The emotional reward, the moment everything has been building up to never happens. Frustrating? You betcha.  And totally unexpected from this seasoned author.  And it is this aspect that dragged the rating down to a 3 star rating.

So who should read this book?  Well, hard core fans of B.A. Tortuga for one as well as fans of the Roughstock series.  Coke, AJ, Bax and Jason are the core characters of the Roughstock series so its good to have this part of the story.  But that lack of ending just makes me want to grab a beer and go watch some PBR instead of continuing to bemoan what could have been an outstanding book.

Cover art by Posh Gosh.  I like this cover, it feels more representative of the story and characters.  Terrific job.

Sales Links:  Pride Publications |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, Pride Publications (a LGBT imprint of Totally Bound, now Totally Entwined)
Published July 7th 2015 by Totally Bound Publishing (first published January 1st 2007)
original titleRoughstock: Blind Ride – Season One
ISBN139781784306397
edition languageEnglish
seriesRoughstock #1
charactersJason Scott, Andy Baxter settingUnited States

Books in the Roughstock series:

Roughstock: Blind Ride — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Give it Time: the Seven of Wands – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: And a Smile — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Doce — A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m
Amorzinhos — A Roughstock Story – Novela, m/m, threesome
Roughstock: File Gumbo — Season One – Novel, m/m, core
Roughstock: And a Smile — Coke’s Clown – Novela, m/m,
Shutter Speed, A Roughstock Story: the Seven of Pentacles – Novella, m/m
Roughstock: City/Country – Novel, m/f
Roughstock: Picking Roses – Novel, m/f
Needing To: A Roughstock Story – Novella, m/m

Upcoming Roughstock Novels
Roughstock: What She Wants – Novel, m/m/f
Roughstock: Tag Team – Season Two – Novel, m/m
Roughstock: Terremoto – Season Two- Novel, m/m

Roughstock Shorts:
Cowboy Christmas (Coke and Dillon)
Barbed Wire and Bootheels (Sam and Beau)
Some Good Doctoring (CB and Jonesy) – Free Read

 

April 2013 Book Reviews

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Unbelievably, today is the last day  in April and the start of something new for Scattered Thoughts.  I am going to post a summary of each months books reviews on the last day of the month.  Hopefully, this will make it easy to find a new book to read, a book review you might have missed or a book you just might want to reconsider.  It also helps me gather my  Scattered Thoughts when it comes to the year’s Best of in  December.

It was a very good month, with some remarkable stories from new authors and beloved writers and everyone in between.  Trust me, there really is something for everyone here this month:

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           April 2013 Review Summary

5 Star Rating:

Collusion by Eden Winters

On The Lee Shore by Elin Gregory

The General and the Horse-Lord by Sarah Black

Touch & Geaux  by Abigail Roux

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

A Beautiful Disaster by Willa Okati (4.25)

Brute by Kim Fielding (4.5)

Fire For Effect by Kendall McKenna (4.5)

Freedom by Jay Kirkpatrick (4.75)

Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune (4.5)

Josh of the Damned, Triple Feature #2, The Final Checkout

by Andrea Speed (4.25)

Loving Hector by John Inman (4.25)

Masked Riders by Lucius Parhelion (4.5)

The Fight Within by Andrew Grey (4.5)

The Good Fight by Andrew Grey (4.75)

Unearthing Cole by A.M. Arthur (4.25)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Highland Vampire Vengeance by J.P. Bowie (3.75)

Love You Like A Romance Novel by Megan Derr (3.5)

Sensei by Karenna Colcroft (3)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

The Astral Mage by Hurri Cosmo (2.75)

Review: Covet Thy Neighbor (A Tucker Springs novel) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Covet Thy Neighbor coverTattoo artist Seth Wheeler watches as his new neighbor, Darren Romero, moves in across the hall from his apartment.  Darren hits all Seth’s buttons, he is cute, smart, flirty, with a great sense of humor.  Plus Darren seems to like what he sees when he looks at Seth, so things are looking great.  Until Seth asks Darren what he does for a living and all Seth’s expectations of a flirtatious romance or even a hot one night stand fly out the window.

