Format: .mobi (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Sometimes a cowboy needs a second chance.
Some mistakes can't be undone. After making the absolute worst decision of his life, horse veterinarian Drake Brewster will do whatever it takes to make amends with his best friend. And it starts with a summer at the Last Chance Ranch. But not everyone is thrilled about it — especially bartender and psych student Tracy Gibbons.
Tracy sees the world in shades of right and wrong, and what Drake did was Very Definitely Wrong. Worse yet, her promise to babysit a horse sanctuary means relying on Drake. And that's where Tracy finds herself in a serious dilemma. He's the one person she can't trust, but she wants Drake something fierce … and the feeling is fiercely mutual! But if she climbs into the saddle, will she be ready for the ride?
When Drake Brewster decided to go to the Last Chance Ranch to earn his best friend’s forgiveness after sleeping with said friend’s fiancé, he didn’t think he’d be treated to such polite iciness. Apparently, everyone knows Drake’s best friend, Regan O’Connelli and they seem to be on Team Regan. Sadly, this includes Tracy Gibbons, the pretty bartender and temporary house sitter for Regan and his new fiancé Lily.
Try as she might, Tracy can't ignore Drake's presence or the effect he has on her. Unfortunately, a problem at the horse sanctuary forces Tracy to ask Drake for help. As the two spend more time together, Tracy discovers that the "Bad Guy" is really a kind, caring and very lost man trying to find his way in life.
I do love second chance romances but I don't think I've ever read this kind of romance. You know, the kind where the cheating best friend becomes the hero of his own book and repairs his friendship with the buddy he hurt.
Drake was an unknown element when he first appeared in Riding High. I actually couldn't believe he had the guts to try and make up with Regan, let alone place himself right in the middle of Regan's turf, The Last Chance Ranch and the Chance family who quickly close ranks around Regan and treat Drake like he was a three horned demon. I admired Drake for staying put in town where nobody likes him! He's not as confident as other heroes I've encountered.
Tracy on the other hand is more confident. As a bartender and psych student, she knows how to read people and what she sees in Drake is totally different to what everyone has said about him. I loved how at first she sides with Regan because she's such a loyal person but when she's presented with hard evidence against the general consensus, Tracy starts to give Drake a chance to prove that he's not such a bad guy.
The romance between Drake and Tracy was slow to develop but it wasn't dull. Drake was fully aware that the entire town was watching his every step and putting the moves on Tracy wasn't likely to help his quest to win everyone over. He was the hesitant one and this forced Tracy to put the moves on him. Yay Tracy! I do love a woman who goes after what she wants! I liked that Drake and Tracy also formed a friendship with one another and that gave them a strong foundation for a romantic relationship.
While I enjoyed Drake and Tracy's romance, there's just one thing I couldn't get past: How quickly Drake and Regan resolved their friendship. There was no sit down, no fighting, nothing. It was just too clean cut and didn't feel real to me. Then Regan is quick to trust Drake with his new fiance Lily. It was just unbelievable to me how these two could act like nothing happened between them without first talking (or fighting) it out. As for introducing Jeannette, Regan's ex-fiance? That's a gutsy move.
Final Verdict: All in all, Riding Hard is a fun read with lovely characters, a steamy romance and an interesting, if strange triangle that is slowly but surely coming to a close.