The Cowboy and the Rascal (Farthingdale Valley #1) by Jackie North
First, you have to trust. Then comes trust in return. Then comes love.
Gabe’s working hard to save up to buy his own cattle ranch. That dream is years in the future, but he’s a patient man.
For now, he’ll be the first team lead in the valley’s ex-con rehab project. The idea is, put a parolee to work for a summer and he’ll have a leg up on the rest of his life.
Blaze, who’s just been released from prison after serving two years for a crime he did not commit, is among the first group of parolees to enter the program.
Nobody believes he’s innocent, including Gabe.
After all, all ex-cons are just liars, right?
A gay m/m cowboy romance with age gap, hurt/comfort, opposites attract, forced intimacy, emotional scars, lumberjack stuff, fish out of water, trust issues. A little sweet, a little steamy, with a guaranteed HEA.
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4 out of 5 (very good)
THE COWBOY AND THE RASCAL is the first book in the Farthingdale Valley series, a spin-off from Farthingdale Ranch. Leland, Maddy, Quint, Jasper, and Ellis all make an appearance, which I loved, but the main story is about Gabe and Blaze. Gabe is Team Lead on Leland's new project and Blaze is a parolee.
Gabe is slow to anger and prepared to accept anyone - if they are prepared to work. Kurt, Wayne, Tom, and Blaze make up his first crew and they're a mixed bag to be sure. I'm not going to say what happens with the others apart from I really hope Wayne has his story told. He intrigued me!
Back to Gabe and Blaze - their relationship is a slow-build but consistent. Gabe has his doubts because of the 'rules and regulations' of who he is and what they're doing, but no doubts about Blaze himself. Nope, it's Blaze who can't see that Gabe wants him for him, that he will ever be good enough for Gabe. Jasper is Gabe's friend and, having been through a similar situation, helps Gabe find the right answers.
I loved being back in Farthingdale, whether it's Ranch or Valley, I really don't care. Gabe and Blaze get a HFN ending so I'm really hoping to see more of them as the series progresses. A brilliant start and one I definitely recommend.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and travel the world. She also wanted to put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.
As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she turned her grocery-store romance ideas around and is now putting them to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)
She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.
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