Title: Leather Nights (Armadillo #1)
Author: Patricia Logan
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance/Suspense
Length: Novel (344 pages)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lily
An entertaining if somewhat overdone story of one man’s surprising second chance at love.
This review contains information that may be considered as spoilers.
When widowed, jobless, and about to be homeless Jake Maxfield inherits his Aunt Becky’s home in Texas, the California native uproots his teenagers and moves. Still trying to rebuild his career after the mortgage crises, and to reconnect with the kids he’s been too busy for, the last thing Jake is looking for is love. Especially with a man.
Cade Littlebear isn’t looking for love either, but he and Jake have an immediate attraction that neither of them are able to deny. Just when they think that combining their lives and their teenaged families is going to be their toughest challenge, their very existence is threatened by narrow-mined bigots. Their determination not to hide who they are and refusal to live in the shadows only adds fuel to the fire. Can Jake and Cade survive and bring their lives and families together? Or will hatred win the day?
The storyline of a widowed father starting over again and surprisingly falling in love with a man hooked me in when I first read it as it sounded like something I’d really like. While for the most part I did enjoy the story I did have some issues with it.
Jake Maxfield lost his wife to cancer and his job to the mortgage business going bust. No longer able to support his lifestyle in California he’s thrilled to receive news of an inheritance. A move to a new home, mortgage-free, seems too good to be true but soon Jake and his children are installed in their new home in Texas. Determined to be there for his children he decides to work from home to have time for them and their high school activities. When he shows up at the school for the PTSA meeting he meets PTSA President and fellow single parent Cade Littlebear and from that moment on both of their lives are irrevocably changed.
And it’s here where my first issue comes in. From the moment he sees the other man Jake is immediately attracted, in fact for much of the story both men are completely turned on and it’s a wonder they could do anything what with all the blood in their bodies rushing south. I found this a bit hard to believe as Jake, aside from a couple of jack-off sessions with his roommate during college, hasn’t been attracted to anyone other than his wife for twenty years, so this instant attraction, especially to a man, just felt way too rushed. At 344 pages long there was plenty of time to slowly develop their attraction instead of the insta-lust/love that happens.
The second thing that bothered me was the sudden and surprising reactions of some of the townspeople to Cade and his relationship with Jake. Cade’s been out for twenty years and has rarely had a problem yet after being seen at a couple of school activities with Jake, no touching, handholding or kissing even, all of a sudden he’s the victim of violence which keeps escalating and puts both of their lives, and that of their loved ones, in jeopardy. This plotline felt off because it apparently comes out of left field. He’s a well respected business owner and the president of the PTSA so where were all of the gay-bashers before Jake moved to town? The reasoning that he didn’t previously have a steady relationship still didn’t work for me as everyone knew he was gay so they should have already had a problem with him.
The other thing that bothered me were the characterizations of the “bad guys” in the story. Starting with Kelly, the blonde Texas beauty, who takes one look at Jake and decides to make him hers, and then turns into a hateful shrew, to the “good ole boys” who think nothing of beating up, nearly killing and then trying to rape a man, all in the name of teaching the gay guy a lesson. The plot would have worked well without making them such over the top stereotypes.
Even with my issues with the book I really liked the characters of Jake, Cade and the kids. Despite being nearly perfect they were still interesting and likable characters and I enjoyed reading about their developing relationship. The men do have obvious chemistry and even though they’re barely able to keep their hands off each other all throughout the book I found them to be a sweet couple. The sex is scorching hot and there is plenty of it throughout the book.
I liked how the author took time to show them as a family, doing simple activities such as cooking and homework, and slowly forming a blended family. There was a situation with Jake’s son that did feel like something that could really happen although it was resolved a bit too easily. After his initial bad reaction to his father’s new love his change of heart a few days later was a bit surprising. It worked to advance the story but I expected it would be take much longer and be more of a painful situation to get his approval. But on the whole the core of the story, Jake and Cade and their family, was well done and kept me engaged from beginning to end.
While I felt the writing was a bit stilted at times overall the author delivered a solid story which I believe is her first published M/M book. I didn’t love it as I’d hoped but despite a few reservations overall I did enjoy reading Leather Nights very much. I look forward to reading Patricia Logan‘s next offering.