Horses were his passion, until he laid eyes on his boss.
Eighteen months ago, tragedy struck Bywater Farm when a riding accident killed Clay Hunter’s lover and traumatized his prize horse, King of Hearts. Clay and King lingered in limbo, surviving but not really living, until a breath of fresh air in the form of Luke Davis, a new groom in the stud barn, revives them both.
When a fall from King’s back sends Luke to the emergency room, Clay watches the shaky foundation of their budding relationship tumble down. Can Clay really love a jockey again, or will his fear of losing another man he loves keep them apart for good?
Books that feature horses are always going to be one of my favorite books. When you combine my love of all things horse with my love of M/M romance novels, Unstable Stud by Ariel Tachna seemed like a sure bet for me.
I won first prize with this book!! Or, I should say, Ariel wins the prize for delivering an outstanding addition to the Dreamspun Desires series, one I devoured in one sitting because I just couldn't stop reading.
Luke Davis is a new stall mucker at Bywater Farm, where the owner Clay Hunter breeds and trains race horses. Luke is a nice, unassuming guy who bonds with King Of Hearts aka King, the race horse traumatized by a terrible accident during his last race, one that killed his rider, Clay's husband.
When Clay notices that King responds well to Luke, he appoints Luke as King's groom. There are some hints of Clay possibly having some other intentions as well, but Luke, half in love with this boss anyway, doesn't even think that he stands a chance.
Besides, Clay is in mourning, still. And Luke's boss. And Luke is just a groom.
I really liked how the author picked up the theme of this series - it's all a bit OTT, as it should be, and it uses the trope of older, richer man romancing a younger, much poorer one, but making it work somehow anyway.
I adored Luke. He was sweet and kind and humble and just so adorable. Simple but not a simpleton. Kind but not a doormat. I cried for Clay, for his pain, and I rejoiced when he slowly finds his way out of the grief and darkness.
Ariel sure seems to know her stuff when it comes to horse breeding, and the scenes when King is doing his studly duties were at once amusing (bc of Luke's reactions) and accurately portrayed. I giggled a few times. When I wasn't oohing and aahing over this book, or sniffling at the more emotional scenes.
The Steeplechase at the end was also well done, and I loved how Ariel almost seemed to give us a glimpse of the horse's mind as well. Luke performs beautifully, and it was a fitting ending to a great romance novel.
I absolutely loved this book, and I hope you will too. Recommended for everyone who loves slightly fluffy, slightly OTT M/M romance with a touch of Harlequin.
** I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **
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