Takin’ The Reins by Jenika Snow

Takin’ The Reins by Jenika Snow
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (76 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Jace Sterling works hard and plays harder, especially where it concerns the opposite sex. Women are his weakness, and he doesn’t try to express self-control when it comes to getting what he wants. But then he sees Lexi, a woman much younger than he is, and she has his full attention. He knows he just has to have her.

Lexi has wanted Jace since she was younger, but he’s over a decade older than she is and has never given her a second glance. When she returns to town after college and runs into the Sterling brother, the feelings she thought she’d buried come rushing back.

When a minor car accident puts Jace and Lexi back into each other’s lives, Jace knows he won’t walk away again, not when Lexi is the first woman to spark more than arousal in him. Everything he thought he knew about himself gets turned upside down where it concerns Lexi.

Can one young woman tame a notorious Sterling brother?

All Jace wanted to do was finish his day, head into town for some drinks and find a hot woman to spend the night with. His eldest brother might be settled down with a woman now, but that didn’t mean Jace intended to slow his partying ways down any. Then he met Lexie, and Jace finally realised what had been missing from his life.

I found this to be an interesting, rough-and-tumble style Cowboy story. I was a little surprised in the beginning just how cynical and rude Jace’s thoughts were. Wanting to head down to the local bar and only interested in “getting pussy” or how knew Lexie was braless by “the way her tits shook” when she moved. Sure, this is an erotic romance and I expect my sex to be graphic and steamy, but there’s certainly a line between keeping the bedroom door open, having plenty of dirty language/swearing in a story – and feeling as if the hero didn’t value or particularly respect women. I was nervous in those first few chapters that maybe I’d find Jace quite distasteful as a character. While Jace’s character (and manners) didn’t mellow much once he met up again with Lexie, his lust and attraction to her were strong enough that he was faithful in his trying to tie her down. And this made the rest of his actions somewhat easier for me to come to grips with.

Readers looking for any pretense of romance might be disappointed with this story. For almost the whole book Lexie fully expects to only have a few nights with Jace before he moves on – Lexie has no illusions about Jace’s history and sexual prowess. Similarly, while Jace seems more willing to accept Lexie was special and different to him, I found many of his actions and especially his constant heavy talk made it difficult to see him as romantic or regular hero-like in the usual sense.

On the other hand, readers just wanting a hot, hard, enthusiastic story about two consenting adults fucking hard and full of lust for each other should be pleased with getting exactly that. There’s no real plot to speak of – but in this shorter-length story the relationship between Jace and Lexie *is* the plot. Lexie absolutely owns her own sexuality – quite prepared to admit to herself she’d had a crush on Jace since she was twelve and seeing him as some sort of pinnacle of sexual prowess. I was really pleased when Lexie and Jace didn’t hook up immediately upon reconnecting – Lexie didn’t ditch the group of girlfriends she’d arrived at the bar with and that really impressed me. Girls who ditch their friends for a quick bit of sex are a pet peeve of mine. Waiting just that short length of time also helped build some of the sexual tension between Lexie and Jace – and made the chemistry between them even hotter to my mind.

The sex was deliciously hot and I really enjoyed it. There was plenty of dirty talk, though I didn’t think there was anything particularly kinky or outrageous about the sex itself. Both Jace and Lexie though had wonderfully dirty mouths and that helped put a bit of zing into the scene for me. A good, steamy sex scene which I found was an excellent culmination to Jace and Lexie slowly circling each other for much of the story. I have to admit I didn’t find the ending very realistic and this made me wince a little with how it felt a cliché. I felt it was extremely strange for both Lexie and Jace to have such a complete about-face right in the last few pages. Personally I would have been deeply satisfied with a Happy For Now style of ending – that would have suited the characters and where they’d come from far better to my mind – but the die-hard romantic in me just couldn’t argue with any Happy Ever After, no matter how unrealistic it might have felt.

I found this to be a good, quick read with some excellent sex and a different style of character. Not your average Cowboy romance but still a lot of fun.

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