Title: Dark Horse (Dark Horse #1)
Author: Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance/Menage (M/M/M)
Length: Novel (379 pages)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lily
The emotional story of a man learning to deal with a devastating loss. As he slowly begins to move forward will he be able to take a leap of faith with the two new and very different men in his life?
Dan thinks about just driving, leaving the whole mess behind. He’s got enough money. He could just arrange to get his stuff and his horse shipped to wherever he’s going. Taking off is what he used to do when things got to be too much, and it worked pretty well, really.
Dan Wheeler thought he’d found lasting love and stability with his life and work partner, Justin Archer. But when Dan finds himself alone again, still working as a horse trainer for Justin’s parents, he has to find a way to accept that his perfect life is gone forever.
Then he meets billionaire Evan Kaminski, who arrives to buy a horse for his younger sister, and Evan’s lover Jeff Stevens, a horse trainer who seems to understand more than just Dan’s job. Struggling to deal with all the upheavals in his life, Dan finds himself drawn to both Evan’s mercurial passion and Jeff’s quiet wisdom. Is Dan strong enough to take a chance on new love, or would it be better—safer—for him to be alone?
Dark Horse Series
Dan Wheeler is a horse trainer, it’s a job he loves and is good at, but lately not even the horses bring him joy. It’s been a year since his lover, Justin, was seriously injured during a riding competition. Working at Justin’s family ranch and visiting Justin in the hospital, where he still lies in a coma, is pretty much his whole life now. That starts to change with the visit of billionaire Evan Kaminski, his lover Jeff Stevens and Evan’s younger sister Tatiana.
Evan and Jeff are looking to buy a horse for Tatiana but their visit kicks off a chain of events that completely turns Dan’s life upside down. The next few months are extremely emotional and the story is at times very heavy and angst-ridden as Dan deals with a death, a change of employment and trying to find a way through the dark times, which isn’t easy. The support of his friend Chris and his growing closeness with Evan, Jeff and Tat help Dan to deal with his loss and find a way to move forward. He also becomes friendly with Ryan and this new friendship helps him quite a bit as well.
As Dan starts to build a new life his friendship with Evan and Jeff starts to change. Both men are interested in him and despite not being very comfortable with their ‘open relationship’ Dan finds himself drawn to the men but hesitant to do anything about it. A three-way relationship is not something Dan’s ever contemplated and frankly he can barely comprehend the mechanics of it. But the sexual tension between the men is undeniable and hot, especially with Jeff, and it leads to a lot of confusion for Dan. In the meantime his friendship with Ryan has the potential to be more but fizzles out when Ryan’s dreams of a musical career unexpectedly start to come true.
Just as things start to settle down for Dan and he begins to see the possibility of being with Evan and Jeff new complications arise. Thankfully it’s not drawn out and Dan, Evan and Jeff finally begin to make sense of what their future could be.
What I liked…
I really enjoyed the writing style of this new to me author. Although told exclusively through Dan’s POV, which of course made him the most developed of the characters, all of them are interesting and well drawn. I found the author’s descriptions of the world of Eventing detailed enough to make the story easy to follow but not overdone which might have bogged down the flow of the book. I also liked the emotional intensity of the story. Dan goes through so much and I really felt for him as he struggles to deal with it all. There are some lighthearted moments and witty banter in this story and the sexual tension between the men was really well written.
What I didn’t like…
This is quite a long book and at times it felt like it was dragging along. The story would then pick up again but once again toward the end it slowed down. In fact I was getting a bit anxious as I approached the end of the story and I wasn’t getting a feel for how they were going to make things work out between them. And then finally they do and BOOM… it’s over. The ending felt very abrupt to me and I didn’t really feel a true connection develop between them. They do finally have sex together but ultimately the end left me wanting. I then clicked the next page and found out the sequel, Out of the Darkness, which I now know is about their relationship comes out in a few months. I did like this story even though I was a bit disappointed at the end.
This was a really well-written story about dealing with loss and moving forward. Dan especially was a great character and for the most part his relationships with the other characters as well as the descriptions of the ‘horse’ world he lives in made this an interesting and engaging story. Despite some small reservations I enjoyed Dark Horse and look forward to the sequel. Recommended.