I cannot even begin to describe how much I love reading M/M books. That's one of the reasons I was looking forward to this one, and the summary alone made me incredibly excited. A cowboy? That was a pure bonus! So, what made me think A Hard Bargain is not at all what I was hoping it would be? Let's see...
The beginning of the story is great. After he was left at the altar, Cade Lawson decided it was time for a change of scenery. As city life is not something he enjoyed, he grabbed a chance to consider investing in a ranch. The ranch owned by Jed McMasters, actually. Cade flies to San Antonio to meet Jed and see if the ranch is what he hoped it would be.
Jed – being gay – is instantly attracted to Cade, but he's trying to hide it, afraid that Cade will leave if he finds out. Cade, on the other hand, feels the attraction, but he's confused by it, and sure that Jed is nothing but straight. Interested to see how they'll work it out? Yes, I was too.
The first issue I had with this book is editing. There are some mistakes in there – nothing much, but enough to distract you from the story. The sentences seem chopped at times, and the overall flow should have been much smoother. But none of that would cause such a low rating alone.
As this is a short read – and erotica – I wasn't expecting much of a character development. Just enough to help me understand the story better, and connect with the characters easier. Still, the more I read, the less I liked it, and it left me pretty confused. There is simply not enough development here, and some important issues were not addressed properly.
Cade's attraction to Jed is far from realistic. It felt to me like he looked at Jed and suddenly became gay. And although there are hints later on that it wasn't the case, it was still not enough to convince me.
I cannot say that it would be better if it were a longer story, as I've read some really short ones that managed to give me everything they should. It feels more like there are some missing pieces that would help this story reach its full potential – and there is a lot of potential here.
Sadly, A Hard Bargain left me feeling underwhelmed, as I was expecting much more. More character development, deeper involvement, better dialogues, and realistically drawn attraction between Cade and Jed. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any of that this time.
This review was originally written for The Romance Reviews