FLANKED – Cat Johnson
Studs in Spurs , Book 5
Samhain Publishing – samhainpublishing.com
Erotic Western Romance
Ohio and North Carolina – Present Day
Garret James is a professional bull rider with a bum shoulder, but a little pain doesn't stop him from competing. He is staying at home with his widowed father between competitions when he finds out his father has started dating again. When he walks in the kitchen and finds his father and that woman in the middle of something he hopes to someday forget, he decides to leave early for the next event. His best friend Aaron is bringing his sister Silver with him, and Garret feels like everyone prefers to be with someone other than him. But the woman in the black leather with a Harley is hot, and apparently thinks he is too. Yee hah, looks like Garret is getting lucky tonight!
Silver, well she used to be Susan (but what a boring name), is a music teacher with an edge. She loves tattoos, body piercings, and lots of sex. After her latest piercing leaves a certain part of her body being excited with every move, she feels attraction for her brother's friend, and his truck in the parking lot is as good a place as any to scratch her itch. By the end of the weekend, Silver is definitely satisfied with Garret.
Garret and Silver's real relationship starts after several more bull riding events when Garret's shoulder finally needs surgery, and she learns that rodeo riders usually cannot afford health insurance because of their dangerous occupation and high rates. But Silver is a teacher with excellent health insurance and volunteers to marry Garret so he can get his surgery, and then afterward they can quietly divorce. Garret's nervous that it is illegal, but the additional "benefits" sway him, especially when Silver's brother Aaron gives his approval. Of course, he thinks they are just marrying for convenience and are having no physical contract…even though everyone else knows what's going on. But the big question is, can Garret and Silver keep their relationship only about surgery and hot sex and not love?
Cat Johnson has presented us with two strong characters. Silver is a teacher with maybe attributes I'm not sure teachers should have. With her tattoos and body piercings, she lives life on the wild side and is definitely a strong person, especially when "putting up" with her parents who try to understand her. Garret lives a hard life constantly trying to live with the pain, and Silver's idea has him constantly nervous about the law. Told from each of their points of view, I believe this presents a very accurate view of bull riders and the risks and physical pain they must go through.
Secondary characters are Garret's friends and fellow bull riders, Chase and Skeeter, and Silver's brother Aaron. And it's interesting that as Garret gets in a deeper relationship with Silver, the more he begins to understand and forgive his father for going on with his life after the death of Garret's mother.
FLANKED is an interesting story about, really, the lack of medical insurance among rodeo performers and how they cope with that when they need surgery. Garret is still kind of surprised that Silver is interested in him, and Silver is that wild lady every guy longs to meet. It is fascinating how their relationship goes from helping Garret to a real connection between them, yet each is afraid to confront what it really means. This is Book 5 in the Studs in Spurs series, and while I haven't read any of the others, I'm sure you can't go wrong with hot cowboys and hotter women. FLANKED will definitely give you a wild ride this month.