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Five Weddings and a Fake Boyfriend

City slicker Derrick Massey has always had a thing for cowboys. So a roll in the hay with Kendall “Slater” Stamos during a rustic weekend wedding is more than A-OK. But when Slater’s forced to hang up his saddle for the season, Derrick surprises even himself with his proposition: be my fake boyfriend and get my family off my back about finding a permanent partner.

Though unexpected, the arrangement is a win-win. Derrick gets a plus-one for a slew of summer weddings and Slater gets a place to stay while he recuperates…with lots of casual fun in between. Which is just how the sexy cowboy likes it: casual. Yet it’s obvious the chemistry between them is anything but.

With the countdown to their “breakup” on, the more time the two men spend together. And the more it becomes clear that what they have could be real, if only they let it be.

This book is approximately 83,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Hard Ride (Clean Slate Ranch, #5)

I got an ARC of this book.

If you know me, then you probably know that I have a weird thing for gay cowboys. I have no desire to be on a ranch or a farm. I am not a fan of horses being close to me. They could clearly crush me if they decided to. Goats are about it for me with farms. I have been bullied by chickens. I’m not even a fan of butch men in real life, so gay cowboys really shouldn’t do it for me, but here we are any way.

The story itself is a very basic fake boyfriend to real boyfriend story. There is a HEA promised so there was no doubt the men would end up together. There really is no suspense in the novel at all, which makes for it to be a decent fluffy book. I enjoyed the fluff of it. I just prefer my cowboys with a bit more angst. I wanted more emotions to be broken and more trust to be tested.

Both of the men are bi. Great, I love seeing bi characters in books! Both characters only ever hook-up with people and won’t settle down, which is such a trope and I am so tired of bisexual characters being seen as sluts. So the bi representation is a hit and miss portion for me. The really cool parts were Slater coming out to his family. Those scenes were so incredible for me.

There is an non-binary neighbor who is more than a plot device. I love her. She is amazing. She helps Slater learn to be creative and she is that voice of reason. Plus she reminded me of a friend of mine and that just made everything better. Her relationship with her straight boyfriend is also pretty wonderful. I just adore the couple. The upstairs neighbors felt like they were just added on to the plot at times. It felt like the author was just trying to create room for a clear sequel between one of the brothers and a trick rider on the ranch.

I have a feeling that the author is not a stitcher. The way that embroidery and cross stitch are talked about tells me that. Slater stitches in the afternoons. Yet he finishes dozens of pieces despite just learning how to do it. I have been stitching for twenty years and even when I stitch the same time frame as Slater I would not be finishing as many pieces. So the complexity of the pieces were either over stated or Slater is clearly a stitching prodigy. This is really just nitpicking, but it did bring me out of the story. I loved that the cowboy was the one who was stitching. That he was doing something that is so often assumed to be a feminine pursuit, but without a single blow to his ego. There is even a scene where he corrects someone for saying stitching is feminine. Stitching is amazingly badass. The work that people have done is just breath taking at times. Slater did a clock piece and I just saw my first cross stitch clock the other day. They are gorgeous. I am impressed with his skill and dedication. I also may have a new kink, gay cowboys that cross stitch.

The condom usage was so bad. There were only ever condoms for anal sex, but never for oral. They engaged in oral sex seconds after meeting each other without a barrier and without any talk of STIs. Considering how often the book mentioned that Derrick was constantly at the club and hooking up, you would think that he would understand condom usage better. Slater not kissing someone unless he was dating them is something that I have only ever seen in the gay male hook-up world and I was excited by that small touch.

The story was a lot of tell and no show. It was constant flat out saying what I should have been able to see from the men. If I was told one more time that they wanted to kiss each other, but couldn’t I would have put the book down. Even gay cowboys could not save me. The book also relies a lot on previous books. If you have not read the first four books in the series then some of the characters will not stand out or make any sense. They are just side characters and don’t generally play a huge role in this book, so you can still enjoy the story, but you might not get everything.

Some of the aspects of the book fell short for me, but others were so incredibly perfect.

3 out of 5 stars. I would maybe recommend this book.

You can buy the book here.