Raising the Bar (Tosha’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: Tosha
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 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 actually enjoyed this book. It is different than the books I normally read but I enjoyed this book. It is one of those books that the two main characters find one another just when they need each other the most.

Destin inherited the family horse farm. Only problem is he also inherited his father’s cash problems and the fact his father has pretty much ran down what used to be one of the most respected horse farms around but now with more of the mares being sold off and only one horse that could help to save the farm, Destin is not feeling too hopeful. Especially since Sam, the horse, in question has a total mind of his own and only does what he wants to do. Not what he should do.

That is where Tonio comes into play. Tonio is a trainer/rider who has been able to ride horses in the past that most believed were unrideable. So when Destin turns to Tonio and makes him a month-long offer to help with Sam, Tonio jumps at the opportunity. Especially since few are jumping at the chance to take Tonio on after the mess he has made of his life. This is a second chance for Destin, Tonio, and Sam to prove their worth to the horse world. Now Sam just has to cooperate.

Of course Sam is not going to make it easy on anyone and somewhere along the way, Tonio and Destin have started to have feelings for one another. But it is coming up on the end of the month long contract and as of now, nothing has changed. Sam is still stubborn and neither Destin nor Tonio have admitted to having anything other than great sex between the two. Will anything improve on any of the fronts before time is up or is it all just a fool’s dream?

I enjoyed this read. Especially where Sam was concerned. This horse definitely had a mind of its own and will not let anyone take the easy way out. Not even Tonio and Destin. Leigh Dillon did a great job on this book. There are definitely some parts that will having you laughing out loud. Great read!!

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


Hello, I am an avid reader of male/male books. I do not have a favorite genre when it comes to male/male books because I love all of them from romance, dark reads, paranormal, shifter, threesome, whatever I see that catches my eye at the time. I read books about rock stars, CEOs, military, cops, and just the original plain old good boy types of books. Basically when it comes to a book, I read whatever I am in the mood for at the time. So my tastes varies from day to day and sometimes even hour to hour.