I'm an avid reader and reviewer of romance books, especially m-m and erotica. You can find me on http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4669232-baba-marcus-tyler-tate-dan-ty-hunter
4 stars.****Review completed April 1, 2013
Billionaire Evan Kaminski comes to Kentucky accompanied by his sister Tatiana and his lover and part-time trainer Jeff Stevens to buy a horse for Tatiana. Due to special circumstances, however, they end up buying the whole 'stable'. Karl and Molly Archer always thought that their son, Justin, would take over the farm but this is not going to happen because Justin is in a coma, severely injured after a riding accident at the popular Rolex competition. The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is the top event in North America. Even though Dan's best friend Chris told him that Justin's gone a long time ago, Dan is still in denial about Justin's state of health. Besides, it is so incredibly hard for him to find a way to say goodbye because hope dies last, after all.
But then one day the suffering comes to an end.
"If we're being honest, Danny…it's been over for a while." Dan doesn't want to hear this speech, opens his door to get out, but Chris grabs his arm. "Not like you shouldn't be hurting, just like…you're surviving, you're managing without him. You know? I know it hurts, but…you can get past it." He leans back in his seat and takes his hand off Dan's arm. "We can all get past it."
Evan makes a generous offer to buy Karl and Molly's horses. The offer, however, depends on Evan finding a seasoned and suitable trainer. And Evan made it pretty clear that when he says 'suitable' he meant Dan Wheeler. After Justin's death Dan decides to accept Evan's bargain and moves to California. In a way it will allow him to stay close to Justin's beloved horses.
"Hey, you need to teach me to ride."
Dan can't stop himself from smirking a little. "I thought we agreed that it would be better to wait until tomorrow."
Evan shoots him a look. "Seriously? It's your full-time job, and you still pick up on all the dirty expressions? Wouldn't it sort of wear thin after a while?"
"Dude, I had my tongue down your throat two minutes ago. I'm still f@cking hard. Excuse me if I've got sex on my mind."
Dan steps up on the deck, eyes locked on Jeff's. "I think I want to mark you."
"So if you're gonna tell him, why are you being shy now? Can I mark you, Jeff?" Dan catches Jeff's eyes again, staring as he moves closer. "Can I?" He runs his fingers along Jeff's jaw line and down his neck, sees the goose bumps rise. "Right here, Jeff?" he whispers, and his fingers feel Jeff's convulsive swallow as he nods.
"I want to lick you, and work you open, and then I want to f@ck you slow, while you're on your back, so you can look at me and know who's inside you."
"I get a little worked up sometimes."
Evan snorts. "Yeah. I got that." He scoots forward so that their knees are almost touching, and when he speaks, his voice is lower, and a little husky. "And I've got no problem with it at all. But I want to be the one to work you up, you know?"
Let's get down to business. I am very glad that I gave this book a shot. As it was, I enjoyed it very much and I ended up loving the final 30 % of Dark Horse. In fact, I cannot wait to read the sequels.
What I liked/loved
This is not just another ménage story. It is a love triangle. According to Wikipedia:
A love triangle is usually a romantic relationship involving three people. While it can refer to two people independently romantically linked with a third, it usually implies that each of the three people has some kind of relationship to the other two.
At any rate, I'm very happy that Dark Horse is plot/character driven, and even though I love enough smexy times, my main concern will always be a great story and likable characters. In the end I just want to feel invested in a story and nothing else matters. Well, almost nothing else, right? ;-)
So, kudos to Kate Sherwood. She pulled it off.
I am honestly a little bit surprised that I enjoyed this story so much. It seems to me that my reading tastes really do evolve after all. Anyway, I guess I liked it so much because Dan, Evan, and Jeff are very appealing characters. Also, I love horses andDark Horse brought back some very fond memories of my own childhood. While I never rode on a competitive level, I always felt thrilled being in contact with horses and ponies. As far as I can judge the author did a fine job at portraying Dan, the man, but also Dan, the trainer. And even more so, she captured the whole ambiance of the stable and equestrian events very nicely. Her writing is vivid and engaging and made me want to go out and saddle a horse again. In any event, Dan is a wonderful horse whisperer, and the author let me feel his absolute dedication to his job and beloved horses. Dan is a pretty simple guy, he loves the routine of his job and while he easily understands horses, people confuse the hell out of him.
