The Stolen Suitor by Eli Easton

StolenSuitor[The]

From Dreamspinner:

His future was set until a thief stole his heart.

All of Clyde’s Corner, Montana, knows local dandy Chris Ramsey will marry Trix Stubben, young widow and heir to the richest ranch in the area. But one woman isn’t too keen on the idea. Mabe Crassen wants to get her hands on that ranch, so she sets her older son to court Trix, and her younger son, Jeremy, to distract Chris and lure him astray.

Jeremy Crassen thinks his mother’s scheme is crazy. But he wants desperately to go off to college, which Mabe will agree to—if he seduces Chris. How will shy, virginal, secretly gay Jeremy attract Chris, who seems determined to do the right thing and marry Trix? Jeremy can’t compete with a rich female widow. Or can he?

 

Kimi’s thoughts:

This reads as if it was written before equal marriage and not updated, as it flat out states gay marriage isn’t legal in Montana at the time of the story’s setting. Not that this is a problem, but with it being a new release and nothing else to  indicate otherwise, I was happily motoring along under the assumption that it was set in the here and now until that tidbit was shared, so I thought I’d give folks a heads up. That aside, I did have a few other issues.

I knew going in that the Dreamspun Desires line is meant to be “traditional” old school Harlequin/Mills and Boon type romances featuring m/m pairings. So, I wasn’t expecting serious angst or anything like that. After all, sometimes you just want some fluff, and these promised plenty of it. Yes, plenty of sweet fluff was indeed present. I found myself unable to completely enjoy it though as  I was pulled out of the story several times by the prose, having to blink and ask myself, “Seriously?!”

This gem was one such occasion:

“You look like a grape man-sundae in that shirt. I’m already looking forward to dessert.”

Between such treats as this, all the hair flipping, obsession with blow drying hair, etc., were constant plot reminders the could have been edited out. A scene with Trix? A reminder that she had really, really loved her husband John and so should just marry John’s gay bestie as she’ll never be able to love another man. Jeremy? Got to have a reference to his long bangs, the fact that his dad died in prison, and he was raised in a trailer. Chris? Got to mention AGAIN how his previous boyfriend was a cheat, so if he wants a family, he’d be best off marrying his dead best friend’s wife and raising his kid.

The facile way both Jeremy and Eric take to Mabe’s idea, though for their own reasons, not hers, also rather disturbed me. It was a bit TOO fantastic, but not as fantastic as how forgiving Billy Stubben is, already excusing her transgression against him (and a certain someone else, but no spoilers here) as a simple forgivable one chalked up lightly as mere pride.There were more niggles, especially in regards to Janie towards the end of the book.  All together, it was simply too much for me to really get into, which is a shame, because in between all of this, is the bones to a really sweet romance that had the characters been fleshed out a bit more and the plot tightened up, would have made for a really great read rather than a merely middle of the road one.

Rating: 3

 

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