The first book in this series captivated me and I enjoyed all the characters, the setting, the writing, and the audio narration. Bridge Sullivan and Eric Palmer were both strong supporting characters with Bridge being a real favorite. I was excited to see that Bridge and Eric were the stars of book two.
The book might be read as a standalone or out of order in a pinch, but it works best following the first book as it has really strong connections.
The story opens with Bridge Sullivan, cowboy and rodeo pick up man, contemplating his life just before the next rodeo. Well the sexual side of his life anyway. He’d developed a fixation for Eric Palmer the rodeo medic and Eric had starred in his dreams and stayed in his thoughts over the last several months. Now, with the coming of the new season, he was eager to see Eric again. Guess that made him gay, bi-sexual, or ‘Eric-sexual’. But being Bridge, he wasn’t stunned and took it in stride. He’d find a way to speak to Eric and then share with his friends and family. Hopefully Eric would be into him as much as Bridge was into Eric.
Unfortunately, Eric didn’t take Bridge’s interest the way he wanted. Eric Palmer had a past full of people from parents, to foster parents, to boyfriends who had all walked away and left him. Just the idea of a guy like Bridge being interested in Eric leaves him in a panic. Because even if Bridge wasn’t experimenting with being with a man, Eric knew that Bridge would walk away and with Bridge would go Kent, Marty, and Trip who were close to Bridge and now his friends.
But it was hard to resist the handsome, warm, and determined Bridge so Eric decided he could be with Bridge and hold him at arm’s length.
This was another beautiful story in the series. The plot revolves around Bridge’s determined and careful pursuit of Eric. It seems a simple story and a fun setting with the rodeo and ranching as the backdrop along with the hardworking, fun-loving group of guys, but there are some deeper elements in play. Bridge’s sexuality didn’t cause him much of a concern and he didn’t want to slap a label on it. Bisexuals have it tough convincing others that they can be faithful long-term or that the other person is enough for them. But this was not the biggest issue. Eric would have been skittish even if Bridge was always considered gay and in the open. Because another element was that Eric had abandonment issues as many foster kids do along with a few bad relationship experiences.
As a result, the pace of this one is slow-moving and spends a lot of time teasing out thoughts and feelings instead of offering up lots of action. Bridge’s side is steady, but Eric can get angsty with his fears.
This pair had great chemistry. Actually, Bridge had great chemistry without help. Just getting his thoughts and dialogue had me grinning and envious of Eric. He’s just so forthright, but he also has a bit of the devil in him when he starts flirting and seducing Eric. Loved that the author wrote in little moments, a steady progress forward, but didn’t leave out the passion.
The story didn’t neglect the other characters. I loved having Trip and Marty right there along with Kent and the rest of Bridge’s family. I liked meeting a couple more cowboys and look forward to seeing where the series goes.
As with the first book, the narration work of Dorian Bane was right on the money for this story. The masterful way he brought Bridge’s slow deep drawl and Eric’s twangy quick New Yorker was fabulous. All the voices were recognizable. The pace, emotions, and overall storytelling are sheer pleasure to the ears.
All in all, this second installment of the series was easily as engaging as the first. These are for those who enjoy m/m contemporary romance set against the world of a state rodeo circuit and ranch life with a character-driven and passionate romance.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this story in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #70 LGBT
Literary Pickers #67 workgloves
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