Four months ago Robert Edward “Arie” Hawkins lost his sister and the rest of her family in a plane crash. Now his parents have decided it’s time for him to marry and carry on the family name. Arie knows it’s most likely the grief talking—especially from his mother, who’s taken to putting more than ice in her iced tea—so to escape Mississippi, Arie calls his best friend, Robbie, and arranges for a visit.
Life is always changing at the Michigan farm where Robbie lives. Owner Geoff Laughton and his partner, Eli, have started a therapeutic riding program and adopted a little boy, creating a family. It’s while feeding Jakey that Arie meets Officer Hunky.
Officer Hunky’s real name is Deputy Duane Keenan, and he has troubles of his own, but not enough to stop him from pursuing Arie. But Duane’s and Arie’s families are pulling them in opposite directions. Trying to build a connection to support their mutual attraction may prove to be more than difficult… it may be impossible.
Arie Hawkins misses his sister, Charlotte, horribly. Charlotte and her family were in a plane crash months prior to the story beginning and Arie and his family are in a state of grief and sorrow that doesn’t seem to be lifting. Arie’s parents talk to him about producing an heir now that he’s an only child – completely ignoring the fact that he’s gay. Arie has decided that he needs to get away from his mother’s depression and drinking so he calls his friend Robbie (from Love Means…No Boundaries) and asks if he can come visit him at the farm where Robbie works.
Arie arrives at the farm and immediately feels more relaxed. He is surprised by the fact that the farm owners, Geoff and Eli have adopted a son but he loves taking care of little Jakey. He quickly falls into a routine of helping with their horseback riding therapy classes and feels more at home every day. Almost from the start Arie finds himself attracted to sheriff deputy Duane Keenan. The pair become almost inseparable and find themselves becoming closer and closer. But Arie is only there for a visit and if their feelings for each other deepen what will that mean for the men when Arie heads home to Mississippi?
This is book 7 in the Farm series and though I read this one out of order (I haven't read books 5 & 6 yet) I didn’t find that I missed too much. Since I had read the first 4 books I was pretty caught up with the characters that were involved in this book and didn’t feel lost at all.
The story is very sweet and pretty easy going in the fact that Duane and Arie hit it off right away and there’s not a ton of angst. Yes, they have their issues that need to be dealt with later in the book but even those were worked out without too much argument between the men.
There was a portion of the book that I felt was a bit superfluous and that was the small suspense plot. There were shots fired at the farm and though they were investigated and eventually solved the reasoning behind it was only guess at and never fully explained. Yes, I wondered who the person while it was happening but really I just thought it was something that was added but didn’t really forward the story in any way.
One of the big issues in the story was Arie’s parents – especially his mother's– nonacceptance of his sexual preference. She wanted him to give her a grandchild but when it came down to it she didn’t want him to grow up or to leave home at all. Arie’s parents were well off and Arie and his sister had gone to boarding schools while his parents traveled. Arie felt that besides his sister he really hadn’t had any family life and he craved that with everything that he was. I really loved how the differences with Arie and his parents were dealt with and that everyone could find happiness.
While this series seems to me a bit too good to be true I really enjoy reading it. I think that the love and acceptance that is always within arms reach makes for great HEA’s.
Rating: 3.25 out of 5