Title: A Loving Hart (Heart of the Mountain #2)
Author: Leiland Dale
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Fantasy M/M/Romance
Length: Novel (120 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Tj
Summary Review: Back to the Mountain Hart Ranch for a sweet and slow building romance.
The Blurb: For seven years, Jasper Elliot felt betrayed and all alone when his brother left their home. When an unexpected visitor shows up and voices the truth as to why his brother left, Jasper was faced with a decision that would change the course of his life. Arriving at The Mountain Hart Ranch not only didn’t things go the way he expected them too but he also found something he thought he never would.
Seth Hart had a secret, one that had scars of its own. To keep his secret safe he never dated and always made sure to not get his heart involved. With the arrival of Jasper, Seth’s resolutions flew right out the window. The instant attraction Seth felt for Jasper was exhilarating but also scared him. Just as things started going better than Seth ever expected, their past catches up to them.
Will their past tear them apart or will Seth’s secret bring them closer together?
Heart of the Mountain
The Review: This is book 2 in the Heart of the Mountain series. Wave reviewed book one here. Although this is part of the series, it works fine as a standalone so you don’t need to read the first book to enjoy this one.
As he sat behind his desk at the Mountain Hart Ranch, Seth Hart had no way of knowing that his life was about to change dramatically. So when his foreman (and best friend) Greg walked in, Seth was caught off guard by the beautiful and somehow familiar looking man at his side. Greg introduced his brother Jasper to Seth and the attraction that both men felt was palpable. Jasper could not believe that he was thinking how hot Greg’s boss was. And since he would now be working for Seth as well, doing anything about it could spell disaster for both of their jobs. As for Seth, he could not even consider acting on his attraction to Jasper, who was not only his best friend’s brother, but also an employee.
“Seth tried to fight the instant attraction he felt. He knew it would end badly if he allowed himself to get involved with Jasper. It could create all kinds of complications and that was something he didn’t want to deal with. He had entirely too many secrets to keep and was scared to take a chance. Been there, done that.”
These secrets held Seth back from pursuing Jasper, for fear of the disaster that was his previous relationship. As Jasper settles in to ranch life, Seth fights his attraction, guarding his secrets closely. But clearly this was a losing battle as his feelings and obvious jealously over another ranch hand’s attention toward Jasper push him to reconsider his stance. Finally things come to the point where everyone notices Jasper and Seth want each other and Greg confronts Seth. As much as Seth wants to tell Greg everything, he again lets his fears hold him back. But Greg does manage to convince Seth that Jasper is a good man, who also has been through some tough times.
The characters of Seth and Jasper were well developed, and I enjoyed learning Seth’s history and his secret – although it wasn’t too hard to figure out as I read. I liked that despite Seth and Jasper’s instant attraction, they didn’t act on it, mostly due to Seth’s reluctance. Instead Seth romanced Jasper with notes left in his room and candlelight dinners for 2. This was a nice change of pace from the usual ‘you’re hot, let’s do it’. I also liked Seth’s friend Greg (Jasper’s brother), who is a carryover from the first book in the series. Although Greg has a few scenes with Seth, I would have liked to see more interaction between Greg and Jasper, since they’ve been estranged for several years. This would have added more depth to Greg’s character that was missing if you haven’t read the first book. Also realistically I think that the brothers would have had a lot of catching up to do to rebuild their relationship.
Overall, this is a well crafted, slow paced, sweet romance with some interesting plot developments that I hadn’t expected.