Monday, March 27, 2017

Down in the Dirt by Tory Temple

Rodeo cowboy Teagan has inherited his father’s ranch, and it’s in a bad way. To pay his bills, he’ll have to work the rodeo circuit hard, and for that he needs a partner. Team roper Cash is just the ticket. He’s not the friendliest sort, but he has a good seat and a better roping arm, so Teagan takes Cash on and things heat up fast. Maybe too fast.

When Teagan finds out he’s not the only one Cash has in the saddle, he thinks they’re over for good. But then Cash has an accident, and Teagan cares too much about Cash to abandon him. How will he deal with a new Cash, one with no memory of being a bit of an asshole—or of a relationship with Teagan? And how will Cash react when he realizes Teagan has been less than forthcoming about their past?

Like any good rodeo ride, Teagan and Cash have ups and downs, crashing and burning as often as they blaze bright. But to make their love work as smoothly as their roping, they’ll have to push past deception and stubborn pride.

2nd Edition
First Edition published as Tabula Rasa by Torquere Press, 2007.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

In a genre full of bull riders, Teagan and Cash’s roping team is refreshing. I enjoyed learning more about an interesting event that is not quite as well-known as other rodeo events. The relationship between the ropers starts when Teagan finds himself in desperate need of a replacement partner, but it quickly becomes something more.

I struggled with this story. I felt that while both the characters and the story had the potential to be amazing, the potential was never fully realised.

When we meet Teagan, he is struggling to keep his family ranch and using his rodeo winnings to pay the bills. As much as I wanted to fall for Teagan, there wasn’t anything that made him special or even real to me.

If Teagan is a fairly bland but honourable cowboy, Cash is an asshole for most of the story. Only pieces of his past are ever revealed, so we know he’s trouble but we never really know why. To actually care for such a difficult character, I need a pretty traumatic back story but there was never an explanation for Cash’s behaviour.

The romance didn’t work at all for me. Aside from a brief interlude in the middle of the story, the relationship between Cash and Teagan is a fairly miserable mix of hookups, infidelity, miscommunication, and graphic sex scenes. Only Teagan seems capable of remorse, but I didn’t understand why he was the one apologising.

So… I enjoyed the rodeo and ranch scenes in this story, but I didn’t really warm to either character and their romance wasn’t one I wanted to believe in.

Oh I had high hopes for this book. Most cowboy M/M books are pretty good even when the plot isn't that great. This book just didn't do it for me. I liked how Teagan was open minded about Cash when everyone else didn't seem to like him. Cash didn't seem like that big of a douche as the author led you to believe either. He wasn't perfect, but I have seen worse. I understand why Cash got mad at Teagan towards the end, it happens in almost every book when amnesia is involved. Even with all the sex, this book still didn't push my buttons.

This has many of the familiar elements of a cowboy MM romance. And the roping events and the times at the ranch are pleasingly familiar. I struggled, however, to get to grips with the story, because I kept thinking to myself, 'but why?' And even as I read on, I still had questions. We do learn some background issues, but they don't really explain the why. Some are very simple questions, such as 'why is the ranch in a bad way?'; others more relating to the couple and their behaviour.

We never really get to know Teagan or Cash, and whilst we see very little of Cash's background, we see Teagan interact with a number of people, and yet they don't give us anything much to help either. Strangely, it isn't until something is lacking that you realise that you miss it – and here I did. That said, there are some very touching sections, like the scenes with his dog, and how the horses Delilah and Tag behave together.

Everyone reads a book differently, so I will be interested to read other reviews, and enjoy thinking of cowboys in super soft worn denim.

TORY TEMPLE lives and works in southern California where she happens to spend a lot of time around firefighters. It makes for excellent storytelling, so Tory definitely uses that to her advantage! She is guardian to three pit bulls who only attack with kisses, two snobby cats, as well as other assorted friends from the animal kingdom. (Husband included.) Her fondest wish is to be a stay-at-home dog mom. You can tempt her with promises of cheese and/or Mexican food. On Saturday nights, she is usually watching Netflix and thinking about how to get the newest firemen in her head to hook up. Tory loves reader e-mails and looks forward to hearing from anyone who wants to drop her a line.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Down in the Dirt by Tory Temple to read and review.

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