Racked and Stacked
by Lorelei James
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Book #9 in the Blacktop Cowboys series
Number of pages: 352
Source: borrowed from MCL
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 7/29/19 to 7/31/19
Growing up with three older brothers, Larissa “Riss” Thorpe defines the term tomboy–a moniker that never mattered to her until she crossed paths with sexy cowboy player Ike Palmer. Seeing him in action on the road, Riss can tell that Ike prefers his women soft-spoken and feminine. And since Riss is obviously not his type, it’s unlikely that they’ll mix business and pleasure when they’re in close quarters together.
Former cattle broker Ike Palmer was ready for a new chapter in his life as a stock contractor when he started working with Riss, a sassy truck driver who gets under his skin at every turn. But Riss is unlike any woman he’s ever met and her candor inflames him in the most unexpected ways.
After circumstances force a truce between them, Riss and Ike will have to choose to maintain the stubbornness that keeps them apart or take a chance on the fiery attraction that could lead to something more.
It’s been far too long since I’ve visited this series. As much as I can remember, we haven’t seen Riss and Ian in too deep of a storyline until now. I feel we’ve gotten to know Ike much better than Riss, which makes sense since she travels for work.
The chemistry and heat are definitely there with these two. It’s amazing how much you can find out you like a person once you call a truce and don’t go with your first knee-jerk reaction every time they say anything. That’s exactly what happens with these two. Once in a while they (Riss especially) revert to old habits and say some not-so-nice things to each other. But when that happens, the other usually realizes it’s happening and calls the other on it instead of falling down the rabbit hole of bickering.
Some of my favorite things about this story are the way Ike and Riss’ oldest brother have it out and come to understand each other on a different level. I really was not a fan of any of Riss’ brothers, but that conversation made me see I wasn’t getting the whole story yet. And to be clear, I’m positive we’ll get his story and see him get an HEA eventually. On top of that relationship build, there’s also an inside look at some mental health issues. It’s a bit different from what we usually see when author deal with depression. Ike is the type of guy people look at and think he has a great life, and he perpetuates that image. Which does nothing to help him out of his funk. I do wish the author would have delved a bit deeper into treatment for the things Ike was dealing with. It’s good it was a theme of this story though since the more mental health is brought into current culture, the more it will start to be de-stigmatized.
The way Riss and Ike call each other out and help open each other’s eyes is great. Not only do they have the heat to make them want to fall into bed together, they have a level of kinship and comfort that all of us deserve in any relationship.
Ike’s sisters are written wonderfully because I know people just like them. It’s so true to life, even though none of us want to think anyone is that oblivious or selfish. I am not a fan of any of them and I can only hope they’ll eventually redeem themselves. They don’t deserve to have Ike as a brother, protector, and guardian.
The next book in this series is out in a few months. Let’s hope I don’t let so much time slip away before I get my hands on it, I just adore this author and her characters.