Lorelei James brings us her eighth book in the “Blacktop Cowboys” series, entitled “Hang Tough.” Coincidentally, she’s releasing it on the first day of a huge election month in the US of A. Saying “Hang Tough” seems apropos. But, that li’l ol’ comment is neither here nor there. This book is about looking for true love, finding it, keeping it, and making it work.
Lately, I’ve found myself a bit tired reading about alpha males and whiny, immature females. Not to say that I’ll forever forego those types of stories (except that I wish to leave behind whiny and irritating female characters), but after one too many Trump-ish book moments, I’ve had enough. Thankfully, I received an ARC of “Hang Tough,” and got to submerge myself in Ms. James’ Wyoming world where I met gentle giant, Tobin, again. Tobin Hale has been a fixture for so long – i.e., in many previous Blacktop Cowboys books – that I sorta felt like his story HAD to be an awesome one, for the long wait to be justified. I, for one, after reading his story, was not disappointed.
“Hang Tough” was a slow burn of a love story. Tobin’s love interest, Jade Evans, is someone I never expected – in a story I never expected to like. Sure, she’s Mud Lily Garnet’s granddaughter, but it turns out – she’s of mixed heritage: Mexican and Chinese. Lo and behold! A non-white woman as a romance novel heroine! OMG. THAT made me love this book all the more. Probably because I can relate to Jade. She landed in Muddy Gap, Wyoming, straight out of NYC, to check on her gun-toting jailbird of a grandmother. Professionally, she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place – she has a degree in history and music, but hasn’t been able to find a job that pays relatively well to make her happy and survive in big, bad New York. In short, she’s burnt out and in limbo; she went off to Wyoming on a family-related mission, and unexpectedly found what she was looking for. Tobin is also in limbo – he hasn’t felt like he’s using his full brain capacity and educational background in Renner Jackson’s Split Rock ranch. After all, he was originally promised that he’d be in charge of Renner’s genetics and breeding program. When that didn’t happen at all, he got frustrated and planned on leaving Muddy Gap for good. New place, new life, after all. When Tobin met Jade, though, thanks to the shenanigans of Miz Garnet, everything changed.
I never did get a complete understanding of how Tobin and Jade’s life post-discovery of love, as things were all up in the air, except for their taking up permanent residency in Muddy Gap, but there was a teaser into Tobin’s brother, Streeter’s, newly uprooted life in Split Rock… I can’t help but think we ain’t heard the end yet of my favorite Blacktop Cowboys. I loved Tobin’s story, and frankly, I can’t wait to see more of the guys and gals from Muddy Gap.