Smitty’s Sheriff, a sexy, heart-warming MM romance by Cardeno C. is now LIVE!
Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.
Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.
It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.
When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?
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Of all the Hope series books, this is the one I was looking forward to the most. I love the May/December theme and the second chances theme (specifically second chance at love with the same person), so this one seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly live up to my (maybe too high) expectations.
There are about 20 years separating Rich and Todd. They spent three years together up until about six months before the start of this book. Rich thought Todd was immature and flaky and looking for different things than he was – also, he kept seeing other people. So, after three years of clandestine hook-ups that no one knew about aside from Todd’s sister/Rich’s friend, Rich ended it. Todd, however, was heartbroken and wanted Rich back. It isn’t until they need to come together as temporary guardians for the sister/friend’s baby that they finally start to talk (well, their version of talking) and find out if there’s a way back together.
If you hate the poor communication trope as much as I do, be forewarned that this book is probably going to irritate you. From start to finish (yes, even up to the very end) Todd and Rich are HORRIBLE at communicating. Rich moreso than Todd, but Todd basically just goes with the flow and is all, well, this is a part of who Rich is so I’m just going to go along with it. This was infuriating at times. Most of the time.
This book has some angst, but it’s a fluffy kind of angst. And it’s got it’s sweet parts. I liked the brief scenes we got to catch up with Jared and Lucas. It was really nice to see that Lucas and Todd became friends. This is my least favorite of the series, however. It didn’t leave me believing in an HEA. I wanted to sign Todd and Rich up for some couples counseling. But it was clear that they care deeply for each other, even if it isn’t exactly in the package we’re used to seeing as romance readers.
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McFarland’s Farm was a quick, sweet, angst-free read. Jared is a farmer in small town Hope, Arizona. Lucas, Jared’s ex-brother-in-law and a spoiled, rich party boy, is sent to stay with Jared for a few months after getting in trouble at his father’s restaurant. Unbeknownst to them, they’ve each been secretly crushing on the other for a long time. Once they get comfortable around each other, sparks fly and the rest is history.
As is to be expected from CC, this book was a sappy, fluffy nugget. There’s the pretense of some angst but really, this was just a feel good read. The only thing keeping this from being a higher rating for me is the complete 180 on Lucas’s part. He goes from being a self-centered brat to in love with Jared and wanting to live with him and live happily ever after in the span of about 12 hours over about 3 pages. It was to be expected, of course, but there was no explanation or inner monologue. It could be interpreted as the latest flight of fancy for a spoiled, immature 24-year-old.
This isn’t the strongest book by this author IMO, but if you’re looking for a quick, feel-good read, give this one a try.
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Jesse’s Diner is a sugary sweet little morsel. As with the first book in the series, there isn’t much (read: any) drama or angst, just sweetness and a little sexiness.
Tanner is 22 years old, and has inherited his best friend’s late father, Jesse’s, diner. Tanner is uber adorable. He’s naive and shy and unassuming and has been nursing a major crush on his friend’s other dad, Steve, for the past six years. So much so that no other guy has ever measured up; he’s never had a boyfriend or even a hook-up. Steve, on the other hand, had a wild past before he settled down in Hope with Jesse twenty years prior. He lost his husband to cancer 18 months ago; then Tanner shows up on his doorstep with dinner one evening, hoping to pull him out of the depression his son (Tanner’s friend) says he’s in.
There are a couple of things I really liked about this book. The age gap was done well; they’re nearly 20 years apart in age but it didn’t feel (as) creepy as it so easily could, what with Tanner being so young. Tanner’s naivete was also adorable. For a good third of the book, Steve is trying so hard to flirt and come on to him and he just doesn’t see it at all. His shock when he finally realizes that Steve is into him was so cute. There is also some really good HIV-positive representation here, showing responsible behavior while also not harping on it or making it a huge deal in the relationship.
What really held this back from being a more highly-rated read for me was the complete lack of angst. There are so many things in the backstory of this book that lend themselves to some really delicious angst but it’s all glossed over with a handy (if a bit too convenient and eyeroll-inducing) explanation that would’ve had me putting the book down if it wasn’t in the last 5%. Also, when the guys finally get together, it’s so bad-80’s-porn-y that, again, cued major eyerolls. However, sometimes you want a sickeningly sweet and absolutely no-angst read, and for those times, this is a good book to pick up. It definitely fits the bill.
A copy of this book was provided for review on OMGReads.
About Cardeno C.
Cardeno C.—CC to friends—is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few awwws into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.
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