Two cowboys will have to risk their hearts—again—to find a home on the ranch.
Hugo Turner’s boots haven’t touched Texas soil in almost a decade, and he’s not sure they should now. Being in the state is complicated, but Hugo can’t resist going back for a job working with his teenage crush. His best friend’s hot older brother is now the ranch’s foreman, so he’ll be Hugo’s boss. Inappropriate? Probably. Will it stop Hugo? Probably not.
Brand Woods isn’t ready for the return of Hugo Turner. He decided long ago to keep his bisexuality private and to focus his life on running the ranch. Working next to the most dangerously tempting man he’s ever known stirs up questions Brand thought he’d put to rest.
The sparks that send their hearts galloping lead to a deeper passion than either man expects. But by giving in to the chemistry without taking a risk and committing to each other—or, more importantly, to themselves and living the lives they’ve always wanted—Brand and Hugo might lose their second chance at true love.
A spin off of the popular Clean Slate Ranch series, Woods Ranch is set in Texas at an actual working ranch. And as much as I enjoyed Clean Slate Ranch, the change of scenery is good.
We do start out at Clean Slate when Colt mentions that his family’s ranch can’t find good help. That gets the attention of Hugo, a guy who was best friends with Colt’s youngest brother while crushing on Colt’s middle brother. But Hugo never let him know the connection.
Hugo has been moving around for almost 10 years. When he finally turned 18 and had had enough abuse from his step brother while his mother and stepfather turned a blind eye. But he misses his mom, misses Texas, so he is ready to go back. And there’s also Brand. The guy he crushed on who is also his new boss.
There was good back story told that really showed how Hugo’s life was when his mother remarried without it overtaking the story. Hugo turned out not so much to be a loner, but just a guy looking for safety and love. He got that as a kid at the Woods Ranch and he would get it again.
Hugo also rented a trailer from a neighbor, an eccentric retired artist who the town loved to gossip about. He was interesting and I have a feeling he is the bridge to another story in the series.
My heart did absolutely break for Hugo at times. Without spoiling anything, I just wanted to hug him. Instead of letting life beat him down, he just keeps going, refusing to give up.
Back to the romance. Brand is the typical “must take over for my family and not let them down” guy. Which, fine, I get it. Especially on a ranch in Texas when the oldest son ran off instead of telling his family he was gay. Brand works too hard, plays too little and never seems happy. Luckily he has a best friend who smacks some sense into him.
Brand still runs hot and cold until he is really put to the test. Then the loyalty to who he loves comes barreling in.
This was a good story to start the next series. As I said, I liked the change of scenery, talking about the different things at the ranch and moving to grass fed organic. There was quite a bit of that and it almost had me giving up beef. Almost. But if I never have to hear slaughter again I will be just fine.
I would have liked more closure on some of the plot points. A couple of things were just left dangling that needed to be put to bed. But, nothing major.
Bring on book 2 who I think will be about this guy and…..that guy.
4 pieces of eye candy