Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Last Bouquet
SERIES: Cattle Valley #10
AUTHOR: Carol Lynne
PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing
LENGTH: 138 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 16, 2009
Tyler Manning hates seeing Hearn Sutherland mourn over a jerk like Mitch Lanham. Every week Hearn comes into Tyler’s shop to pick up fresh flowers for his lover’s grave, and every minute spent with the good-looking man makes Tyler love him more.
Since Mitch’s death, Hearn has become withdrawn and sullen. For months before Mitch’s accident, Hearn tried to fight the attraction he felt for his best friend, Tyler. Now nine months later, he learns the truth about his long-term partner, one that will change Hearn’s life forever.
When Tyler convinces Hearn to run for mayor against Cattle Valley’s own favourite son, Nate Gills, Hearn knows he’s in for a bumpy ride.
Nate has his own bumps in the road to overcome. With the threat of a long-time secret being exposed, Nate must finally come to terms with his past. Opening himself to criticism from his partners, Ryan and Rio, isn’t going to be easy, but Nate knows the time has come to confess his past sins.
Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.
Much like The Sound of White, this latest book in the Cattle Valley Series features two sets of couples: established ménage Ryan, Rio and Nate and friends turned lovers Hearn and Tyler. I have to say that I liked this a lot better than the Sound of White but I think that was in part because I was already familiar with, and really liked, Ryan, Rio and Nate. That being said, despite how much I like those three and always enjoy seeing them popping in and out of everyone else’s stories, I almost resented their ‘intrusion’ into what was essentially Hearn and Tyler’s story. Allow me to explain.
Hearn’s ex, Mitch, was a horrible human being and you get to see that a bit in regards to Jax in Bad Boy Cowboy so I was really revved up to see Hearn get his own happy ending with a man that has spent their entire friendship loving him from afar. When the truth around Mitch and his philandering ways is finally revealed, I was super excited to see Hearn and Tyler come together and was really looking forward to seeing them transition from friends to lovers. I was practically salivating at the thought of these two men finally owning up to their feelings. And then my awesome Hearn and Tyler moments were interrupted by Nate. *sigh* I can understand why the trio was included in this to a point; Nate and Hearn both end up running for Mayor now that Quade is gone and this whole thing gave the author a chance to open up about Nate’s past, a subject that has been steered clear of up until this point. So, I kind of get it. However. This was first and foremost about Tyler and Hearn and I didn’t think they got the attention they deserved because the trio took up a good portion of the pages; I mean, I already read Ryan, Rio and Nate’s story and I didn’t need more of a spotlight on them here.
I liked the book but more for watching Hearn and Tyler come together and then seeing them make a family. Honestly, if the book had just focused on them, I would’ve rated it higher but felt a little cheated by the end that I didn’t get my full dose of those two men together. I did enjoy this more than the previous book, which is a plus, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series but I’ll be honest in my hope that there aren’t any more two couple books in the future.