Reviewed by Vicki
SERIES: Legacy Ranch #1
AUTHOR: R.J. Scot
PUBLISHER: Love Lane Books
LENGTH: 193 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 31st, 2016
Two men destroyed by the past learn to live—and love—again.
Kyle Braden has nowhere else to go. With no money and no prospects, he turns to the only man who promises him help. Jack Campbell-Hayes wants to show Kyle that he can be more than he ever thought.
Kyle begins to see how far he’s come from being the scarred man who shut everyone out, when the first person through the doors of Legacy Ranch is Jason; a young man with nightmares that follow him when he’s awake.
Lost in the system and with three years on the streets marking every inch of his body, Jason Smith is scared. His life is an evil mess of hate and despair, and even the offer of a fresh start and a clean bed isn’t enough for him feel safe. Until Kyle comes into his life and shows him that it’s okay not to be in control.
For these broken men, Legacy Ranch offers more than a place to live and work.
It offers hope.
A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.
Ok…. there’s a bit of background we need to go over before we talk about this book.
RJ Scott wrote the first book in an epic saga, titled The Heart of Texas, way back in 2011. The book follows Jack Campbell and Riley Hayes, as they get fake married to settle some family drama, and eventually fall in love. The series continues from there through SEVEN books, as Jack and Riley acquire children, gain family, lose family, rescue people, expand their various business interests, and have big parties. In one of the books, I can’t honestly tell you which one at this point, they came across some men that had been abused at another ranch, and offered help. There was a trial, the bad guy went to jail, and some of the men that were abused took the help, some did not. I’ve read all of the books, but I can’t remember the whole story, unfortunately! So, as part of the process that Jack and Riley went through to help these men, they decided to establish Legacy Ranch, set on the land of the Double D, their own ranch, but it would specifically be for people to live on that needed some help after trauma. This is a way simplified version of what happened, I’m so sorry, but I just don’t remember the details. But, that gets us to this new series.
The Legacy Ranch series follows several of these men as they recover. The first one we follow is Kyle, who has been on the Double D, but is so damaged he’s barely able to function. He’s fine with horses, but he’s just not so good around men. Unfortunately most of the people at the ranch are men! He can tolerate Jack, but he’s scared to death of Riley, who reminds him of one of the men that hurt him. Also around the ranch is Darren, the brother of Hank, Kyle’s main abuser. Darren had nothing to do with it, and would have stopped it if he had known, but Kyle is so uncomfortable around Darren he can hardly stand it. So Jack moves Kyle out to the barely finished Legacy Ranch, along with two horses. Kyle isn’t sure about this, but agrees to give it a shot. He’s even less convinced when he’s told he’s getting a helper/resident, Jason, who has his own set of issues…
Jason is quite surprised to find himself at a ranch. He’s been on the streets, sucking men off, sleeping in the park, barely surviving for several years. Through a chain of events, he ends up at a center, finally getting some help. Until he fucks up and is sent to a ranch by the director of the center. He has no idea what is happening to him, hates horses, and is a total city boy. But maybe this ranch, with it’s current resident, who seems more fucked up that Jason is, just might be what he needs.
Kyle and Jason are both so messed up, in some ways similarly. Both have had bad sexual experiences (and that is so not the right term for what Kyle went through), and are tentative with physical affection. Both have PTSD and some mental issues, again Kyle’s due to his abuse, Jason seems to have had some issues that have gotten worse while living on the streets. Both are untrusting of this new situation and fearful of being sent away. Both find healing on the ranch and with horses. Kyle, not so unexpectedly since he’s a horse/ranch guy, but Jason very surprisingly bonds with a horse. Both find healing in working and building on the ranch. Both find healing in each other and their relationship. Kyle is stronger physically and at times emotionally, but then Jason steps up and shows he has some spirit and a backbone, right when Kyle needs that strength. Both show vulnerability to the other, at just the right times. Both overreact at times. Basically they make a remarkably good couple!
I really liked this book. I did read all of the Texas books, but I have to admit they got to be a bit much for me. Soooo much happened, soooo much drama, soooo much family, just soooo much everything. I liked them for the most part, but…. So I was a little worried about this one. I was concerned it would be overdone, and maybe get too much in to the drama of Riley and Jack. But it was just right! It’s a small story, just about Kyle and Jason, and their issues. Tight and neat, focusing on the two men. The other men are around, there is some healing that needed to happen, but for the most part it takes place at the Legacy. There were a couple of little things that I did notice though. I was a little uncomfortable with the way Jason is just left on the ranch with Kyle, and no attempt at counseling or supervision is established. Kyle is not qualified to deal with Jason, and does a good job with what little he knows. It just seems like Jack and Riley could have made more of an effort to get them some help. I also would also have liked to see their sexual relationship developed more. They both have some serious issues in that department, and we see the beginning of that healing, but I wanted maybe another 50 pages and some more physical bonding for them.
My favorite RJ Scott books have been ones like this, with focused plots. I love it when she has two men, bonding, loving, and growing together. I love her damaged men, and having two in one story is even better. There is just enough drama between Jason and Kyle to keep it interesting, it’s not all focused on their backstories. I loved how they worked together on the ranch, growing closer emotionally and physically in spite of their individual issues. It’s like they didn’t even realize it was happening until it was over! I love that. Sneaky love….
So yeah! Great book! I think you could read this without having read the Texas books, You might miss some of the relationships between the additional characters, and knowing Kyle’s background may help. But I only read them once and obviously don’t remember much, and did just fine with this book. So I think you could start with this one on its own. If you like it, then go start the Texas series.
I’m looking forward to the next book in this series!