“Love is a cowboy’s hardest ride.” ― C.B. Smith
Title: With This Ring, I Thee…Oh Sh*t!
Author: Dane Waters
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 184 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: The days leading up to Dean’s wedding include his mild mannered fiancée morphing into a Texas diva. A future father in law who’d like nothing more than to shoot him in the back. Horny bridesmaids with handcuffs, a Texas sized bar fight, a stripper with hygiene issues, and riding a horse without getting killed. Leo, his fiancé’s little brother, gets him through it all as well as reigniting the urges Dean thought he’d put to rest years ago.
In one night Leo lost the love of his father, the ranch meant to be his, and almost his life. After eight years, he’s forced to return to Texas or risk his sister’s inheritance. Leo must face his past, the father who despises him, and the violent sadist hell bent on revenge. Leo finds an unexpected friend in Dean. Giving Dean a taste of sex with a man is supposed to help Dean decide, once and for all, what he wants. Falling in love with him was never part of the plan.
Review: Dane Waters is a fairly new M/M author. I only found one other title by her, which was published last year. I am always torn over whether or not to read new authors with short track records, because they are an unknown quantity. Usually, I guess it comes down to my mood. Am I up for the possibility of being very disappointed but prepared to be enormously and pleasantly surprised? In this instance, the latter was the case. I love it when that happens.
With This Ring… had everything a reader could want. Hot cowboys, a gun toting father-in-law to-be, horny bridesmaids, the zilla of all bridezillas, a best man who takes the groom-to-be’s breath away, and just happens to be the brother of the bride-to-be. And did I mention the hot cowboys?
Elaine is one person in New York, where she and her fiancé Dean live and have been in a relationship for the past three years. They’re comfortable and safe, and getting married just seems like the next step on their path. But when Elaine and Dean travel to Texas for a week-long (!) wedding celebration, she morphs into Lani, a spoiled little girl with a rich daddy who jumps when she commands it, and a southern accent so thick Dean can hardly understand her.
Lani’s brother Leo was forced to leave the family ranch eight years ago, and the story of why is a little murky. Lani wants Leo there to be Dean’s best man, so her daddy makes it happen. He tells Leo that if he fails to show up for the wedding, Lani will lose her inheritance. Leo’s is long gone, but he loves his sister and doesn’t want her to be hurt. She has no idea what happened eight years ago and what her daddy does to get Leo home for the wedding.
Daddy dearest puts Dean in the cabin furthest from the big ranch house, and sees that the air conditioning doesn’t work in the Texas summer heat. As another f**k you, he puts Leo in the same cabin. He knows Leo is gay but doesn’t know that Dean has done more than what would qualify as experimenting with men in the past. Before he met Elaine, of course. On the plus side, Leo knows how to fix the A/C!
The man who caused all the pain and family drama eight years ago is now the ranch foreman, the job that would have been Leo’s if his father hadn’t forced him off the ranch. He is a mean, ugly sumbitch whom Dean hates on sight. Slowly, the story of what happened that night long ago comes out. It does so as Dean and Leo spend more time together doing groom and best man type stuff. They are, after all, stuck in the same cabin for a WEEK of wedding festivities. The way Leo takes Dean under his wing and teaches him the things he needs to know so he doesn’t embarrass himself in front of his new bride and father-in-law was so sweet and selfless. I loved Leo and knew immediately that his dad was a dick and had banished him because he’s a homophobe.
Dean’s innocence, yes, innocence, when thrown into the pit with this family had the potential to be very sad. Everyone except Elaine and Leo seemed to be against the wedding for one reason or another. If the wedding planner and Leo and one of the cousins (but mostly Leo!) hadn’t come to his rescue, it would have been a disaster.
Well, the inevitable happened and Leo fell in love with Dean. Dean fell in love with Leo and realized he had never really loved Elaine but that she was, and is, his best friend. So there’s a wedding, a ton of parties, a drunk man shooting in the dark, shower sex, a Texas sized bar fight, bed sex, a wolf in the woods, dancing lessons, horse riding, an evil villain trying to get to Leo, really ugly dresses, and, as a very welcome change of pace, a lesbian love match!
A lot, right? But it works. Dane Waters writes it in a way that doesn’t come across as melodramatic or over the top. I really couldn’t put this book down. I had to read the last third tethered to the outlet because my Kindle almost died and I had to read with it plugged in. Thankfully, I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I could have finished reading it if the Kindle had completely died. Way TMI, sorry. Point is this book was great. It’s not a five star rating because I hold those for books I consider perfect and that touch me in profound ways. This wasn’t that, but it was really a wonderful book. I can’t wait to read Ms. Waters’ other book and whatever else she publishes!
You can buy With This Ring, I Thee…Oh Sh*t! here: