When Leontine asked me to write a guest review for her Smutty Researchers at Play event I did a little happy dance! I feel like Leontine and I are smut-sisters-in-crime and I adore her and her fabulous ideas! She liked me to do one of my High Five, Low Five reviews about the latest installment of Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series because she knows how much I love this series about hot and sexy cowboys! So, here it goes.
Samhain Publishing - June, 2010 - 232 pages - ISBN 9781609280635
Series: Rough Riders series, book #9
Although this is the ninth book in the series, it can be read as a standalone. Part of the extensive McKay clan does make an appearance, but their role is secondary to Kane’s and Ginger’s love story. For a better understanding of where Kane is coming from though, reading a few of the previous books is recommended, especially the book in which he’s introduced, Tied Up, Tied Down.
Genre & Keywords: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Cowboys, Rope play, Sexual dominance, Parenthood
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames
This is one of my High 5, Low 5 reviews. The High Five are five things that have impressed me or that I really enjoyed, and the Low Five are five things that had me shaking my head or raise my brows in a less admiring way.
Raising Kane is the ninth book of Lorelei James’ Rough Riders series and features another one of the hot McKay brothers and cousins: Kane. He’s the twin brother of Kade, who starred in book #4 Tied Up, Tied Down and who is one of my all time favorite book boyfriends. Kane always was sort of Kade’s evil twin, giving the McKay men their bad boy image. But the death of one of their cousins has changed him and now he’s let his wild hair down.
Kane’s love interest, Ginger, also has quite some history, although this is the first time in the series we learn about that. So when she and Kane get together they both have some issues to overcome. But how perfect can two people be for each other? Really, it's hard not to love this independent woman and her sexy cowboy!
The Back Blurb:
She surrendered the reins. Now he’s raising the stakes
When a patch of ice sends attorney Ginger Paulson head-over-high-heels down a flight of stairs, she has no one to care for her young son and her invalid father. Until lethally sexy Kane McKay shows up at the hospital, determined to prove his cowboy chivalry. Past experience has inoculated her against take-charge men, but even Ginger isn’t immune to Kane’s invasive charm and Built Ford Tough body.
For two years rancher Kane McKay has followed the Little Buddies mentoring program’s cardinal rule—hands off his Little Buddy Hayden’s mama. But one look at Ginger’s bruised body and Kane is through watching the stubborn woman take care of everyone but herself. The feisty, curvy redhead needs his help, and he’ll give her the hands-on type whether she likes it or not.
After Kane throws out doctor’s orders and issues his own demands—her full sexual submission—Ginger realizes Kane’s caring nature extends beyond just fulfilling her physical needs.
Can the former hell-raiser convince the gun-shy single mom to look beyond his past…toward a shared future?
Warning: Contains one sweet and hot hunk of cowboy manflesh who uses every sexual trick in the book to render a sassy fast-talking attorney speechless and puts a new twist on the term “binding” arbitration.
• Very erotic read!
Let’s start with the smut, after all I’m a ‘smutty researcher’ here. ;) If you’ve never read one of Lorelei James’ books before you’re definitely missing out on some of the very best smutty love scenes in the genre of erotic romance! As many books as Ms James has written yet, the sex scenes never become repetitive and are always scorching hot. Plus she knows perfectly how to convince me of the beauty of a dominant male in the bedroom (not that I need much convincing *ahum*). Her McKay men all have a sexual controlling nature, Kane is no exception, and that makes for super hot scenes that scorch your panties in a blink of an eye! But the appeal of it all is, that these erotic scenes all have a natural feel to them. They fit in the story smoothly without the book becoming an accumulation of one hot scene after the other for the sake of being erotic. No, the love scenes do each play a role in the relationship development. So, we get the best of two worlds.
• Strong, amiable main characters
Both Ginger and Kane are characters you can’t help but love. Ginger is a strong, independent woman who takes care of her invalid father and young son without ever being selfish. She does have some difficulties to trust a man and surrender to her feelings for Kane, but never to a point that her doubts become annoying. Kane is almost too good to be true. He’s hot for Ginger but acts completely selfless to win her trust and out of respect for her and her son and father. And Ginger does notice this:
“Kane’s consideration brought a lump to Ginger’s throat. This man was so much…more than she’d ever imagined. Sexy. Thoughtful. Sweet.”To be honest, at this point I couldn’t help but think that his behavior was a little bit too perfect! Good thing he became more demanding and less selfless in the bedroom shortly after that ;). Also, he showed some insecurities, although not too openly, about being less smart and sophisticated than Ginger, he being a cowboy, she an attorney. These tiny things saved him from becoming boringly perfect or perfectly boring ;).
