Corralled by Lorelei James
Series: Blacktop Cowboys #1
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: August 3rd 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Sports therapist Lainie Capshaw has been rehabilitating injured cowboys long enough to know that a charming western drawl combined with a fine physical form doesn’t mean you fall for the man. So no one is more surprised than Lainie when she finds herself involved with not one, but two different men: Hank Lawson, a bullfighter, and Kyle Gilchrist, a bull rider. Lainie feels guilty about her two-timing, but it doesn’t keep her from doubling her fun-that is until Hank catches her with Kyle. She’s shocked that Hank isn’t mad. But she’s more shocked to learn Hank and Kyle are hometown buddies. But when the men offer to share her-in every way-she knows that she’s going to have to choose the one man who can give her the ride of her life.
Lainie Capshaw considers herself immune to smooth-talking cowboys and has no intention of getting involved with any of them. As a med tech for a sports medicine practice she splits her time between the country’s two largest rodeo organizations –the Cowboy Rodeo Association (CRA) and Extreme Bull Showcase (EBS). So she’s very surprised at finding herself involved with not one, but two of them at the same time. Hank Lawson is a bullfighter who works the CRA circuit and bull rider Kyle Gilchrist works the EBS circuit. Since these two circuits are separate, Lainie is sitting pretty. After all, the guys are in different circuits and no promises were ever made. For all she knew, they were probably getting it on with others.
Well, that smugness lasts for all of ten seconds. Kyle shows up at the event she is at with Hank and Hank catches them in a liplock! To make it even worse, both men are childhood friends! None of them is willing to give her up and she refuses to choose one over the other. Surprisingly they have a proposition for her: for the three weeks known on the circuit as Cowboy Christmas, they will share her. Lainie is on board with the idea of the men sharing her. As in a hot ménage with two sexy cowboys, right? Who could resist? Not quite. Each man intends to use the three weeks to win Lainie for himself.
Operation Win Lainie begins in earnest with each man seeking to outdo the other in the sack and there was a LOT of sexual heat! As can be the case with arrangements of this nature, jealousy reared its head, there were hurt feelings, awkward moments and the competition was fierce, with each man wanting one-on-one time with Lainie. I must confess that I really liked Hank right away. He had this sweetness and vulnerability that was endearing and his feelings for Lainie were so obvious from the beginning. Kyle on the other hand was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, out for a good time. For much of the story I was not sure who she would end up with, but the better man won in the end.
However, Corralled is not just about a hot ménage with two cowboys. Lorelei James uses the story to highlight the roadblocks and chauvinism a woman can face in male-dominated professions. She also throws light on the hardships there are on the rodeo circuit and the difficulties faced by riders in search of success. Most of all, the ugly emotional complications that can arise in a ménage relationship were underscored. Ms. James also provides enough of a backstory on the characters (even the secondary characters) to whet the reader’s appetite for more. There are a couple of unfinished issues that I would love to see resolved in subsequent books.
Can I say this? As much as I enjoyed Corralled, I did NOT like Lainie! There! I said it. Why? She had a lot of unresolved issues she kept running from – her relationships with her mother, her mentor, even her late father and try as I did, I could not connect with her. I hope that I read through the series, she redeems herself.
Corralled is a fantastic start to what promises to be a great series and I am eager read up on the exploits of the rest of the characters.