Author: T.A. Chase
Genre: Gay / Contemporary / Fantasy / Shapeshifter
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5Hearts
Blurb: More than twenty years ago, Branimir Javlosk moved from Montana to Kentucky, following the man he loved to a strange new place. They started a rescue farm and rehab center for retired racehorses, or any equine that needed their help. Branimir gained a reputation as a horse whisperer, able to teach the most frightened horse to trust. They were on top of the world—until Branimir’s lover died in a car accident.
Since then, Branimir’s continued on, allowing the horses that need him to fill the empty place left by his tragic loss. Yet Branimir has a secret hidden deep inside of him. One he lets out only on rare occasions when there is a need.
Austin Jameson Spellsin is the youngest and favored son of one of the country’s richest men. But Austin’s not interested in working in the family business of building oilrigs. He wants to ride horses in the Olympics, eventing, to be specific. Yet with all his money, he’s never found the right horse for him. Until one morning, he stares at a scar-covered, half-starving mare named Mary’s Gospel and sees the look of eagles in her unvanquished gaze.
Of course, falling in love with the damaged mare isn’t going to make her want Austin, so he turns to the one man he knows can help him. Taking Mary’s Gospel to Branimir seems the best way to win the mare’s troubled heart. Little does Austin expect that Mary’s Gospel will lose her heart to the older cowboy, but Austin will also find himself aching to heal the wounded soul hiding inside Branimir…
Product Link: http://amberquill.com/AmberAllure/LongestStride.html
Review: I found “The Longest Stride” a very peculiar book to read. While decently written and with a potential theme, it did not met with my expectations. By the end of the book, I was left wondering why Chase included a shifter thread. She could as well gone with a talented horse whisperer and have the same result. Also, I found the blurb and book itself not match in the little details, it felt like the blurb was written first based on the draft and the novel was chopped of later during editing, but they forgot to correct the details of the blurb…
Let’s start by saying that this is the story of Branimir and Austin.
Branimir is a middle-aged man, quite handsome and well endowed. He has a Rehabilitation Center for retired and abused horses. He and his late partner (Tilman) were quite famous due to Tilman’s great riding and Branimir’s special talent with horses. He is rumored to be a horse whisperer. Now I know that in the blurb we are informed that Tilman died in a car accident, but I didn’t found that information in the book… Branimir is also a horse-shifter, however we only see him shift a couple of times right at the start of the book and then one last time at the end and while he has certain abilities with the horses due to his inheritance, he almost never uses them because he feels like he’s cheating!? So all in all I got the impression that his entire “magic” of being a shifter in this book served no other reason than the explanation of his relationship with his father (herd stallion). Too bad that this new shifting form was left unexplored, it would have been interesting to read.
Austin comes from a wealthy family, but he has no interest on his father’s business. He loves horses and has made quite a name in the circle as an excellent event rider and trainer. He’s passionate with horses, loving them even if they don’t “pay their expenses”. Bran and Austin meet when Austin saves a mare that was being abused by her owner. Bran offers him his help with the mare’s mental health and that is the start of their anticipated relationship. For the months that it took Bran to help the mare Austin stayed with him at his farm and the two men steadily fell in love. A change comes in the plot when Bran’s little brother, Drahomir, shows up suddenly and after him their Father. It was then that I thought that the shifting would serve its purpose and give us something to blow our mind at last, alas, it didn’t happened.
As I said in the beginning, while this book had potentials it simply failed to get there and I would not recommend it if you are an avid paranormal/shifter reader. This is not that kind of book. However, if you’re up for a m/m cowboyish romance you might want to give it a try. And if you love horses this book is quite detailed about them and their mentality.