Tru Smoke (Renée’s review)

32620895Title: Tru Smoke (Ember Peak, #1)
Author: Edie Danford
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: November 3, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary/Cowboys/May-December
Page Count: 258
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level:  4 flames out of 5
Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… Whenever Jones touches him, flames flicker in Truitt Larkin’s smoky-gray eyes.

Growing up in Ember Peak, Colorado, Jones Hudson nurtured dreams as big as the Rockies. Why else would a flat-broke college student believe he has a shot with Truitt Larkin, the billionaire CEO of Larkin Corp? And, sure, Tru might own the fab, five-thousand-acre Ember Peak Ranch, where Jones is just the son of a ranch employee, but that doesn’t mean a future with Tru is doomed, does it? When he finally, finally convinces Tru to break his chiseled-in-rock no-sex-ever policy, Jones is sure smoke will never shroud Tru’s silver-flame eyes again.

But fire burns and dreams crash. And Jones leaves Ember Peak—and a big chunk of his heart—behind.

Tru knows he’s responsible for fracturing his valued friendship with Jones. Indulging his attraction to the younger man was selfish and destructive—something he’ll always regret. When Jones returns to Ember Peak for a family wedding, Tru wants a chance to heal their friendship and give back to Jones the comfort of coming home. But sparks fly the moment they reunite, and they scramble to douse the passion that’s burned them both before. Yet a flicker of hope glows brightly, and soon they need all their courage to see their way to a future together.

This is a really, really difficult review to write. Because I loved this book so hard. So, so hard. I had one niggle – ONE! But it’s a big enough niggle for me to scratch my head and go


I honestly questioned myself for days. I was convinced it was me. I was missing something vital.


But then my girl, Ele, read it too and had the same hangup. So I know it’s not me, and I won’t make a complete ass of myself when writing my review. Here we go.

The story begins with Jones, a 19-20 year old college student finally getting the love of his life, Truitt, to give into their smokin’ hot chemistry. These two have been in each other’s lives since Jones was five, when his mother began working at Ember Peak Ranch (owned by Truitt’s family), and Jones has likely been in love with Tru, fifteen years his senior, that long.

The blurb tells us that after one explosive week, Tru breaks Jones’s heart, and he leaves Ember Peak, and Truitt, behind.

He’d told me it would happen, told me again and again that this week we’d be spending together was a one-time thing.

Jones’s mother’s wedding brings Jones back to the ranch three years later, and he must lay eyes on Tru again. Can his heart really take it?

I was all over this set up. I mean, inner-relationship angst is my Kryptonite, and I was getting it right off the bat? Come to mama.


Danford played this so well. It’s hit or miss for me when a story starts right in the middle of the couple’s turmoil. It can be written well…..or not. But Danford gets all the kudos for how she opened this story beautifully.

This was relationship angst at its very best. Jones thought he could finally put Tru behind him with some closure, but he soon knows he isn’t gonna love anyone else, ever. And he can tell by the silver sparks in Tru’s eyes that he wants Jones. But, once again, how can Jones get Tru to need him? To love him.

And while this could have been rife with doormat behavior, Danford toed that line well for me. I understood Jones’s literal need for Tru. This was the man he’d loved his entire life. So he got some concessions from me for his pursuit. He never acted desperately after their first week together three years prior.

Tru was swoon-worthy. I totally got what Jones saw in him. He was drily funny, he was handsome, he had such a good heart. And (love it) Danford gives us alternating POVs so that we can understand the motivations of both these MCs. Here is where I just didn’t get it.

Tru’s POV tells us that Tru doesn’t think he is long-term material for Jones. Daddy issues . But it’s not a martyr thing. It’s not that he thinks he’s not good enough for Jones. It seems to be that he doesn’t think he has to offer what Jones deserves. That doesn’t sound very different, but there is a distinction. At least to me. He doesn’t think that he, personally, is long-term material for anyone. But I never really understood WHY he felt that way, even while reading his POV.

So of course there’s a HEA. I couldn’t handle it if there wasn’t. Nor would I rate a book this high. But you know how the story arcs and you’re waiting for the HEA to happen? Events leading up equal HEA, right? Yeah….well…..without spoiling anything, 2+2=5 in this book. Something didn’t quite add up to my HEA. I am missing something!!!! And I don’t even know WTF it is! I am truly frustrated about it. I can’t wait for Ele to review this book too, so I can see if she at least knows what it is that we’re missing. Cuz I’m stuck, people, stuck.

It was beautiful, gorgeous, every other word you want to use. I freakin loved the hell out of this story. Except it’s still missing a piece. So it gets only 4 stars when I want to give it 5.

I will definitely be reading Books 2 and 3, I know that much. She’s such a good story teller. I can’t wait for more Jones and Tru.

Ember Peak Series

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I love boys who love boys! I’m in my 30s, from the southern US, and my crack is m/m romance.

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