Series: Polo: Book Two
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (240 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 18th, 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: Finally reunited, Preston Fawkes and Konrad Schnell put family and obligations aside, preferring to remain in seclusion on Ned’s estate to get reacquainted. Unfortunately, reality can only be held off for so long, and they return to Texas to reclaim the life they put on pause. Trying to strike the right balance between business, family, and romance requires ongoing effort, and the challenges begin shortly after they arrive.
At the top of the list is Bandi, Konrad’s son, and his desire to play polo. A close second is Conrad “Sasha” Fawkes, Preston’s actor son who’s struggling to succeed on Broadway. And last, but certainly not least, is Paloma, the fiery Argentinean beauty Preston sired after a passionate tango.
Blending the interests and needs of three grown children is difficult at best and almost impossible when agendas collide and old secrets are unearthed. The situation comes to a head when the family gathers in San Antonio for Thanksgiving, throwing Preston and Konrad into a maelstrom they must weather as best they can, or they’ll face a major ride-off that could throw the game before it even starts.
Review: I loved Fire Horse. It was a book that engaged you from the very start, and a hell of a ride to take. I loved the end on that book as well, finally Flea and Kon found their happily ever after. But their happily ever after is not an easy thing to keep and maintain. It’s a characteristic of Ashling’s writing I’m beginning to think, to approach, and deliver her books with a great dose of realism. Yes, Preston and Konrad are finally together, but they both have too much baggage to carry on. Konrad has his demons to battle, memories of the past that don’t simply let him be, and his son is now too much grown up to constantly need a “chaperone” something that Konrad can’t seem to stop doing. And Preston, oh boy, if he doesn’t have a mess of a life. All the years he spend sexing around in a constant fight to elude the pain of losing Konrad, Preston had a son who finds himself from an only child to taking an appointment for his father’s attention, the little one he had so far becoming smaller. Paloma, the Argentinean daughter, makes a claim in his life too, and not to forget his long-lost and now found lover. Preston needs to balance his family and his love, but he was never good at that in first place.
That’s what Ride-Off is all about. There is no one protagonist here, there is not one couple. This book attacks fiercely at Preston and Konrad, Ned and Bandi, Sasha (Conrad) and Jeremy, and finally Paloma, the wild card.
I loved this book a lot. It lacked the heaviness the first one had, dealing mostly with the aftermath of a great love story. We see how a dysfunctional (and that is an understatement) family slowly grows into a more solid one, how people who love each other for years are practically strangers be it lovers or father and son, we deal with jealousy, pettiness, and a vast range of any emotion you can think of, and there surely isn’t any lack of drama around either. I think an epithet for this novel would be wholesome and it would do fine to describe it.
Ashling’s writing style is to be commended as well, as it is gorgeous really. I love reading her; she can turn the heaviest read into a joyful journey and gave me not one reason to say it wasn’t worth it. As it is, this novel ranged from funny, to emotional, to erotic and kinky, and I kept looking around waiting what surprise would come next.
I was shocked with Paloma, shocked even more with Pres and Kon, but the best surprise ever, one I never saw coming even though there were plenty of hints, was Jeremy. God I loved this character. I don’t know if it was because he was a new addition to the old cast or because he was simply astonishing. He was definitely the highlight and earthquake of this book for me.
Bottom end, this book was a time-well-spend and the best surprise after Fire Horse. Definitely a recommended one, although I’d suggest you pick up the first book in order to have a full understanding of the back-story and a better appreciation.