Riding Hard by Vicki Lewis Thompson – Review

“…not as hot or as endearing as the last…installment in [Thompson’s] Sons of Chance series…”

Reviewed by Zara B.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

While certainly not as hot or as endearing as the last, Vicki Lewis Thompson’s next installment in her Sons of Chance series, Riding Hard, tries the boundaries of friendship and romance. It gives us the ‘redeemed cheater’ and the ‘innocent girl’ from a resentful mother.

Psychology student Tracy Gibbons is house-sitting Regan and Lily’s animal rescue when she takes in a horse ready to foal. In her need, she must rely on Regan’s best friend and betrayer, veterinarian Drake Brewster. The two have chemistry. And while Tracy is the small-town girl who is reaching for more, Drake is a man who admitted to seducing and sleeping with his best friend’s fiancé (see Riding High). Drake is out of her league. He’s a womanizer who wants to be better. Though many in town discourage his pursuing anything with Tracy, he isn’t detoured (though he originally says he won’t!)—especially not when Tracy all but throws herself at him.

I will be honest and say I didn’t enjoy this book all that much. What I did enjoy was the small glimpses at the past characters. The entire book felt almost contrived. The dialogue was stilted and somewhat unbelievable. It could be the whole ‘redeemed cheater’ that threw me off. I can handle a womanizer in my stories, especially a cowboy rake who meets his match. Unfortunately, Drake didn’t get drunk one night and ‘accidently’ sleep with his best friend’s girl he did it knowingly. And while the affable Regan seems to have forgiven and forgotten, I find it harder to believe. And when Drake actually admits he did it on purpose (and his reason is lame at best!), I was ill disposed to dislike him. What Thompson wrote off using her characters like Josie as his southern charm, all I could see what the sneak that would say anything to get what he wants from people.

If you’ve read any of my other reviews you know I’m a HUGE VLT fan. I enjoyed the first book in this latest trilogy from this series. However, I am hard pressed to enjoy this one and I don’t know how I’ll enjoy reading the last part in this triangle finding love at The Last Chance Ranch, Riding Home. Honestly, I’m having a hard time starting it knowing that some poor guy is going to be stuck with a woman who didn’t take her relationship to a man she was ready to wed more seriously or respect herself enough not to cheat. But I’ll try. Who knows. This one could be handled a little better than the self recrimination/guilt which was peppered with a lot of forgiveness from the man wronged in Riding Hard. I honestly didn’t feel a lot of redeeming qualities in Drake. His character needed to be explored more, I think. And Tracy certainly needed to ‘grow’ up in more ways than just showing she has the courage for sex. So we’ll see how Jeanette’s story unfolds.

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