Raising the Bar (Jia’s review)

Title: Raising The Bar (States Of Love Series)
Author: Leigh Dillon
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 91 pages
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.

Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation. The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.

Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

I like how Tonio has a new set of eyes to look at things and as Destin is stuck in the mindset of hopelessness it’s interesting to read how both get annoyed at each other for not being on the same page. It’s so common in real life that it’s funny to read. Everything stands and falls with getting Black Sambuca to behave. But there seems to be nothing wrong with him…?
This novella is a short, fresh read including horses and finding someone to love while trying to save a heritage. I liked Destin and Tonio’s characters, it’s always fun when they have flaws like people in real life. They fit well together and both has something to learn from the other. As it is a novella the characters aren’t as fleshed out, the details not as much, but what was included on the other hand was interesting and enjoyable.

This is not a story to read for the sexy times because there aren’t much, merely some making out and a mouth on once but for me it isn’t always needed. The focus here is the two men and them finding a way to solve the horse’s problem as they have a lot riding on that.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Raising The Bar (States Of Love) provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


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