Title: The Quality of Mercy (Bent Oak Saga: Book Two)
Author: Ari McKay
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
Category: Historical, Western
At a Glance: The Quality of Mercy is very well written and just a sweet love story with moments of humor and drama.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: Gil Porter and Matt Grayson’s Bent Oak Ranch in Mercy, Texas, is a rare haven for gay men in the nineteenth century, and their friend Carlos Hernandez will need it when a man from his past unexpectedly comes back into his life.
Jules Wingate hopes to start over in Mercy as the schoolmaster after a scandal sent him and his son fleeing their former home. But he discovers he’s left one bad situation for another when he encounters his former student and lover, Carlos. No matter how Jules tries to resist, he yearns for the passionate connection they once shared… before Carlos broke his heart.
Carlos knows his foolish, immature actions hurt Jules, but he desperately wants a second chance and to show Jules he’s changed. But trust so badly broken is hard to repair. While he works to earn Jules’s forgiveness, someone else at the ranch has his sights set on Carlos—and he doesn’t care how many lives he has to ruin to make Carlos his and his alone.
Review: Carlos Hernandez has settled down in Mercy, Texas, at the Bent Oak Ranch owned by Gil Porter and Matt Grayson. As a young man, Carlos sowed his wild oats, and feared being committed to anyone or anything. He’s grown to be a hardworking foreman and is committed to working with the horses, which he loves. But, most of all, Bent Oak is a place where he can be himself and maybe someday find that missing person to share his life with.
Jules Wingate and his stepson, Albert, have found a new home in Mercy. To avoid gossip and give Albert and himself a new start, Jules has taken the position of the new schoolmaster. Albert is just ecstatic, being in a new town, and though he’s well-mannered and educated, Jules is open minded about Al’s desire to be a cowboy.
During the meet-and-greet for Jules, he is overwhelmed by the turnout from the townspeople. He meets Jeanie, Robert, Gil and Matt, which turns out well for Al, but an old flame reignites when Carlos meets his former teacher and lover, Jules.
But Carlos’ downfall, at the time, was being young and fearful and still trying to find himself, which caused Jules great hurt. When Jules sees Carlos, after ten years, he wishes he’d never come to Mercy. For Jules, there is no avoiding Carlos when they are asked to entertain for the harvest festival. Carlos knows deep in his heart what pain he caused Jules. He even envies the fact that Jules has a grown son. Carlos wants to have a family, and he wants it all with Jules. He puts together a plan to woo and win Jules’ heart once again, with words of commitment, forgiveness and love. And he knows how to do that well; after all, he had the best teacher in Jules Wingate.
Ari McKay deliverers a great second chance love story set in the Old West, in the1890s. She also teases with the classic poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and makes mention of some great writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, and Herman Melville. The Quality of Mercy is very well written and just a sweet love story with moments of humor and drama. Carlos was a wonderful character who had his work cut out for him in trying to recapture Jules’ heart. Jules tried to stay strong and resist Carlos, but Carlos’ words of sincerity and longing wore Jules down.
Of course, it was nice to see how Gil Porter, Matt Grayson, and his sister, Jeanie,
progressed from first the installment, Finding Forgiveness. I, for one, was glad to see Ari McKay add another story to the Bent Oak Ranch series. I was surprised and thoroughly entertained.
You can buy The Quality of Mercy here:
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