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Riding Hard

Bennett Boys Ranch, Book 2

by Lauren Landish

A city girl reins in the cowboy of her hottest dreams in Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Landish’s wild romance.

As the eldest brother, the responsibility for the family ranch now rests on Mark Bennett’s broad shoulders. He wouldn’t have it any other way—he loves being in charge. Working hard on the land helps him stay focused and keeps him from noticing what’s missing in his life—what he’ll never allow himself to have for fear that one small taste will break his careful control.

But a sweet blue-eyed blonde has just arrived in town, and the attraction between them is undeniably hot. So Mark tightens the reins around his heart—how can he tell her what he really wants?

Events planner Katelyn Johnson’s new gig is the wedding of a rodeo superstar. Right now, it’s tough not to focus on the rider’s tempting older brother. So far, getting beneath Mark’s gorgeously gruff exterior has been a pleasure.

What she needs to do is go a little deeper. But the closer they get, the more Mark pulls away. Katelyn’s not afraid of a challenge, though. Whatever deep desires he’s hiding, she wants in on his secrets.

All she has to do is get past his legendary reserve. With all her body, heart, and soul, there’s nothing she can’t handle.

(I didn’t read the first book in the series and, while I’m curious how Mark was portrayed there, I didn’t really feel like I missed anything.)

Damaged by an early relationship, Mark’s held himself back for a lot of years, considering himself to be unlovable.  And definitely too dark for someone as sweet as Katelyn.  As we begin to understand why Mark is the way he is, we fall a little more for the stand-offish cowboy who is so dedicated to his family but secretly dislikes himself just as much.  It’ll take a special woman to get through to him and make him realize that he’s worthy of love … and he’s just met his match.

I loved how everyone considered Mark to be cold and reserved but Katelyn was able to see below the surface to the real him.  She shows a lot of perseverance and grit pushing for what she wants, especially when what she wanted was Mark.  It’s a very adult thing to not turn tail and run at every bump in the road, even when that bump is as big as this particular cowboy, and Landish does a great job of giving us a heroine (and a hero) that we can get behind.

Riding Hard has just a little extra heat, a whole lot of understanding, and a hero who finally finds his perfect match.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the next Bennett brother 🙂