Darren Romero came to Tucker Springs to take a position as youth minister at the New Light church in town and that is a very real problem for Seth. Seth is a committed atheist and has been since his church and his family threw him out when he told them he was gay.  Now Seth avoids even the mention of church and anyone who believes in religion, even someone as hot and engaging as Darren.

Being neighbors makes it hard for Seth to avoid the minister and Darren refuses to give up on their friendship and possible relationship even as Seth fights the growing attraction between them.  Seth knows that Darren is perfect for him in every way but one.  Can Seth finally make his peace with the past and the part the church played in his abandonment or will Seth let the man he has come to love slip away because of his faith?

I have loved each and every Tucker Spring novel that has been released and Covet Thy Neighbor is a great addition to the series.  L.A. Witt presents us with two beautifully developed characters and adds the unusual element of religion to the mix.  Seth Wheeler is a character introduced in previous stories.  He has hovered around the other couples as a best friend and tattooist in Tucker Springs but we never learned his story until now.

Seth came from an ultra religious family and conservative church. So when he came out, their reactions cost him his family and faith as he was thrown out of his house and permanently disowned.  In describing his past,  Witt gives us a very real feel for the deep pain and feelings of abandonment that Seth feels even now years later.  The author shows that the loss of family is a wound that never fully heals, and for Seth meeting Darren is like tearing off a scab on his soul.  Seth wants to protect himself and for him that means distance.  Distance from Darren and distance from the religion that hurt him so deeply.

Darren is his opposite, a man of faith for whom his religion is felt at the cellular level.  It is not possible to separate the two. I love that L.A. Witt treats this issue with the seriousness it deserves.  So many GLBTQ people have felt abandoned by their churches and religion just as Seth does.  Equally true is that not all religions or even individual churches are discriminatory. Some are supportive of the gay community, and it is important to give those pastors and institutions a voice as well.  The author does so here with Darren Romero, and it works beautifully.

Darren Romero’s faith is one he has arrived at only after working through a series of obstacles and events that could have derailed that faith at any time.  I loved that Darren is such a well rounded religious character. He has his flaws and his moments of doubt.  And his past also contains a time where his openess came with a cost. Darren is up front about his sexuality, he is smart, compassionate, and “smokin’ hot”, at ease behind the pulpit as he is in the bedroom.  And the arguments and discussions he has with Seth are thought provoking and ones that could be heard in towns across America.

Another element of this story that grabbed me was the GLBTQ youth that Darren worded with and provided shelter for.  The scene with Seth and the trans girl rings true. It’s also heartbreaking because you just know how many children out there this girl represents.  This novel is just what I have come to expect from L.A. Witt and the Tucker Springs series.  A great plot,  interesting, fully realized characters and a narrative that moves the plot along at a lively pace.   I was astonished at how quickly I finished the story, to my utter dismay.  At the end, I wanted more of Seth and Darren, and the kids, and well, more of Tucker Springs.

As I stated before, I can’t get enough of this series, and each new story just cements it place as one of the best continuing series out there.  I can’t wait to see what these amazing authors will come up with next.

I love this cover.  Much like the other covers of this series, it works on all levels, from the models to the background.  Just great.

Tucker Springs Website

Here are the books in the order they were written:

Where Nerves End (Tucker Springs, #1) by L.A. Witt

Second Hand (Tucker Springs, #2) by Marie Sexton

Dirty Laundry (Tucker Springs, #3) by Heidi Cullinan

Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs, #4) by L.A. Witt

Never a Hero (Tucker Springs, #5) by Marie Sexton

Review: Second Chances (Cattle Valley #28) by Carol Lynne

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Rating: 3 stars

After a shotgun blast took off his arm, former Chicago police officer Robert “Oggie” Ogden moved to Cattle Valley to start life over again as a cattle rancher.  Then another opportunity came along, that of turning a portion of his ranch into a sanctuary for homeless and troubled GLBTQ youth.  With the help of  local philanthropist Asa Montgomery, Second Chance Ranch is about to complete its second dormitory and other facilities.  But accepting Asa’s help has also meant that Oggie has had to put up with Drake Smith, the head of security for Asa’s company.  Oggie hates that people think of him as disabled and refuses most of the offers of help sent his way, including Drake’s.

