Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dark Horse

Title: Dark Horse
Author: Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 978-1-61581-466-4
Genre: [M/M/M] Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

When Dan met Justin Archer, he fell hard and they planned a life together but a year after his lover was severally injured during a riding competition, he’s left with a painful hole in his heart and a cold, empty bed. Between working as a horse trainer on Justin’s parents’ ranch and visiting Justin in the hospital, where he still lies in a coma, Dan has little time in his life for anything else. Still, the idea of giving up the dream life he’d planned is difficult and even though his head knows it’s unlikely Justin will ever recover, his heart can’t accept it.

Life changes when billionaire Evan Kaminski, his lover Jeff Stevens and little sister Tatiana, come to the ranch looking for a horse for the fifteen year-old. This chance meeting sets Dan’s life on another path that over a period of months leads him to a new job on the other side of the country. While Dan can’t deny his instant attraction to the passionate Evan, or the steady sexiness of Jeff, Dan’s still not certain his heart’s ready to take another chance on love. Does he share his life with Evan and Jeff, or would it be better to avoid being hurt, by going through life alone?

Dark Horse is the first release by new author Kate Sherwood. It’s long at 379 pages; each one packed with a depth of sorrow and pain I’ve rarely seen, so if you tear up and cry easily, get a box of tissues ready. You just might need them.

The story is told entirely in Dan’s point of view so the reader knows from the beginning how this emotionally wounded man feels about his job, his life and the people he works for. I enjoyed the way Ms. Sherwood described horse training, breeding and the competitive world of Eventing. While the story could have become unwieldy with needless ‘horsey’ details that didn’t move the tale forward, instead the author used restraint, including just enough information to allow the reader to feel a part Dan’s world.

The characters - Dan is, by far, the most complicated person in the story, and in some respects his own worst enemy. He wants the man he can’t have, yet is afraid to reach out for the love and affection being offered. He’s anxious, uncertain, unsettled, apprehensive and appalled that he wants another man—two men—while Justin is still alive, which makes for a great deal of angst. Evan is exuberant, forceful, straightforward and used to getting what he wants. Jeff is older, wiser, easy to get along with, tender and caring. These three men are totally different, but Ms. Sherwood has brought them together in a believable and creative manner. From what I’ve said don’t expect the entire story to be filled with emotional upheaval, because that isn’t the case. There’s also fun, caring, tenderness, bantering conversation, and a nice build-up of sexual tension.

I mentioned the long length before and I will honestly admit there were a few places where I felt the plot bogged down. What I found particularly frustrating was Dan’s inability to move forward with his life, not whining exactly, but at times close, and since we don’t know what motivates Jeff and Evan, it left me wondering why they bothered with Dan. The only way I can classify the end is—a happy for now…maybe.

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