by Cameron Dane, contemporary (2008)
Liquid Silver Books, $6.10, ISBN 978-1-59578-467-4
Cameron Dane's Ride features what I'd consider a potential hot button issue, depending on how you look at things. The hero, Duke Boone, is old enough to be the heroine's father. Of course, they are both adults, but some readers may not like such a May-December scenario, so pick your poison.
I am not familiar with this author and Ride doesn't come off like a standalone story (more like the continuation of a story whose earlier parts I have not read), so I am only guessing when I say that this book is probably related to the author's Loose Id works Renecade and Falling.
At any rate, when the story opens, I know that Risa Forrester loves Duke Boone but Duke had previously been playing hard to get. Risa, however, wants to play in this story. She and Duke end up having an affair even as she takes on the professional bull-riding circuit. In the midst of plenty of sex scenes, these two will encounter one or two obligatory personality conflicts here and there to keep things interesting.
I don't really know whether I should say more. With this coming off like the continuing of an ongoing family soap opera and with me being not familiar with the previous works by this author, I'm not exactly sure what is or isn't a spoiler. At any rate, I believe I can safely say that there aren't too many external conflicts here, just plenty of bed-bopping fun and some "Oh, the guy is afraid of his feelings!" issues at play. It's not that this book is hard to follow if I haven't read the previous books, mind you, but there are still enough missing pieces of information here and there that affect my enjoyment of the story.
I personally don't have any particular issue with both Duke and Risa. They are likable characters. Unfortunately, Ride does push one hot button of mine: Ms Cameron can write in such an unbelievably sappy way that makes me cringe. Take a look at the excerpt below.
"I'm not going anywhere." Duke moved in behind Risa and curled his big hands around her shoulders, spreading warmth down her arms and into her icy-cold hands.
Leaning down, he spoke next to her ear. "I've seen that little front light on in this place every night this week. You keep coming here looking for answers where none exist. Nate was one hell of a character and he lived a full life. But at eighty-five years old, it was just his time to go. He had no regrets, and I think he loved the last years of his life the most."
Duke is a very tender hero here, free with his protective instincts and comforting touches that he is like a dream version of a Daddy/Boyfriend type, but yikes, look at the things he is saying. He speaks like a shrink on a talkshow rather than a manly macho sheriff. Similarly, the author spreads on the sentimental sweetness liberally in this story extending outside of mere conversations. I often fear for my blood sugar level as I read this story. This may be a small town, but the relationship of an openly gay couple is openly accepted by everyone, it seems. Ms Cameron is writing an Utopian version of a Hallmark drama here, where Brokeback Mountain meets My Hot, Hairy, And Well-Hung Sugar Daddy, but the liberal saccharine sweetness is too much for me to take.
Apart from the fact that I often cringe at various parts of this story because of all that sickeningly sweet sap, Ride isn't a bad read at all.
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