Drake Smith learned early in life that his small size made him an easy target for bullies as did his home life.  And to take on the bullies he learned to defend himself, becoming a skilled fighter.  But emotionally? That was something he found tougher to guard against the hurts inflicted by others.  So he gave up, withdrew, isolating himself within his  apartment and into his job.  Against his better judgement, Drake finds himself drawn to the taciturn Oggie and reaches out to him only to find himself and his overtures of assistance harshly rebuffed.

Only an emergency rescue of a young boy in Washington, DC brings these two men back together.  As they search for the missing boy, the sexual heat flares between them, burning down their barriers along the way.  Neither man is prepared for the feelings emerging from their encounter and pull back from each other.  When they land  back in Cattle Valley with the rescued young man, only time will tell if they will give each other the second chance at love.

Carol Lynne’s Cattle Valley series has really turned into a hit or miss reading adventure.  The last book I reviewed, Alone In A Crowd, was a return to the reason I loved this series and grabbed up each book as they were published.  Carol Lynne brought back her original characters in a long established relationship and gave us an intimate look into their changing dynamics with only scarce mentions of new characters to come. So I eagerly picked this book up, only to find that the author has returned to the form that made me eventually give up on Cattle Valley.  Here in Second Chances, the author has so many balls in the air that they are dropping figuratively all over the landscape and we are left with a grab bag of nonsensical characters and behaviors culled from the back of a psychiatry handbook.

Really, from the descriptions and back histories of the main characters here, Oggie and Drake, it looks like the author used the Mr. Potato Head method of character construction,  jamming in various characteristics into her people regardless of whether they fit or not.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  This is Drake Smith.  He is small statured (no problem), so preoccupied by threats to his safety (real or imagined) that he lives in a tiny apartment in Asa’s business complex with multiple locks on his door.He take a gun with him to answer any knocks on it.  Drake bases all his life’s decisions on “what would make his (dead) mother smile” but only eats Campbell soup because that’s all he and his mother ate.  Drake is a cutter. He self mutilates and then runs around on cutup feet like it is no problem. And after one episode, the cutting is never mentioned again.  It just disappears. Drake is ok with casual sex but won’t open his door without a gun? Huh.  And it just keep snow piling from there.  I get that Lynne wants us to find him a pained filled little man needing our sympathy but all she accomplishes is to make him out as a whacko with the Bate’s Motel in his background. Trust me it gets worse if you think that is harsh.  We will come back to him later.

Oggie is a little better.  I can see a cop having trouble leaving his life behind and having problems adjusting to his disability.  I get that, I do.  Oggie is more believable as someone who is afraid that pity lies behind offers of help.  He’s not too bad except when Drake gives him a compliment and his response is “F*&k, Drake, you turning me into some kind of damn woman or what?” Really? That’s what you come up with after muttering an endearment? I don’t know about you but I found that offensive to both men and women.

Then there is the matter of a little scene between the two men in the airplane on their way to DC.  Drake carries with him a small photograph album of pictures of him and his mother. He gives them to Oggie to help him better understand where Drake is coming from. Sweet, right?  The first picture shows a 5 year old Drake and a women with bandaged feet.  As he ages, his mother loses more and more limbs over time (to Diabetes),  First her feet, then her arms…year by year there is less and less of her. Another year, another limb.  And by then I am in tears.  Of laughter.  Not because of the very real possibility of amputation as the disease progresses.  No, I am in hysterics over the thought of what an SNL sketch this would make.  Definitely not the reaction I think Carol Lynne going for. But that just shows you how over the top this story got in making a grab for our emotions.

And finally there is Cullen “Little Man”, the boy they were sent to rescue.  Her characterization of this young man is the ultimate black mark against this book.  Cullen was a young prostitute on the streets of DC until Father Joseph (hopefully Episcopalian) talks him into the shelter he runs for GLBTQ youth.  But something happens and Cullen returns to the streets where he is abducted by his pimp and made to pay for trying to leave his stable.  It is inferred that this kid was gang raped i.e.,  tortured and “retrained” by multiple men. And when Oggie and Drake find Cullen, he is tied to a bed  barely breathing, bloody, beaten, raped and a W is carved into his forehead.  I don’t think it is a stretch for anyone to imagine the emotional and  psychological trauma this would inflict on this young man, to say nothing of the physical mess his body is in.  But is this handled responsibly after loading up this poor guy with one horrific event after another? No,  Cullen bounds back to normal almost immediately.  Nothing is said about the huge W on his forehead.  It’s as though nothing bad had really happened to him.  So how do you go there as an author and not address the very real problems brought up?  I don’t know and Carol Lynne has certainly not given us any answers.

