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Monday, August 17, 2015

Review: Last of the Red Hot Riders by Tina Leonard

Has anyone read the first book in the series? Would you recommend it to me or not?

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Random House Publishing - Loveswept
Release Date: May 26, 2015

The toughest rodeo rider in Hell, Texas, discovers his tender side with a feisty cowgirl in this sexy new novel from USA Today bestselling author Tina Leonard.

Cameron Dix knows that becoming an elite rider is the first step to realizing her dream: owning a special-needs equestrian academy. Only one thing stands in her way—and he's big, tall, and sizzles like a Texas steak. Superhunk Saint Markham claims that he isn't happy about all the women galloping into town, but the heat in his eyes tells Cameron a different story. What else can a fiery redhead do but let her hair down and give in to desire hot enough to melt her saddle?

Saint has seen what happens when women come marching into the Hell's Outlaws Training Center: Strong men crumble. Problem is, he's got rivals willing to train a talented lady rider like Cameron. But after one night of passion, he's branded. And from the moment he kisses her ruby lips, Cameron is his—even if he's too stubborn to admit it. Now Saint must stake his claim on a life of delicious sin with the woman he loves.

Owning a special needs equestrian academy has always been Cameron Dix’s dream but she’s a smart woman and knows that in order to achieve that dream she has to become one of the best bullfighting riders anyone’s ever seen. The only problem is her unwanted attraction to Saint Markham, her reluctant but drop dead sexy instructor.

After watching his friend and business partner fall in love with one of Cameron’s fellow riders, Saint is convinced that having females in the Hell’s Outlaws Training Center is a bad idea. However if he doesn’t train Cameron, someone else will and he’s not comfortable with the idea that some other man might be on the receiving end of her smiles. One surprise kiss leads to another and to another and before long, Saint is hooked on the pretty redhead. But Cameron’s no wilting flower, she has dreams and goals and she won’t give them up for anyone.

Last of the Red Hot Riders made me want to put on my cowgirl boots and hat and ride out to the nearest small Texas town to find some adventure like Cameron! Then I realized A.) I don’t own cowgirl boots or a hat. B.) I don’t ride and C.) I don’t like the heat. So I had to be content to simply read about a place where the men are tough and the women are tougher.

Saint for all his griping about “lady riders” in his town can’t keep his eyes, and later, his lips off of Cameron. There was plenty of room for Saint to be a chauvinist but he wasn’t. His problem with the lady riders wasn’t so much their being female but because they were distracting his buddies and like most men, Saint didn’t want their good times to end. I loved how he never denied Cameron was talented, but his most attractive trait was that he didn’t stand in the way of her dreams and goals. He definitely believed in “If you love someone, let them go. If they come back to you they were always yours” and I loved that. Cameron made her choices without Saint’s interference which to me made them such a strong couple in the end.

It takes a strong man to be with a strong woman and while Cameron may have lacked experience in the relationship department I didn’t feel it made her weak or stupid. She had such clear focus of where she wanted to go and who she wanted to be. That confidence made her such a big draw to me as I think it’s easy for female characters to become lost to the Damsel in Distress syndrome once they meet a big, strong male. Cameron wasn’t one of those females. In fact, I thought she became stronger and more self aware as the book went on. I loved her and her sometimes over analytical mind.

Last of the Red Hot Riders had a moderate pace to it. It wasn’t too fast nor was it too slow. I did notice that it sometimes dragged in some areas though which made it seem like a longer book than it actually was. I felt that there were scenes that dragged on too long or that just weren’t necessary to further the romance or the overall plot. And while secondary characters can add a lot to a story, in this case it was a bit of the opposite. I liked most of the secondary characters but there were a few that felt a little unnecessary and those characters got too much page time.

But back to Saint and Cameron. These two did a slow dance around each other but it was filled with enough sexual tension to light their little town. The author did a great job of not making their romance feel rushed, especially since both characters were so reluctant to be in a relationship. The attraction was definitely there and in this case I’m glad it took awhile for it to come full circle.

Last of the Red Hot Riders was a battle of the sexes that was just fine with me! The players were evenly matched with Cameron being the type of tough woman I love to read about. Author Tina Leonard has me convinced that she knows how to write a tough and sassy cowgirl and now I’ll be on the lookout for previous books as well as future ones. But in case you’re wondering though, this book can be read as a standalone but there are some events that I think occurred in the previous book that are referenced in this one and left me curious and a bit confused. I missed out on the assembling of the lady riders and more of Mayor Judy Jasper’s sneaky scheming.

Final Verdict: For a fictional setting, Hell, Texas sure had me convinced it was one of the best places to live!

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