A strong characteristic of Ginger’s and Kane’s relationship was imo the fact that they were friends before lovers (thanks to the Little Buddy program that brought Kane and Gingers son Hayden together). Plus, both protags are in their thirties and leading a ‘mature’ life, and they have to deal with daily little burdens. Somehow this makes their love story very natural and their relationship to develop like a real one would.
• Great writing
Ms James’ writing is flowing and her words are easily evoking the images she wants us to see. I often felt as if the characters were there in the room with me and I could feel what they felt and join in the action any minute, *grin*, like in the next scene:
“Kane’s moist lips teased her ear and followed her jawline. A delicious slow, warm shudder worked through her entire body. He brushed his mouth across hers. Once. Then he eased back slightly to gauge her reaction.Another strong characteristic are the dialogues, which are a pleasure to read. Not only because they are quick and funny but vibrant as well. This made the interaction between the H/h very appealing.
Unconsciously, Ginger licked her lips.
A half growl rumbled from his chest and Kane captured her mouth and he kissed her.
Man, had he ever kissed her. A tongue-plundering, lip-gliding, hot, wet and conquering kiss. She figured she’d have a real screaming orgasm if she kept kissing Kane McKay, so she kept her lips locked on his. Lord, his kisses alone made her dizzy with desire. Drunk on his wicked sensuality.
The kiss ebbed and flowed, relaxed and intensified, and seemed to go on forever, but not nearly long enough.”
• Subtle humor
I enjoy Lorelei James’ sense of humor which is already present in the naughty and double-meaning titles of the Rough Riders books. The title ‘Raising Kane’ makes you think of ‘raising hell’ but also of the biblical brothers Abel and Cain, which adds a slightly more serious note to it.
While telling her stories, sometimes the way Ms James phrases things makes me chuckle, sometimes other parts make me laugh out loud, like this one (which refers to Kane changing his name to Buck in book #4):
“The great experiment with changing his name to something completely different from his twin brother’s had lasted until the night he’d picked up a brunette in a bar outside of Gillette. Her continual cries of “Fuck me, Buck” and “Buck me, Buck” and “Suck me, Buck” were enough to make him ditch the name altogether—not that it’d really caught on.”The laughs and chuckles always come unexpectedly; it never feels like the author tries to be funny to all cost, which brings the best smiles.
• Rich, real secondary cast
One of the strong features of this whole series, even when you read one of the books as a standalone, is the extensive cast of secondary characters. None of the couples are isolated from their surroundings, but always have strong supporting characters in their lives. In Raising Kane there’s not only the McKay family which we can follow throughout the series, but also new characters, like Ginger’s dad and son, Hayden, and they all feel like real people. Although the presence of the kid sometimes causes some interruptions of the sexy scenes - which is never something I’m too thrilled about - I must admit that his and Kane’s relationship was very endearing and sweet.
I’m going to keep these short, because they really were only tiny niggles.
• Lack of angst
I like my romances a wee bit more intense. This ninth installment of the series was nearly angst free, which made it a much lighter read than the other books. It could’ve used some sort of misunderstanding or emotional drama perhaps.
• Goatees and oral scenes don’t match
I hardly swoon over men with permanent facial hair, although I can appreciate a five o’clock scruff very much. Kane has a goatee, which is fine when I’m not reminded too often of it. But it kept turning up, especially in some oral scenes and in relation to juices getting caught in it. Meh.
• Too tough?
I like my heroines to be tough and independent, and I loved Ginger for that, but at one point I wondered if she could really be that tough. Very shortly after she’s recovered from an injured shoulder, Kane ties her hands behind her back for quite a long time, without her uttering a single complaint, not during the scene nor afterwards.
• More please!
I regretted it when the story was over, maybe because I was expecting a plot twist or some sort of explosive climax in the story arc. But that probably wouldn’t have done this couple any justice, given their quiet, solid relationship building. I still would’ve liked to read a little bit more about them.
• Unfinished second storyline
There was another storyline in which Kane’s cousin Brandt takes the lead. He’s in love with his brother’s widow Jessie but she only sees him as a brother. It’s not the first time Ms James adds a second storyline to one of her books, for example I really enjoyed Carter’s in book #2, but this time it’s not a completed storyline, although it looked like it was going to be at first. It’s more of a set up for a next book in the series, while it takes up pretty much space. We were left hanging and therefore these parts felt out of place.
Those were my five highs and five lows. I really enjoyed Raising Kane! It’s a highly erotic and heartwarming love story with great main characters. Although I missed some emotional drama and would’ve liked one or two heartbreaking moments, this was still a fabulous installment in the Rough Riders series. It had great dialogues, wonderful writing, loveable protags and excellent sexual tension. It’s a sexy and sweet romance that had me purring while I was reading it. And now I’m jonesing for the next book, Cowgirls Don’t Cry, that will be released in November. Yippeeh!
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