Lost Rider by Harper Sloan (Coming Home #1)
Released: April 25, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “Are you drunk, baby?” Maverick smirks at me.
“You want to keep getting drunk or go home?”
“That depends,” I whisper huskily, crooking my finger so he’ll bend closer to me. “Do I get to ride my cowboy in both scenarios or only one?”
I’ve never read Harper Sloan (I plan to hit her back list hard after this one) and when I saw in the blurb the hero is a retired rodeo star, I decided to try it. I’m so, so glad I did because I really enjoyed this book and this author’s voice. The way she writes her hero (and maybe even her heroine) reminds me a bit of Kristen Ashley, which is a good thing.
Maverick is an asshole to start – and I have to say, an asshole hero done right is my catnip. Two things happen that make him a successful asshole: one, he is redeemed by the end of the book (dare I say, he turns quite mushy after starting off VERY intense) and two, Leighton, our heroine, stands up to him and gives it back just as good as he dishes it out. I adored her.
Maverick and Leighton grew up together in Pine Oaks, Texas, and Leighton crushed hard on Maverick who is a few years older than her. When he is eighteen, Maverick decides he needs to leave this town and explore his dreams of being a rodeo star. In a desperate attempt to gain his attention, Leighton goes to a bonfire shortly before he leaves, dressed in a more…mature fashion..and overhears Maverick saying how she is trying too hard and she has the body of a boy. Devastated, Leighton flees, and Maverick leaves for rodeo stardom, not to be seen again for years.
But Maverick won’t be gone forever. Ten years later, he has had one too many concussions and can’t ride anymore. At the same time, he learns his father has died, so he grudgingly goes back home for the funeral, and to see his brother Clay, his sister Quinn and back to the family ranch. He doesn’t like ranching, but he also feels like with his rodeo career over, it’s time settle down and help out his brother and sister. Maverick had an abusive father and a mother who abandoned the family – so there is no love lost over the death of his father. His father never once supported his rodeo career:
Instead, all I can focus on is the fact that, even at my peak, I wasn’t good enough for him to be proud of me.
No matter what, the silence from him over the years said it all. He couldn’t give two fucks what I accomplished out there on the circuit.
It took me a long time to realize that I had been pushing myself for so long to prove to him I was worthy, but even when I fucking knew it wasn’t worth it, something inside me still wanted to matter to Buford Davis.
When Maverick arrives back in Pine Oak he is bitter, pissed off, and in no mood for friends or family. And then he sees Leighton at the funeral.
Leighton has spent the years with Maverick gone, well, thinking about him. She has opened a very successful pie shop in town, and is happy – but her love for Maverick has never wavered. She is extremely close with both Quinn and Clay – they have become her family and she knows the tension with Maverick being gone so long and not really part of the ranch or family is pretty intense. She knows Maverick will be back for the funeral and her tension is ramped up too. Their reunion at the funeral however, doesn’t go so well. Maverick doesn’t even recognize her at first, thinking she is a random girlfriend of Clay’s:
“How well do you even know her? You haven’t said one word about have a new piece of ass so she must not have been in the picture long. Best I can tell, I’m not too far off the mark.”
“How well do I know her?” He laughs bitterly. “I’d say pretty well, considering she’s been Quinn’s best friend for twenty-six fuckin’ years. Why don’t you let that sink in, you fuckin’ asshole?”
My eyes leave his instantly and I look over to his truck, trying to see past the black tint that hides her from my view. No fucking way. It couldn’t be.
But even when he realizes this random woman is Leighton, he still can’t be nice. He is such a jerk – because he obviously secretly loves her, but he is so bitter over his past with his dad, and feels guilty over how he treated Leighton all those years ago – it’s easier to be a big jerk than to apologize
“Yeah. Like I said, you ain’t over shit. I was out of line. We need to put it behind us so I can go back to the ranch.”
His words hit me, the meaning clear, and I’m suddenly even more pissed than I was just a second before.
“So you can go back to the ranch?”
“That’s what I said.”
“Why, you good-for-nothing jerk. You didn’t come over here to apologize for showing your ass, but to what? You get put in time-out by Clay? Or Quinn? You could have saved us both the trouble and just driven around in that flashy little truck of yours for a red-hot minute before heading back and reporting to them like a good little boy that you had done as ordered.”
“Now, you listen here—” he starts, stepping forward, our chests just a foot apart.
“Oh, I don’t think so, mister. You might think the sun came up just to hear you crow, but I assure you that I don’t need your cocky ass lighting my doorstep.”
I love Leighton SO much. She can take his surly attitude and throw it right back in his face. She never gets whiny or acts immature – her feisty attitude made me smile over and over again. She fully admits to herself that he is still so damn sexy, even when he is scowling and shooting off his mouth. She doesn’t deny their attraction, but doesn’t let him get away with anything either. Heck – she even throws a pie in his face!
“You want your pie?!” I yell, my voice coming out more like a high-pitched screech. My ears roar as my heart picks up speed with my anger and I feel like I can actually hear the blood rushing through my veins. “You want your blasted pie?” I knock him in the gut with my shoulder hard enough to make him shuffle back a step as I push past him and walk over to the fridge that’s closest to my office. The one that I keep all my special pies in. Wrenching the door open, I grab the closest cookie dough creation before slamming the door back.
“You want your pie, Mav?” I ask again, this time hiding my anger behind a sticky-sweet voice and a little smile.
He doesn’t speak, and honestly, I’m not sure I’m capable of giving him a word in anyway. Without a second thought, I bring my arm back before I swing it forward and slap the whole pie into his face.
“There’s your goddamn pie, you good-for-nothing jackass!”
Have I mentioned yet that this book is sexxxxy?
With quick and impatient movements, he pulls his hips back, moves his hand from my hair and down to my hips—mirroring the hold of his other hand as he lifts me from him and slams me back down over his hard cock, impaling me completely.
He growls deep in his throat.
I scream loud enough to wake the dead.
His head falls forward, forehead to my sweat-slicked chest.
My head falls back, forehead to the ceiling.
They have explosive sex pretty quick…and then they take a step back and sort out their true feelings. Maverick goes from pissed off asshole to a pretty mushy romantic hero pretty quick in this one. I kind of wanted him to stay jerky for just a bit longer because the sexual tension was just so delicious, but his romantic side and they way he decided to court Leighton properly made me smile as well.
I also loved Clay and Quinn (her book is next). Clay is just as intense as Maverick and is extremely protective of Leighton – he squares off against Maverick when he first comes back home and their scenes are so well done. There is a lot of growly words between them.
And Quinn is a riot – when she learns that Maverick and Leighton are giving it a go at a relationship she made me laugh:
“Ohmigod. Ohmigod. Oh. My. God,” my sister mutters under her breath, eyes even wider. “Clay,” she says with a gasp, reaching out blindly behind her to find him, not looking away from the two of us. “Clayton!” she screams when her hand can’t find him.
“Jesus, Quinn, take a breath,” he grumbles, grabbing her hand before she can slap him.
“It’s happening,” she breathes.
“You are the weirdest person in the world,” Leigh says, laughing.
I highly recommend this one. Maverick, with his southern drawl and all his “darlin’s” and his Stetson and dusty boots are going to make you swoon. And Leighton is such a fun heroine. Dying for Quinn’s book.