There are smaller editing errors (Drake “unlocks” his apartment upon leaving) as well as an unrealistic case of “instant love”, all in 89 pages.   But there are so many larger issues here, that is the least of the book’s problems.

And finally there is the prospect of a romance on the horizon that even if Cullen turns out to be of legal age, leaves me kind of nauseous. So where do I go from here?  One terrific book is followed by one that is just this side of awful.  I will probably keep reading them.  At this point it is too late to stop and, like a carrot before the horse, there is always the promise of a return again to the form that made Cattle Valley I place I loved to visit.

Cover by Posh Gosh is perfection as usual.

Thanksgiving is Over, a Leftover Turkey Recipe and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Thanksgiving is over, the leftovers have been divvied out to family and friends, and the thought of cooking at the moment leaves me a little numb. On top of everything, I ended up the next day in an emergency care after hours clinic for a fever, sore throat and massive ear aches. So yeah, there’s that too that seems to go with the holidays.

Still the memories of family and good times are warm even if the leftover turkey isn’t and it leaves me plenty of time to read, review and knit a scarf or two as presents for the nieces.  The cold weather here in Maryland is bitter, the bird feeders stocked to the brim, and the terriers are snug in their (meaning my) bed.  If you need some books to fill your eStockings, here are some I definitely recommend:

Monday 11/26:                                Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane

Tuesday 11/27:                                A Slice of Love (Taste of Love #4) by Andrew Grey

Wednesday 1128:                           Cherish (Faith, Love, & Devotion, #4) by Tere Michaels

Thursday 11/29:                              Spice ‘n’ Solice by KC Burn

Friday 11/30:                                   Black Magic by Megan Derr

Saturday 12/1                                   Holiday Stories

Dad’s Leftover Turkey Pot Pie (from allrecipes.com)

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Servings: 12

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 cups frozen green beans
1 cup sliced celery
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups milk
4 cups cubed cooked turkey meat – light
and dark meat mixed
4 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. Place the peas and carrots, green beans, and celery into a saucepan; cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer over medium-low heat until the celery is tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander set in the sink, and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2/3 cup of flour, salt, black pepper, celery seed, onion powder, and Italian seasoning; slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk until the mixture comes to a simmer and thickens. Remove from heat; stir the cooked vegetables and turkey meat into the filling until well combined.
4. Fit 2 pie crusts into the bottom of 2 9-inch pie dishes. Spoon half the filling into each pie crust, then top each pie with another crust. Pinch and roll the top and bottom crusts together at the edge of each pie to seal, and cut several small slits into the top of the pies with a sharp knife to release steam.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until the crusts are golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. If the crusts are browning too quickly, cover the pies with aluminum foil after about 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Review of Nate’s Deputy (Shifters’ Haven #5) by Lavinia Lewis

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Rating: 4.25 stars

Nate Stanford is back home in Wolf Creek, Texas following the death of his brother, Rick.  Guilt stricken over his falling out with his brother, of not being there when Rick needed him the most, Nate is determined to buy back his family’s ranch as a way to make amends to his dead brother.  Rick’s Alpha, Nate Morgan, has given Nate a place to stay and a job to tide him over. But there is someone else interested in bidding on the family farm to his consternation.

Jared Ambrose came to town to take the job of Deputy in Wolf Creek, bringing with him his younger brother Tristan.  Since their father died, Tristan has been getting in trouble, drink binging and hanging out with the wrong crowd.  Jared hopes that a change from Lubbock to Wolf Creek will make all the difference to Tristan and their relationship which has become increasingly distant.  Now that their family has been narrowed down to two, Jared hopes to make Sheriff and settle down permanently in a town where the wolf shifters outnumber humans 3 to 1, even if the humans aren’t aware of the fact.

