'Hay & Heartbreak' is Bailey Bradford's seventh installment in her series Mossy Glenn Ranch which is a spin-off from 'Love In Xxchange' and yes I've read them all. So I'm familiar with the characters and I'm definitely a little bit invested in following through to see how things wrap up. In total this has involved 17 books and a few side stories. All of which I was considering giving up on after reading book #6 Broncs & Bullies.
Book #6 was about Duke and Frankie and in it we say Duke begin to rebuild his relationship with his brother, Dan. Book 7 basically picks up from there and we get Dan's story. Dan's been in prison for the past 10 years for a crime which he didn't commit and for which he's finally been exonerated (no secret here this is basically the first paragraph of the book blurb). I knew from the opening scene in this book that this one was definitely a step above previous books in this series. Ms Bradford gave us that moment with Dan where he finds out that his life is his own again and for me it was very well done and I was hooked.
Dan is quickly learning that when you go into prison at 18 and come out at the ripe old age of 28 the adjustment is rough, but he's determined. He's going to do better and he's not going to fall back into his old habits. Habits that he believes would have eventually landed him in prison anyways. He wants to build a life for himself one that includes re-connecting with his brother Dan and getting to know Dan's partner Frankie. Apparently Karma, likes Dan's plan because Dan needs a break from the struggles of re-entering the world and when Duke has a riding accident that leaves him in need of more help than just Frankie is able to provide Dan offers to go help. Desperate for a bit of relief from dealing with his grumpy bear of a man, Frankie is all over that offer and books Dan on the first plane to Mossy Glenn.
Duffle bag in hand Dan gets on the plane to head out to Montana and re-build his shaky relationship with Duke. What he doesn't know is that waiting for him at the airport is the other half of another relationship that will come to mean just as much to him. One look at Hector the friendly cowboy who shows up at the airport to get Dan and Dan's world does a bit of a tilt. For both men the attraction is undeniable.
This all worked so well because it wasn't insta-love and neither of our MCs pretended it was. It was a bit of insta-attraction and lust at first sight, which for me are very believable responses to have. Both of these men were at a point where they wanted something more than hook-ups and one night stands and with the attraction being strong they were willing to take a shot at seeing where it would lead them. There were problems misunderstandings even miscommunication but it all worked because there was also friendship, effort and good communication. The ending for me felt right and I was happy to see these two men find in each other what they needed to build a better future for themselves.
I'm not sure whether it's the author or me but this one just worked and was an enjoyable read with believable characters and from the looks of things it's introduced us to at least one of the MCs for the next book and that makes me smile because I really like him. Joaquin has a very small part in this story but I like the person that we are shown through it. He's got his own troubles but in spite of the turmoil in his life he's someone with strength of character so I'm really looking forward to the next book an finding out more at this man.