Early Bird Review | Wild Trail by A.M. Arthur

Wild Trail

About the Book: 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.

Clean Slate Ranch #1
M/M Contemporary Romance

Carina Press | December 11, 2017
amazon2 bn2

Okay, here I go again – there is no way in hell the dude on the cover, leaning back against the wall, is Wes!  Wes was described as tall, lean, with blonde hair so pale it was almost white, and wore loud and bright clothes.  And Mack, if that is Mack, would never be standing outside -where guests could see him- with his shirt flapping open in the breeze.  Does the design team even think of the book contents when they’re making these choices??  I don’t get it.

Ahem. Sorry for my rant.  It’s just a pet peeve of mine.  Anyway, now that I’ve gotten it out of my system let’s talk about the actual book.

I haven’t read a lot of cowboy romance novels.  At this moment, without researching, I can only think of three.  I noticed some of my Goodreads friends were giving Wild Trail pretty good reviews, and the setting of a Dude Ranch really piqued my interest.  (Little Birdie fact, one that probably ages me, but when I was a little girl I was an enormous fan of a show called Hey Dude! on Nickelodeon.  I’ve always wanted to vacation on a Dude Ranch.)  I was confident Wild Trail was a decent bet, and I was right.

I liked how Wes and Mack didn’t jump into bed immediately.  It took time for Wes to get beyond Mack’s walls and gruff exterior, and even once they were physical it still took a bit of time for both men to recognize it wasn’t just some vacation fling.  They had genuine feelings for each other, and even though both were gun shy (that’s Dude Ranch lingo, obvi) after having been burned before they still mostly allowed those feelings to bloom.

I also enjoyed the friendship between Mack and his two best friends, Colt and Reyes.  It was this friendship in particular that’s going to keep me coming back to the Clean Slate Ranch for more.  I can already see where the next two books will go, for both Colt and Reyes, and I already know I want to read them.

(Side note here: is it mandatory for all cowboy or western themed novels to have a dude named Colt in them?  Being a Michigander, perhaps I’m just not aware of the vast ocean of men named Colt West of the Mississippi.)

I also have to warn you, or anyone who may be interested in this read, Wild Trail wasn’t without flaws.  Some of the twists in the story felt cliched.  When you didn’t see them coming it was mostly because it was too obvious, too blatant.  Also, the attraction between Wes and Mack felt more sexual than emotional.  There are probably a lot of readers out there who love this, but I’m more into emotional intimacy than I am physical intimacy.  There were times Wes and Mack were emotionally connected, but it was almost always overshadowed by the need to get physical.

Still, it was a fun book, a light read right when I needed one.  Like eating a piece of ginger after spicy tuna rolls, it was a palate cleanser between my harder/deeper (pun TOTALLY intended) reads.  I really enjoyed it.

Thank you to Carina Press for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3_5 feather

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

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