Saturday, July 9, 2016

Roped In by Marie Sexton & L.A. Witt

Graham and his roping partner, Jackson, have been friends since they were boys. They've ruled the rodeo scene for ten years running, but lately, Graham’s heart isn’t in the game. He’s tired of the bruises, the cowboy mentality, and the animal rights activists who picket every event. He's also tired of being in love with Jackson, and nothing’s been the same between them since their disastrous drunken encounter the year before.

Then Graham has a run-in with one of the rodeo protesters, and everything changes. Kaz is young, idealistic, and sexy as hell. But he's also a know-it-all, animal-loving vegan, bent on saving the world one cow at a time. They have next to nothing in common, but Graham can't stop thinking about what might happen if they can stop butting heads long enough to give it a try. Unfortunately, no matter how attracted Graham is to other men, he always panics and runs when the clothes start to come off. But Kaz has an idea for getting Graham past his nerves and into bed.

All they need is a bit of rope.

Note: This is a re-edited second edition of a previously published title.

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Riptide Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This was a really sexy, but somewhat bittersweet read for me. I think that the underlying story was good, although short. The discovery about himself that Graham made when with Kaz was beautifully explored. But I could not see why he couldn't expect Jackson to be able to step up, after all those years as friends. I rather hope there is a story for Jackson too. Good quality writing, hot passionate scenes, and pages which turned themselves.

Thank you Ms. Sexton and Ms. Witt.

Considering that Roped In is a novella, I wasn’t sure of how much story to expect. Yet Sexton and Witt do an excellent job of setting the stage quickly and moving the storyline forward at a steady pace. The built-in history between Graham and Jackson, and the eggshells between them, gives the reader the chance to take Graham’s emotional temperature almost immediately. Just as the opening scene in which the animal rights protestors face off against the cowboys is a great way to show the spark of attraction between Graham and Kaz, the HUGE obstacle they face, and how deep the rift has gotten between Graham and Jackson.

I feel it important to say that I read an M/M western romance series that is set in the rodeo world and while it acknowledges that the rodeo circuit is full of bigotry, it focuses on a tight knit group of men who are gay and their friends who don’t shun them because of it. So even though the mindset in Roped In is the norm for the rodeo world, it isn’t for my reading experience and I had to reorient myself to Graham having to live his life in the closet in order to compete. And his closet is an even lonelier place to be since his drunken fumbling with Jackson a year earlier, because while Jackson was up for it at them time, he’s now quick to stress that he ain’t that way. To make matters worse, Graham is feeling too old for the rodeo and he’s not sure it’s worth it anymore – especially having to deal with the headache the protestors have become. It doesn’t help any that the first man to catch his eye since Jackson, is smack-dab in the middle of the crowd, holding a protest sign of his own. For reasons unknown even to himself, Graham asks the protestor to meet him later that evening for a beer and to start a dialogue about their differences. When one thing leads to another, acknowledging their attraction is only the first hurdle they must overcome. And no matter how well they click in the bedroom, is there any real future between a vegan, animal rights protestor and a meat-loving, rodeo rider? (No pun intended.)

I really enjoyed Roped In. Nothing about the relationship between Graham and Kaz is easy. Not their first meeting. Not the sex. Not their differences. Not their breakup. And yet, Sexton and Witt do a great job of making their journey feel realistic. It’s not unheard of for two people with such different fundamental beliefs to get involved. It’s why we say opposites attract. Witnessing them stumble, falter, and fall along the way is what made the book enjoyable. The added conflict between Graham and Jackson added depth to the novella and made Graham’s choice to try with Kaz an actual choice. Even though their breakup was inevitable, I loved the way in which the authors brought them back together. It was the perfect compromise for their differences and made for one heck of a funny negotiation scene at the end. It’s not often I get to laugh at post-coital conversation in a non-romcom. While I’m a regular reader of Witt’s writing (of her many pennames), this is the first book I’ve read by Sexton. I’m pleased to say that I look forward to checking out more of her writing because she comes highly recommend to me by one of my co-reviewers and Roped In certainly supports that recommendation.

Marie Sexton

Marie lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Marie also writes dark dystopian fantasy under the name A.M. Sexton.

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L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn't lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don't tell Lauren. And definitely don't tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut...

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Roped In by Marie Sexton & L.A. Witt to read and review.

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