5 Stars, Genre Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Pride Publishing, Reviewed by Maryann, Sarah Masters

Review: Outcast Cowboys by Sarah Masters

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Title: Outcast Cowboys

Author: Sarah Masters

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages

At a Glance: I was not disappointed in this page-turner at all.

Reviewed By: Maryann

Blurb: What’s His Passion?

You can run but you can’t hide. Problems have a habit of following you, even if it’s only inside your head.

Ross decides to start a new life away from the grim belly of London, England, unable to stomach being a cop any longer. He tells himself he’s moving miles away to find himself a bed partner, but he’s lying. He has to. Facing up to the real reason he’s leaving isn’t something he can handle. His last undercover job proved too much—his life was at risk—and if he stays in London he’ll likely end up dead. Nightmares plague him, his subconscious unable to switch the past off. So he moves to a ranch in America, thinking the new surroundings and different lifestyle will help him to heal—and to forget. What he soon realizes is he’s jumping from the frying pan into the fire…

Joe’s passion—that of caring for the horses—is the only thing that keeps him sane. He’s a surly man, and for good reason—a reason he hasn’t told a soul. Folks think he’s mean and unapproachable and suspect him of committing murder. More than once. Locals assume that Joe got let off the hook. Nothing could be further from the truth, but Joe lets people think what they will. He’s done with their speculation and sly looks.

When Ross and Joe meet, tension is rife. The air between them prickles with animosity as well as sexual tension. Both have a past they can’t get over. Both have skeletons in their closets they wish would turn to dust. And both have to make a decision. Can they cast their fears aside and trust each other, or have the terrors they’ve experienced ruined them for love?

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Review: Sarah Masters is one of my favorite authors, so I decided to see where she was going with Outcast Cowboys since cowboys and ranches are not usually what Ms. Masters writes. I was not disappointed in this page-turner at all. Outcast Cowboys is heartrending, with a dark psychological feel, and is a little eerie too, as death seems to be a part of this ranch—along with a horse that has a mysterious role. The book does have a warning about non-consensual sex, but it also contains several suicides, which might be disturbing to readers as well.

When the story begins, we meet Ross Jones arriving in America to start a new life on a ranch—which is extremely different from being a cop in England. As a former police officer, he doesn’t scare easily, and he’s out spoken and suspicious. As the story goes on, it takes us into Ross’s world: him working undercover, the intolerance he faces because he’s gay, and the realization he’s never felt safe. He fights to face his demons too.

Ross arrives at the ranch and meets Grenadier, Joe, and Limmy, and learns of a fourth brother, Mike. The brothers are hiding terrible secrets, and Joe is always at the center of all the trouble at the ranch. Jealousy, threats, guilt and harassment, it was heartbreaking to see brothers treat each other so badly.

When Ross first meets Joe, Joe’s rude and mean. The more we learn about him and his brothers, we see Ross’s feelings change towards Joe. Ross did have his doubts about Joe at times, but he also defended him, struggling with his cop-side and wanting to do the right thing, especially when he begins to fear for Joe’s life and comes up with a plan to take him out of this ugly environment.

l feared for both Ross and Joe throughout the story, especially Joe because of his brothers. Sometimes I even doubted Joe’s innocence. And even towards the end of this story, tragedy prevailed, but Ms. Masters did leave me feeling that Ross and Joe had an HEA and found closure in their lives.

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3 Stars, Carol Lynne, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jennifer, Totally Bound

Review: Welcome to Lobster Cove by Carol Lynne

Title: Welcome to Lobster Cove (Lobster Cove: Book One)

Author: Carol Lynne

Publisher: Pride Publications/Totally Bound

Pages/Word Count: 91 Pages

At a Glance: Short and at times slow, but a fairly promising start to a new series.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: When following your dream lands you in Lobster Cove, Maine, anything is possible.

After gaining custody of his younger brother, Boone Jensen moves to a unique LGBT community on the coast of Maine. There, he hopes to find work as a stonemason, heal his broken heart and give his brother a safe place to call home.

Life was good in New York City for chef Dante Madia, until his business partner betrayed him. Determined to trust only himself, Dante risks everything on a new restaurant venture in a small fishing village built on acceptance.

Neither man is looking for love, but in a town like Lobster Cove, secret dreams have the ability to become realities.

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Review: Carol Lynne is not new to writing about LGBT communities. If you’re not familiar with her work, she has another series (thirty books) called Cattle Valley that is a safe haven for gay men. The community expands in this book to Lobster Cove, Maine. Now, I love Maine. It’s pretty much heaven on earth. And the idea of an LGBT community is perfect. I did like this book and the premise, but at times it was slow.

Boone moves to Lobster Cove with his younger brother Laddy, of whom he has full custody. He is to work as a stonemason at the new restaurant in town, and then find another job to support him and his brother so he can continue to live there. Dante is a chef from NYC who moves to Lobster Cove for a change of pace after he loses everything in NYC. Of course, we know the two men are going to meet and hit it off.

What really made the book for me, honestly, was Laddy and his relationship with his brother. Laddy has Down Syndrome, and his worldview is honest and sweet. He is portrayed in what I thought of as a positive manner, and the community really rallies around him once they get to know him. I loved that. And I loved that no one talked down to him because of his disability. They just accept him as part of their community and keep an eye out for him. His friendship with Ava is great, and even though she seemed pushy at first in going with Dante to Maine, I’m glad she did. She talks to Laddy and treats him like a regular person.

I guess the fact that I talk about the secondary characters more than the main characters says something simultaneously positive and negative about the book. The secondary characters are fully realized and developed, and they grow on you. The main characters are a bit lackluster, though, and I got kind of bored whenever Laddy wasn’t on the page.

I will continue to read this series; however, I hope the pace is better in the next book, and the main characters are more engaging.

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