Title: Karma (Cattle Valley #33)
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Page Count: 88
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
From an Olympic Gold Medalist to jail inmate, one man’s journey to rebuild his life after hitting rock bottom.
Once a celebrated athlete, Guy Hoisington fell from grace and into a bottle. For years, the citizens of Cattle Valley went out of their way to avoid the drunk lecher, but one man, Shane Rendell, not only dated Guy during a brief period of relative sobriety but fell in love with him before he was hastily cast aside.
Living within the thick haze of liquor and sex, Guy rarely made good decisions, but on one particular dark night, he makes the worst decision of his life when he decides to drive down the mountain after a long evening of drinking. He wakes from a coma to discover he’s run an innocent man off the road and has a life-changing injury. For the first time in a very long time, Guy is able to look at himself through sober eyes, and he hates the man in the mirror. In one stupid move, he’s lost everything.
Shane has tried for two years to move on with his life after falling for the town alcoholic, but when he learns of Guy’s accident, he rushes to the hospital. Although the entire town may hate Guy, Shane is determined to prove Guy hasn’t lost everything.
This is the story of Guy, a once celebrated skier of Olympic gold standards. Guy is an alcoholic and a major jerk but to top it all off, he just served a 6-month sentence over a DUI that resulted in injuring someone else and in Guy losing his leg. Shane, a former fling of Guy’s who’s still holding a torch, pays all of Guy’s medical bills and comes up with the plan to restore the lodge that Guy left in disarray amidst his wild drinking and partying.
I liked Shane, even though I could not understand why he would have feelings for someone who treated him like shit. Shane was patient, kind, and he could do way better than invest his time and energy in saving the lodge and Guy’s life. Guy came out of jail and consistently came off as an ungrateful bastard. He admitted to himself that he was resentful of Shane and did not even hesitate to take his bad mood on Shane.
The book is only 88 pages long (ironically, the story ended at 88% on my kindle app as well) and that was clearly not enough for the plot attempted here. I have not read anything by this author before, so I am not sure if this was a fluke, but the writing style did not agree with me, unfortunately. Guy acted like an @$$hole but then decided to reveal all of his dark secrets to Shane out of the blue and play nice. Literally, out of the blue. There was no build-up, no friends-to-lovers, not even enemies-to-lovers, no bonding over the lodge operations. It just happened. I felt completely disconnected from the characters and did not feel the chemistry at all. In fact, Guy feeling a sense of gratitude (finally!) and perhaps thinking he is not attractive enough to look elsewhere was more believable to me for why the two got together. Shane was there, convenient, and ready to give himself to Guy. Even the sex scene was written matter-of-factly, with no passion or spontaneity. They could have been analyzing a financial report on the lodge for all I know.
The whole “heal Guy” operation involved making amends with the town-folk and attending AA meetings. There were some encounters that were heated but there was no sense of continuity or development to the plot.
I did not like this story at all, I’m afraid. It left me frustrated and missing some emotional connection with the characters. Perhaps the fact that Guy never redeemed himself in my eyes played a part in it –childhood skeletons or no.