Kay's Reviews > Bareback

Bareback by Chris Owen
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Feb 25, 12

bookshelves: ebooks
Read in September, 2008 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** Sorry for the length of this review ... beware, major spoilers

I purchased this book because of it’s high reader rating on fictionwise and from the excerpt provided, I really liked the author’s voice. First, I’d like to say that the author is a talented writer and from the very beginning I began to care for the main characters.

Jake and Tor are men who work very hard for the Rancher who employs them. The beginning of the book opens with Jake battling his attraction toward Tor, who’s worked on the ranch for two years. The two men butt heads, and seem to rub each other all wrong. What Jake doesn’t realize is that Tor is equally attracted but has kept his feelings hidden because Jake is the ranch manager. Well, of course the attraction becomes too much and the men become involved. There are some up and down moments but the bond between them is much more than the physical attraction.

Okay, so this wonderful loving relationship is the focus of the first half of the book, and it’s very touching and I would have been very happy with the book ending right there. Ah, but Ms. Owen has other plans for these two. She decides that all is not well in the land of these lovers and she decides to destroy them. And when I read the scenes where Jake discovers Tor with another man, and I read Jake’s torment and how totally devastated he was for Tor’s betrayal, I thought, “How dare she! How could she do this to Jake?” This whole betrayal was so out in left field. Nowhere was there a warning, other than the two men seemed to be butting heads more so lately. There’s a brief warning from the rancher’s daughter to Jake that a new hand seemed to have quite a crush on Tor, but no where is there any indication that the relationship is in so much trouble that Tor could even think about doing what he did.

So, here I am midway through the book, not wanting to read more but so upset for Jake and hating Tor, that I just have to keep reading. Jake has to have his HEA, he’s just too good a hero and deserves someone who really loves him. So for almost another quarter of the book we read how their breakup devastates both men, and for months though living apart, they manage to keep working together until it breaks completely, and Tor leaves.

Now I’m not sure how I feel about the last stage to this book. A former cowboy, good friend to both Jake and Tor, returns to the ranch with his partner for a visit. When he learns about the breakup and what Tor had done, he demands to know from Jake what had happened to derail their relationship to the stage that Tor could do that. Huh? He actually accuses Jake of being afraid to swallow his pride, that he should never have let Tor leave. What? Tor nearly destroyed Jake when he betrayed his trust, his love. Not sure you can fix this. But Ms. Owen tries, and we see Jake having some revelations of the month prior to the cheating, and how there were times Tor and he should have talked some things through but both not comfortable with “talking” let things slide to a point where a straw could break everything. So now Jake takes on some of the blame for the breakup. And of course, he goes to find Tor so they can fix this. And so Jake does get his HEA, though I’m still not convinced Tor can be trusted with his heart again.

As a “Romance” this book just doesn’t work, in my opinion. However, as a “Relationship” book, it is a very compelling read and the writing is very good. The love scenes are explicit, though tame compared to other books I’ve read recently. There is a sequel to this book – Natural Disaster, and as I purchased it at the same time as Bareback, I’ll be reading it next. As far as my rating for this book. I suppose it should receive a high rating because the author pulled me in and made me emotionally involved. I’m still upset though, Jake didn’t deserve Tor’s betrayal and the lack of forewarning to the reader just didn’t seem fair either. And I’m still kind of hating Tor. So my final rating is going to be 2 Stars for ~ Okay

I read this book in 2008, and reading my review here now four years later, brings back the emotions I felt during my first reading. So, on that basis, of how Ms. Owen captured my emotions, I've adjusted my rating for her talent to 4 Stars. BTW, I'm still pissed at Tor for doing that to Jake.
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