Rode Hard, Put Up Wet

This book is a two for one. Not that it’s two separate stories or novels but that two couples find love and their lives are intertwined with each other. 
Gemma Jansen is a widow. Her husband use to supply rough stock for rodeos and she tried to continue doing this. For some reason, no one will give her a contract. She’s pretty sure that it was due to her last foreman and she’s looking to hire a new one. She knows who she wants to hire. They’ve been friends for years and last year he was ready to make it more but Gemma wasn’t. Now, Gemma is willing to take the chance, if Cash Big Crow is still willing.
Cash has been on the rodeo circuit for years. It’s finally caught up with him and he’s no longer participating in the events but working the stock. He’s been offered jobs at different ranches but he turns them all down. He’s just not interested. This summer, he’s being joined by his 22 year old daughter Macie. They don’t really know each other but they want to try. Cash was 16 to Macie’s mother’s 26 when Macie was born. Her mother drug Macie all over and never gave her any real stability. When Gemma offers Cash the foreman’s job on her ranch, he agrees if she can meet his two conditions. The first is that Macie is allowed to live on the ranch for as long she likes. The other is that while Gemma may be his boss, after work hours, she’ll be in his bed and he’ll be in charge.
Macie is looking forward to really getting to know her dad. She’s never had this opportunity before and wants it to work out. She recently lost her job as a waitress when a guy put his hands where they didn’t belong and she dumped a pitch of tea on him. She found out why her artist boyfriend wasn’t putting his hands on her when she walked into his apartment finding him with his good friend being a lot more than friends. She should have known that he was gay! Macie isn’t sure about living on Gemma’s ranch but she’s willing to try, though the thoughts of working on it aren’t pleasant. That is why when she sees a help wanted sign at a local restaurant she applies and is given a job where she’ll cook part time and waitress part time. It’s perfect for Macie.
Carter McKay has been helping on Gemma’s ranch. His family has a big spread about two hours away but Carter agreed to come up and help Gemma out while he’s getting ready for an art show. Carter is an artist and is working on getting pieces done. He sees a vision of a woman in his head but can’t seem to get it right. When he sees Macie though his vision has come to life! He wants her to pose for him but she just wants to blow him off. Macie’s perceptions of artists aren’t the best right now.
As Cash and Gemma work on their relationship, Cash is doing his darnest to keep Carter away from his daughter. Cash knows Carter’s older brother Colby and it wasn’t all good, especially around women. The fact that his daughter is grown with a mind of her won doesn’t mean that Cash is going to accept that she’s interested in Carter. Carter is willing to ignore Cash as long as Macie sees him but how long will that tentative peace last?
Gemma and Cash work well together but will that spill over into the bedroom.   The first night they’re together, were they joined by the ghost of Gemma’s husband? Will Cash be able to get Gemma to see that age doesn’t matter and that he couldn’t care less that she’s 10 years older than he is? Can they fulfill the dreams that they have or will their pasts break them apart?
This was one of those books that you just didn’t want to put down. There was so much going on that you didn’t want to miss any of it. Relationships were changing and new ones were being forged. Trust was being given and trust was broken straining relationships to their limits. Even as one or two characters were having things go smoothly, others were hitting a rocky patch. You were never sure where these characters were going but you sure wanted to be there with them.
These characters weren’t just going through the motions but they were drawing out emotions. Cash and Macie didn’t have a normal daughter/father relationship. Each would put themselves out just a little to see if the other would accept or reject the offering. Cash felt that he didn’t have much to offer a daughter while Macie didn’t know how to rely on anyone. Their struggles were heartwrenching and heartwarming. Gemma needed to look past her wonderful marriage and look forward to a life with Cash. She needed to trust that he would be there for her and not hurt her but his natural reserve doesn’t allow him to share all that he would like with Gemma. As they struggle to find a balance, they each learn that trust doesn’t come easy.
This is the second of Ms James’s Rough Rider series. It don’t need to be read after the first though characters that were in the first book show up as secondary characters in this one. The books revolve around the McKay family so as you get wrapped up in the trails and tribulations of one of them, you know that you will see them again in a future book. This makes it easier when the book ends because by then the characters feel like you know them and you can’t wait until they start the next chapter of their lives.
Reader warning.....there is some graphic sex in this book.  There is also same sex sex and a threesome.  If this would offend you, then this may not be the book for you.

Book Blurb for Rode Hard, Put Up Wet

...Workin’ up a hot, sticky sweat is pure pleasure with a hard-ridin’ cowboy…or two.

Struggling stock contractor Gemma Jansen swallows her pride and tracks down circuit rider Cash Big Crow to offer him a job managing her ranch. Cash agrees on one condition: theirs won’t be strictly a working relationship. She’s the boss during the day, but once she’s corralled in the bedroom, Cash calls the shots. Despite concerns about their age difference, Gemma consents.

Cash suspects the sexy widow hides an untapped wild streak. He intends to loosen her tightly held reins of control—even if he has to break out his horsewhip to do it.

But Cash is in for a surprise. Gemma proves a rough and ready participant in any leather-n-lace game Cash dreams up

Between riding herd on his wayward daughter, Macie, and rowdy cowboy Carter McKay doggin’ Macie’s every boot step, Cash struggles to hide his true feelings for Gemma – except this time, Gemma’s grabbed the bull by the horns and she’s playing for keeps.

Summer’s going to be a hot one at the Bar 9.

Warning: this book contains: explicit sex nine ways ‘til Sunday – including ménage a trois, inventive use of ropes, naughty girls getting spanked, stubborn men getting hog-tied, graphic language and whoo-wee! hot nekkid cowboy action.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2008 5.00