Title: Raising the Bar
Series: States of Love
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Publication date: September 7, 2018
Length: 91 pages
Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.
Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation. The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.
Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?
Poor Destin! It totally sucks to be stuck in a bad situation. Especially when that situation isn’t one of your own making , and even worse when it was created by your own father and you’re responsible for the livelihoods of a bunch of other people.
You really couldn’t blame a guy for making one last ditch effort, one last Hail Mary, and make a decision that could potentially come back to bite him.
That’s pretty much what he’s forced to do when he’s left a horse ranch after his father dies, that has pretty much been run into financial ruin by some seriously frivolous purchases.
Like a Mazerati!
I mean, you can kind of forgive the guy for hiring a guy like Tonio, with some subtle prompting from his friend Al. Is that a set up I smell?
Tonio has kind of a well-earned bad boy rep.
As far as Destin is concerned, all hope for saving the ranch rest on the…hooves of his horse, appropriately named Black Sambuca.
Destin and Tonio are total opposites of each other. The former is rather uptight, proper, and even dresses…boring. You can’t blame the guy, though, he does have a business to run after all. Tonio, on the other hand, has a little more flash to him. Compared to Destin, whose signature look includes a pair of khakis, Tonio seems more comfortable with himself.
It’s a nice story of opposites attract. Sometimes when you have someone that sees things the complete opposite of you, there’s friction. And there’s a little between these guys. But the way Tonio throws himself into training Sam (the horse), it’s kind of like he has something to prove. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was trying to prove it to himself, Destin, or maybe both.
This was an enjoyable read, with very little angst. Unless you count horses that do not want to jump when their instructed to.
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