Author: Cheryl Dragon
Publisher: Loose Id
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Plenty of men have tried to get ranch hand Blake Louis to The Love Shack but none succeed. At the White family ranch, Blake has found friends and a home. He desperately wants to stay. Yet he must keep his shifter secret and avoid his feelings for Jared White. This job has to work out. No one ever wanted him forever—none of his family did—so why would a rich successful rancher want more than a roll in the hay with a dirt poor ranch hand?
Screwing the staff is a bad idea but Jared White needs more than sex from Blake. The men are friends but he’ll risk it for a chance at more. Love has never worked for Jared and a childhood rival delights in sabotaging him. Jared can’t give up hope. He believes that Blake is the one.
The only smart place to start is The Love Shack, a neutral place where Jared isn’t the boss and Blake isn’t the hand. Determined to win Blake’s heart, Jared delves into Blake’s past. As amazing as the sex is, Blake resists sweet promises. Love, trust, and happiness are as crazy to Blake as the bobcat he can shift into.
Review: Wow! That’s the first impression that I was left with after reading this book. It seemed almost selfish to add on the shifter part because there was so much else going on in this story of love and self-acceptance out on the ranch in Montana. There were stories within stories and I just loved it!
Honestly, Blake Louis has had just a terrible life up to now. His mother was a drug-addicted wreck who would whore herself out to get the cash for her next fix. Bad for Blake, because it left him sad, alone, and not knowing who his dad was. A kind stranger in a motel saw the bruises on his body and turned his mother into the state. He’d been handed over to his aunt and uncle while still quite young, but they were strict and his aunt didn’t really like him. He’d known he was homosexual at a young age, and getting caught by his aunt and uncle in a hook-up with a neighboring boy had gotten him three times the chores as punishment. This, along with his aunt’s disgust and his uncle’s disappointment, made him feel like his sexuality was something he needed to hide. He’d also been quite surprised by his first bobcat shift, as it came completely out of the blue–a gift from the father he never knew. His aunt and uncle were quite shocked too–another score against him. So after his uncle died in an accident while fixing the roof, Blake left when he hit 17.
Blake traveled around the United States, working at ranching, picking up knowledge about the different types of animals and how to raise them. He finally landed at the cattle ranch of the White family and was feeling like he’d like to stay. He was fitting in more and more and doing really well. And at the sixty-fifth birthday of the patriarch and owner of the White Ranch, he learned that being gay at this particular ranch was not only tolerated but accepted. What a relief! Two of the four White sons were gay, and Jared–the one he was interested in–was one of them. And he invited Blake to meet him at The Love Shack that night.
The Love Shack was an old shack/barn that had been refurbished by the owners of the four ranches bordering on it as a place for the ranch hands to go and relax and kick back. It had a bar, a large-screen television, a pool table and all the amenities. It also had a room in the back for hook ups. The owners all felt it was better and safer for the ranch hands to stay on the property instead of driving on the roads going into town, drinking and then coming home. This way they could do it safely, in private, on their own lands. For those straight cowboys not interested in the hooking up aspect, they used it for the bar, the television, and the companionship of the other hands. But for the gay crowd, it was that and more.
Jared White is the baby of the family, and sometimes he feels like he’s not pulling his load. All of his brothers have a certain job that they do, but he’s sort of a free agent on the ranch. He’d like to have more direction. Plus, he’d love to be in a relationship. He sees himself in a long-term marriage with a husband and adopted kids, in a place all their own. And he thinks Blake might be the one. If only he could get Blake to let go and let loose. To talk to him! But he’s been burned by love before; and the boyfriend he brought home from college not only dumped him after a year of convincing him they were a sure bet but tried to get money from his parents at the same time. So he’s trying to make sure that this time he’s not just thinking with his dick.
So you take an emotionally insecure shifting homosexual who’s been abandoned and run off from every place he’s ever been because of who he is … add an overly entitled, pretty boy who needs someone to love him for himself. Put them together on bar stools in The Love Shack. Shake, add in a jealous neighbor, a hostile older brother, an ex-con mom from the past… You get some pretty hot sex scenes and a relationship that may wander a bit but ends up…. magic! Good luck reading!