Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wild Trail by A.M. Arthur

Welcome to Clean Slate Ranch: home of tight jeans, cowboy boots, and rough trails. For some men, it's a fantasy come true.

Mack Garrett loves the rolling hills surrounding his Northern California dude ranch. Leading vacationers on horse trails with his two best friends is enough – romance is definitely not in the cards. When a sexy tourist shows up at Clean Slate, he's as far from Mack's type as can be. So why is the handsome city slicker so far under his skin in less than a day?

Roughing it in the middle of nowhere isn't anywhere near Wes Bentley's idea of fun. Then he lays eyes on the gruffest, hottest papa bear he's ever seen. But Mack is as hard to pin down as he looks – distant, sharp-tongued, and in desperate need of a shave. Until a campout gone wrong strands both men in the mountains with nothing to do but get to know each other.

Mack intends to keep his closely guarded heart out of Wes' very talented hands. But for a seven-day cowboy, Wes is packing some long-term possibility. The cold country air can do wonders for bringing bodies together – but it will take more than that to bridge the distance between two men whose lives are worlds apart.

This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise!

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Book 1
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Carina Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This is fabulous cowboy porn! What’s not to love about a beautiful guest ranch run by handsome cowboys? Wes and Mack meet when Wes visits the ranch with the rest of his sister’s wedding party. Their connection starts with a hookup and it quickly becomes something more.

Mack is the perfect cowboy fantasy. He’s surly, reclusive, and better with horses than humans. He’s still recovering from a traumatic time as an LA SWAT team member at his family’s ranch when he meets Wes.

Wes is a Californian actor and he lives up to most of Mack’s assumptions about actors. He is flamboyant. He’s high maintenance and he’s full of drama. But he is also warm and loyal and sweet. It takes time for Mack to get past his prejudice, but Wes eventually brings out the best in the surly cowboy.

I loved the interplay and the chemistry between Mack and Wes. I loved the colourful characters on the ranch and I enjoyed following Wes and his friends’ experiences during their week on the ranch. And the descriptions of the ranch food made me want to book a flight.

I did struggle some with the slightly disjointed plot. The book is organised into three distinct parts. I loved the first third of the book which focuses on Wes’ visit to the ranch and the start of Wes and Mack’s relationship. I enjoyed the ‘old mining town’ storyline but it felt like a whole second story and it changed the focus of the novel from a simple cowboy romance to more of a mystery. The last third focuses more on Wes and Mack again but it was missing some of the magic from their initial connection. The three parts don’t blend terribly well.

Great start to a new series. It wasn't too wordy and kept the reader’s attention the entire time. I loved Wes and Mack. Total opposites, neither looking for a relationship but both falling hard and fast. There was a little angst, but it went with the story and didn't feel forced. I love how Mack went to Wes when he found out a secret from his past that really hurt him. That right there proved how much Mack wanted and needed Wes. I can't wait for the next book. I hope it's Miles book, he was making my heart hurt and wanting to reach thru my Kindle and hug him. Highly recommend this book.

This is a really good book in a new series, which is great news for 2018. There are so many ways that it can go in the future, and all of them will be appealing! In this installment there is a small amount of world building, which gives us the bones to the ranch and its set up. The meat is provided in the form of some seriously hot and horny, recently minted cowboys who run the ranch. Add in an inclusive atmosphere and a group of guests who press those cowboys' buttons and there are stories to be told.

Here Mack is entranced by Wes, whether he wants to be or not – and Wes may protest that it is just short-term lust, but that doesn't come across in their conversations at all. Instead, they are considered, caring, and trusted. In spite of past romantic disasters, and constant reminders due to their careers, it is evident to us, even if not to them, where this will go. The chemistry between them was scorching, that is for sure.

Along the way there is a lot of fun banter, a group of friends who care for each other, but will tease to the nth degree, and adventures at the dude ranch in the wild west of Northern Cali. I really enjoyed the conversations, and the hints at future storylines too. Looking forward to the next book very much.

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone's throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She's been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn't been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur's work is available from Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments).

Connect with A.M.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wild Trail (Clean Slate Ranch #1) by A.M. Arthur to read and review.

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