Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pulling Leather by L.C. Chase

Title: Pulling Leather
Author: L.C. Chase
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Pick-Up Men #3
Main Characters: Scott and Cory
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
The toughest ride of his life is all in his head.

Bull rider Scott Gillard has a reputation for quick fists and harsh words. What no one knows is where that anger comes from. After a shocking incident sends him into a tailspin, he knows he needs help: he’s been fighting a battle he could never win. Now he's trying to navigate a new life and embrace his true self, but some days are easier than others.

Pickup man Cory Ackerson has suffered his share of harassment, but his light still burns bright. He doesn’t let anything or anyone keep him down, so when he meets the rugged cowboy with a battered chip on his shoulder and regret in his dark eyes, all he wants to do is help.

As their unlikely friendship grows into something deeper, Scott must overcome his past to be the man Cory deserves, or lose his best chance at his own happily ever after.

My Review:
Bravo to L.C. Chase! If you would have told me that I would fall in love with Scott Gillard as a hero before this book, I would not have believed you. But L.C. Chase did the impossible...she made this horrible, awful, bigot of a guy into a character that my heart ached over because of his internal struggles and his background. 

In this rodeo world, Scott has always been one of the cruelest and most outspoken of the homophobic cowboys. But when his best friend, Tripp, comes out of the closet, it completely changes his world. Why? Because Scott has been hiding a deep, dark secret that he won't even admit to himself. He's gay too. But there's such a good and heartbreaking reason he's kept that hidden. As  a child, his world was torn apart when his father came out of the closet and left him in the care of his bitter, alcoholic mother. They lost their home and stability and everything in his life could be traced back to the fact that his father was gay...something to be hated and mistrusted. So when he hit puberty and began to have sexual feelings for other guys, he checked himself into a conversion clinic. He could not be gay. He refused and absolutely hated that part of himself. 

So yeah, when his best friend came out, it threw him and was further complicated when Tripp almost died after a couple of homophobic friends almost beat him to death...something they thought Scott should celebrate with them. That was his wakeup call...and was two years ago when he walked away from the rodeo. Since then, he's been doing therapy and is finally coming to grips to who he really is...even though it still makes him uncomfortable. 

It's been 2 years and Scott has been working to change himself...first up, to apologize to Tripp who then proceeds to drag him back to the rodeo world, where he meets Cody. Cody is young and flaming and completely accepting of himself as a gay man. In other words, he's everything that Scott is not. But he's one of the few who didn't know Scott from before so he can  really see how hard Scott is trying and how much all the digs at Scott and who he used to be hurt him. 

For me, what worked so well in this book is how completely different Cody and Scott are. Scott's a big, muscular, intimidating, alpha male...no one guesses he's gay...except Cody. Cody is the polar opposite of Scott and that intrigues Scott simply because Cody is like a breath of fresh air...that he wants to breathe in, just because of his pureness. Cody is one of those guys you can't help but fall in love with. He's so over-the-top and completely aware of that and apologizes for the fact that it's just who he is. But he's so soft and careful with Scott. He can see that all of this is so new and so terrifying to Scott. I fell in love with him just because of the incredibly empathetic way he handled Scott. It's something that Scott isn't use to and he literally soaks it up. 

This is a book that is a pure romantic love story. But it's also a love story in the fact that Scott is learning to love himself. It's stated very clearly that he could have very easily have been suicidal two years ago if it hadn't been for his therapist. It's such a struggle for him to accept that he's gay. I couldn't help but feel for him. It's heartbreaking to watch, but so hopeful to see how he comes alive with Cody. 

It was a good book and has been my favorite in the pick-up men series!

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