Roped In (Clean Slate Ranch #2) by A.M. Arthur – Bout of Books 22 Review

For Colt Woods, Clean Slate Ranch is home. The dude ranch in Northern California helped him heal from a devastating breakup. So when his ex-Dom, the man who broke his heart, waltzes onto the ranch, Colt doesn’t know how to deal.
A research job at a nearby ghost town brings history PhD Avery Hendrix to Clean Slate. He’s not in town forever, but it doesn’t take long for him to feel the familiar draw to Colt. When they find out they’ll be sharing a cabin on the ranch, it’s all Avery can do to stop himself from bending Colt over a saddle right then and there.
In such close proximity, Colt’s and Avery’s old feelings come galloping back. Soon Colt is doing his master’s bidding again and loving every moment of it. And the pair may be in for the ride of their lives—if the dedicated professor and his rugged cowboy can learn to trust again.

The Clean Slate Ranch promises to be a great series. I loved the first book, Wild Trail. It was the perfect start to the series and was actually a perfect set up for Roped In.

At the end of Wild Trail, Colt’s world crashed around him. He arranged for Avery to come to Clean Slate Ranch to help one of his best friends work on the ghost town that was discovered near the ranch. Avery had no idea that Colt had kept a secret from Mack. A secret that was destined to destroy a relationship with the only family Colt thought he had left. That slip changed everything for Colt.

Avery honestly thought that Colt would have told Mack the truth in the time that they had spent apart. That secret was also one of the reasons why they split in the first place. Honestly, I can understand why Colt couldn’t find a way to tell Mack. He wasn’t even supposed to know the details of what really happened the day Mack’s boyfriend was killed in a robbery gone wrong. I also understood why Avery thought that Colt should confide in Mack. It really was a no win situation and I felt bad for everyone involved.

There was a lot of healing in Roped In and a lot of miscommunication. The BDSM was also a strong aspect in Roped In – which is kind of hit or miss for me in a romance, but it fit the characters.

If I had to rank the books in this series so far, Wild Trail would definitely be my favorite. I did enjoy Roped In though and I loved the set up for the next couples in the series. 😉

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Until We Fall (Falling #5) by Jessica Scott

The darkness never forgets…
Caleb Gregory has spent ten years hiding in the dark, refusing to speak about the night his young life was destroyed. In his anger and his rage, he drank and fought until he drove everyone away until he had no one left.
The light casts a long shadow…
Nalini King has devoted her post army life to her passion: using yoga to heal her fellow soldiers. In doing so, she’s worked to forget the night her life burned down around her.
An unexpected storm…
When a storm forces them into the darkness together, these two wounded souls must face the demons of their past.
Because it is only in the darkest night that we can truly see the light.

Oh Caleb… After several books of working up to this character, I never thought I would have walked away from his story wanting more… but I’m also not surprised. Once again, Jessica Scott’s personal experience brings a realism to this series that is hard to miss.

I’ve said before that I love it when an author can take a character that they’ve effectively made unlikable into one that you can’t wait to find their HEA. Caleb definitely fell into this category. I have to admit that even when I’ve been frustrated with Caleb throughout this series (and there have been many opportunities) I still saw a spark of the man he could be from time to time. The thing is Until We Fall couldn’t happen until Caleb found himself and felt he was worth finding.

Nalini didn’t fight her demons with a bottle, but by going back to her heritage with yoga. I loved her strength and compassion. As unlikely as it seemed, given the Caleb that readers had gotten to know, Nalini turned out to be a perfect match for him. Both of them had pasts that neither were proud of, but they were finding ways to work past them. In a way, it was a good thing that they didn’t meet until Caleb was working on recovery. Mostly because sober Caleb and drunk Caleb were totally different people.

I loved these characters and hope that we get glimpses of them in the future. Caleb still has a long way to go and a lot of fences to mend. He has some great friends, so I hope he gets the chance.