"Nah, man, it's fine. I mean, worst case scenario is hot, meaningless sex, right? How bad is that?"
"Well, worst case scenario is an earthquake and then a volcano and a tsunami. With a forest fire. And Ebola. But there's also the possibility of crappy, meaningless sex…"
Dan thinks for a second. "Based on the samples I've had so far, I don't think that's gonna be a problem."
Jeff and Evan have a non-traditional relationship. They love each other and they are emotionally connected, however, they can have sex with other people as long as it's only fun and they make sure that they come home to each other again. Dan's concerns are how this would work out not just physically but mainly emotionally. So, they are talking through their options and they come to some sort of agreement. Also, Jeff and Evan are seriously considering to make this exclusive. I really can't wait to see how their 'arrangement' will pan out in book 2 and 3.
Jeff brings his hand over to Evan's neck in that familiar grip, but this time Evan leans into it, all the way over until his head is nestled into Jeff's shoulder. And then he giggles again. Jeff raises his eyes to Dan's in amusement, and Dan is almost frozen with how good it feels. He wonders for a moment if this is what they could possibly mean, if they could be suggesting that Dan could have this, could be part of this circle of affection and warmth. Jeff's watching him, seems to be reading his reaction, and Dan wonders what would happen if he went over and sat on Jeff's other side, maybe down on the porch floor so he could lean back against Jeff's leg.
"Okay, put it this way…if you were stuck on a desert island somewhere, just the three of you…would you be getting it on?"
Dan smiles at the thought. "Would there be lube?"
"Coconut oil or something. Be creative."
Granted, I won't beat around the bush and I'm the first to say that I wanted more erotic scenes. On the other hand, however, I am pretty happy with what was 'there' because it was worth the wait. The chemistry between these three was very good and palpable and I really liked the threesome. It was well-written, sexy and hot. Besides, I loved to see Jeff (view spoiler) Yum!
What didn't work for me
The overuse of 'man' was a little bit annoying.
- "Listen, man…"
- "Hey, man…"
- "Seriously, man…"
- "Thanks, man…" etc., etc., etc.
Dan over-thinking everything was tedious at times.
There was too much crying/drama for my taste during the first third of the story.
Evan shakes his head. "Yeah, you're mad, I get it. But do you have to be such a f@cking drama queen about it all? And did you have to drag Jeff into it? And getting shitfaced is really productive. I mean, you should have stayed put, let me figure it out, and I'd have taken care of it." He looks a little disgusted. "Would it kill you to have a little f@cking faith in me?"
I would have loved to see more of Jeff. He is very mature, reserved, soothing and gentle but on the other hand he is oh-so sexy and attractive. Whew, the man has a hypnotic gaze. He is definitely my favorite character of those three guys.
Also, there is plenty of narrative and while I'm not a huge fan of that, it kind of worked for me though. Because it was the perfect occasion to get into Dan's head.
The first third is sad, intense, and the ambiance of the story is rather gloomy. As a matter of fact, a rather huge part of Dark Horse depicts Dan and his emotional path of dealing with memories, pain, confusion, and loss. Friendly advice, keep your tissues at the ready.
Without doubt it was Dan who made the story, however, Dark Horse provides a good cast of secondary characters as well, and I especially liked Chris and Tatiana. While there is so much sadness in the beginning of the plot, it brightened up a bit when Chris and Dan exchanged some funny dialogue.
Dark Horse was my first read by Kate Sherwood and definitely not my last. I'm already looking forward to checking out her backlist.
"Sometimes you just know."
As a side note
The story is written in first person present tense from Dan's POV.