Rough Ride by Keri Ford
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Length: Short Story (139 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Dahlia
You do for family, no matter what. Lane Iverson knows that better than anyone. Harboring a secret about his mother’s death, Lane is counting the days until he finishes helping his brothers with some work and can head back to his hiding hole hours away. As long as he doesn’t have to face his three brothers every day, the guilt is easier to carry.
There is only one thing that can risk his plan. All of five foot tall, with these deep eyes and a voice that shudders through him. The completely addicting, Gretchen Jones. She’s been watching him the entire time he’s been in town. With courage from her friends behind her, she confronts what she wants. To her surprise, that’s the easy part. Keeping her heart protected when she knows he’ll be leaving? Not so easy, but her only choice.
Lane makes Gretchen crazy, but in an entirely unexpected and good way. In a way she hasn’t felt for another man in a long time. His good looks and quiet manner have her all tied up in knots and wanting to get to know him better. In order to get what she wants, Gretchen will have to make an aggressive first move and put herself out there for the first time in a while. With a little help from her friends, Gretchen finally makes a move and decides food is the best way to get this man’s attention – too bad that's all he's willing to take from her. With him living in her trailer park though, Gretchen has the advantage and she isn't afraid to exploit it.
Gretchen makes Lane crazy, but in an entirely unexpected and not good way. She’s looking for something he can’t give her. No matter how much they might be physically attracted to one other, Lane chooses to deny it knowing that she deserves better. His secret could destroy the relationship he has with his brothers and he can’t afford to stick around for fear they might find out. Gretchen is the complication he didn’t want, but can’t seem to deny. The solution is to give in only temporarily with all the cards on the table, so there are no hard feelings when it ends. It's an arrangement that's doomed to fail when he lets her in on his secret.
I couldn't wait to meet the rest of the Iverson brothers after Grant came to set-up home in Apple Trail. This spin-off series brought not only the rest of the brothers to town, but allowed fans of Apple Trail to meet other new characters already living there. And let me just say that there are some serious characters of the female variety in this story. Gretchen's friends are absolutely hilarious and I couldn't help but adore them for their efforts in her love life and the down-to-earth feel they brought to the story. I see lots more laughs and hot guys in store for future installments of the series.
It was extremely easy to fall into the story and keep reading until its end. The characters, the town, and the affair between Lane and Gretchen that starts out simple and grows complicated is all believable and well developed. The sparks between those two really fly and I was eager for them to make it happen, but I enjoyed more how both Lane and Gretchen had to work for it. Their HEA is well earned and deserved. If you're looking for small town drama with wonderful sexual tension between hard working men and women then you should absolutely check out this author's Apple Trail stories.