When a fight in a bar brings Nate and Jared together, both men realize they are mates.  But Jared is afraid the town won’t vote for a gay Sheriff and Rick’s death has left Nate feeling unworthy of Jared, so  neither man acknowledges their bond.  But someone is causing trouble for the pack in Wolf Creek and the Supernatural Council is sending operatives to evaluate the situation and the current pack leadership.  As everything becomes increasingly unsettled, Nate and Jared will have to come together to fight for their pack’s and Tristan’s safety or have their decision to remain apart threaten the stability of those they love.

The Shifters’ Haven series is built around Wolf Creek, Texas and its pack of wolf shifters.  Wolf Creek is two thirds shifters in population, a situation that the human population is ignorant of as all shifters have worked hard to keep themselves hidden. Each book brings together a different mated pair with a continuous plot line of dissension among the Supernatural Council which is composed of shifters of all types, from hawk to cougar. From the first installment, you are made aware of the Council who governs all shifters with their rules and regulations and the possibility of corruption within that impacts Wolf Creek and beyond.  From book to book, each time a member of the Council intervenes or arrives on the scene, you become less assured as to who the “good guys” are.  Also each book widens the Wolf Creek pack with new family members and sometime new species of shifters are given haven.

Nate’s Deputy is the 5th in the Shifters’ Haven series and is being touted as a standalone too. But I would discount that as each book brings more of the backstory of Wolf Creek and its denizens as well as contributes to the mystery concerning the supernatural Council.  Lavinia Lewis does a wonderful job with her characterizations of the town’s members as well as her vivid descriptions of Texas, dusty and hot in the summer season.  You can almost feel the dirt and sweat accumulate on your skin or fur under the Texas sun. Wolf Creek is populated with all types of personalities, some craven, some hiding secret ambitions and agendas under bland exteriors as well as the stalwart and the noble ,the insecure and the downtrodden.  I think Lewis has crafted some wonderful individuals to populate her novels and Nate and Jared are no exceptions.  Nate, with his survivor grief to go along with brotherly guilt over his relationship with Rick, is someone we all can relate to.  He is so unsettled, so distraught with himself that the idea of someone else finding him worthy is hard for Nate to accept.  Jared too is realistic. He earned my sympathy and affection as he tries to assume responsibility for his younger brother, manage his own grief on losing his father and settle into a new town and job  while feeling utterly overwhelmed by the challenges in front of him.  Jared’s stress is palpable.

Another nice touch in this shifter series is that neither Nate or Jared want to accept or acknowledge their status as mates.  Usually in this and other series, the moment a mate is found, it is all about instant bonding with a straight shot to love happily ever after.  Not so much here.  Jared has his brother to think of and the ambition to become Sheriff in a town not always tolerant of gays.  Nate is uncertain about his future in Wolf Creek, still trying to come to terms with his brother’s death and his own lack of a role within the pack.  No rush to love here, just two men who happen to be shifters dealing with life’s roadblocks and detours.  I really liked their fumble towards a relationship.

My quibble here regards the continuing issues within the Supernatural Council and the problems they caused here.  The end seemed abrupt and a little too streamlined considering all the events leading up to the denouement, especially considering the main issue for the shifters of whether to remain hidden or come out to the human population is never really addressed.  Perhaps that is coming down the line in future books.  I can only hope so.  My other quibble is the length of the books.  All are novellas and could be helped by the addition of more length, more exposition.  Still  I found this to be a wonderful new installment to a terrific series.

Once again Posh Gosh is giving us lush, gorgeous covers for the entire series.  Beautiful branding and great design for each and every book.

Here are the Shifter Haven series in the order they were written and should be read in order to fully appreciate the characters, relationships and plots.

Luke’s Surprise (Shifters’ Haven #1) . Luke Morgan and Mark Malone’s story

Cody’s Revelation (Shifters’ Haven #2) – Cody Morgan and Stefan Drake’s story

Kelan’s Pursuit (Shifters’ Haven #3) – Kelan Morgan and Jake Bradfield’s story

Aaron’s Awakening (Shifters’ Haven #4) – Aaron Drake and Cary Lewis

Nate’s Deputy (Shifters’ Haven #5)

Gregory’s Rebellion (Shifters’ Haven #6)

Pete’s Persuasion (Shifters’ Haven #7) coming in October 2012