Extreme Bull by Catt Ford
I have to admit to a certain soft spot for rodeo based stories, especially those involving bull riders or rodeo clowns, so I was looking forward to this and I was not disappointed!
The basic plot is a fairly standard romance cliché - two rivals discover that under the antipathy lies a strong vein of lust, they have sex, they have fights, and eventually they fall in love - but it's dealt with well and doesn't feel at all clichéd when you're reading it.
The setting is dealt with in enough detail to feel like you're really there without the author going overboard. Ms Ford manages to make us feel as if we're behind the scenes at the rodeo with our heroes without either feeling the need to over-explain the details or requiring the reader to know anything about the rodeo, which is a real achievement. I feel she's done her research, but hasn't felt the need to prove that by hammering us over the head with unnecessary information.
The two heroes are both incredibly sexy and yet very real as well. I loved the way the two of them, especially Clay, struggled with what their relationship said about them and their sexuality and yet the author never laid it on too thick and didn't layer the angst on with a shovel as some authors do.
The emotion between the two heroes was palpable, whether it was lust, love, or anger, and I was really rooting for them to work things out, even though it's a romance novel so the happy ending was guaranteed. It didn't feel inevitable and I was so happy when things finally worked out for them.
There is some quite rough language in there, as you would expect with the setting and the characters, including frequent use of anti-gay slurs, which could have been uncomfortable, but I thought the author pulled it off well and it never seemed gratuitous or there just to increase the angst level - it felt right.
And the sex scenes? Oh my, someone find me a cold shower! Hot, sexy, and full of emotion. I'm definitely going to look for the related novel telling the story of Doug and Jamie, who we meet briefly in this story.
VERDICT - Click the link and buy this one! 5 out of 5