Erryn reviews ‘Wild Trail’ (Clean Slate Ranch Book 1) by A.M. Arthur. The ebook was published December 11, 2017.The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Greg Boudreaux, released on December 11, 2017 and is 9 hrs and 17 mins long.
***Check out the giveaway at the bottom of this review for a chance to win a $5 gift card***
Why I read this book: Gay cowboys? Sign me up.
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.
This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
This book is approximately 90,000 words
Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Alissa Davis
Mack runs his family’s dude ranch with the help of his friends Reyes and Colt. Mack is out which is totally fine with his grandfather, Arthur Garrett, who owns the ranch, but not so much with his family with whom he no longer has a meaningful relationship. His grandfather and the employees on the ranch are his family.
Wes has agreed to bring his sister Sophie, her fiancé, his brother, and another friend to the dude ranch for Sophie’s pre-wedding party. Wes is an actor who is very much a city boy, but he adores Sophie and knowing this will make her happy has him packing and heading to the country.
The two men meet and it is…intriguing. Mack is the rugged cowboy who squints and looks perpetually pissed off. Wes likes Katy Perry and has a big smile. They appear polar opposites, but sometimes things aren’t as they appear. Both have had bad relationships which ended under difficult or tragic circumstances. Both are leery of getting involved with anything more than a quick relationship and although Mack doesn’t every sleep with the guests, Wes has him reconsidering this. Although only three years apart in age, Mack comes off as an old grump and Wes could pass as much younger. This dynamic works. I liked that Wes referred to Mack as ‘Daddy’ and loved his chest hair. It was adorable that Mack called Wes ‘boss’, even though it’s clear who was in charge.
It was also nice that there were explicit negotiations and lines were never crossed. And while Wes could have come across as very stereotypical, he didn’t. He wears loud clothes and flirts like crazy, but he also knows when it is appropriate to tone it down and when to speak out.
When the week comes to an end, the men go their separate ways. It seems hopeless, of course. Mack is settled on the ranch and Wes is an actor working out of San Francisco. They do some more negotiating and because this is a romance, so you know things are going to end well. There is also a mystery and some heroics involving Colt, Mack’s friend. The find in the back forty has set up the next two books nicely and I look forward to reading Colt and Reyes’ stories.
The name of the ranch is, of course, symbolic. There are times in life when we need a clean slate. And if we happen to find love while getting that fresh start? All the better, right?
Greg Boudreaux is always a pleasure to listen to. He is talented and works hard at his craft. His characters are well-differentiated and although Wes’ voice is slightly higher, it isn’t effeminate, which wouldn’t have worked. So I await the next two books with bated breath.
10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
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This giveaway ends on December 24, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST. GOOD LUCK!