August 2, 2010

First in a new series about some hard-riding rodeo cowboys...and the women who can rein them in.

Sports therapist Lainie Capshaw has been rehabilitating injured cowboys long enough to know that a charming western drawl combined with a fine physical form doesn't mean you fall for the man.

So no one is more surprised than Lainie when she finds herself involved with not one, but two different men: Hank Lawson, a bullfighter, and Kyle Gilchrist, a bull rider. Lainie feels guilty about her two-timing, but it doesn't keep her from doubling her fun-that is until Hank catches her with Kyle.

She's shocked that Hank isn't mad. But she's more shocked to learn Hank and Kyle are hometown buddies. But when the men offer to share her-in every way-she knows that she's going to have to choose the one man who can give her the ride of her life.

Title: Corralled
Author: Lorelei James
Series: Black Top Cowboys, book 1
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Nal Signet
Year of release: 2010, August 3
Format: Trade Size Paperback, 339 pages
Source: Received for ARC-review from author
First line: "Screwing two guys doesn't make you a slut."
Memorable Scenes:
- The saddle/sawhorse scene > hot doesn't even begin to describe this scene
- The colored condoms scene > hilariously funny in the midst of some scorching sexy times

The very first line of this book (see above) drew me in immediately. Okay, I admit that the ménage trope lover in me interpreted the sentence in a different way than it was meant to be but I’m willing to bet I am not alone in that. Truthfully in the beginning of the book Lainie isn’t screwing both guys at the very same time. She is kind of dating them at the same time. But as the blurb indicates it soon went the course of my initial thought.

Lainie Capshaw works as a med tech for the two largest rodeo organizations: CRA and EBS. She’s hooked up with 2 cowboys, each competing in 1 of the organizations, Hank Lawson is a bullfighter with the CRA and Kyle Gilchrist is a bull rider with the EBS. When they discover by chance that Lainie is dating them both, the suggestion of a threesome is quickly made and they embark on a road-trip together for Kyle’s rodeo tour with the CRA.

Both Kyle and Hank are as alpha as they come and they’re both hardheaded and very competitive but that’s where the similarities end because otherwise they are total opposites. Hank is dark and brooding, very down-to-earth and not much for antics, sexual or otherwise. However, Hank has a hidden kinky side he keeps in check because he thinks Lainie isn’t into that and I was happy to see that side emerge in the course of the book. Kyle is a golden boy, vibrant, impulsive and sexually inventive but also sweet and he has his moments where his competitiveness ignite some darker thoughts in him.

Lainie is the daughter of a legendary bull rider, Jason Capshaw, who died tragically during a bull ride. This has great impact on her character and her development in the book. Lainie is sweet and caring but she’s definitely no pushover. She definitely held her ground with the two alpha cowboys trying to outshine each other in order to become the one she would choose in the end.

Lorelei James is amazing at family dynamics and Lainie’s relationship with her mother and the impact of the loss of her father are great examples of this but Hank’s family and Kyle’s bond with his mom also contributed to the intense personal relations I love to read about in her books.

I very much liked the approach Lorelei James took on the threesome aspect of the romance. It’s a realistic one in my opinion because it’s more often that a choice is in play when three people enter a (sexual) relationship, rather than settling in for a permanent three-way relationship. It was very interesting see the dynamics of a threesome at play when it’s something new for all three participants and when they aren’t completely comfortable with it and trying to find their way and their roles in it. The fact that both Hank and Kyle were very take-charge yet a bit unsure of how to make it all work contributed to my enjoyment of this aspect of the romance. It was also fascinating to see how both Kyle and Hank see what is different in what the other ones brings into the threesome and they see what they fail to bring to the table themselves. Initially Hank is more gentle and attentive, more in tune with Lainie’s pleasure and comfort and Kyle brings the fun and kink but in their competitiveness for Lainie’s affections they both try to take over some of the things the other one offers.

The feelings of jealousy envy and possessiveness over Lainie both Kyle and Hank had, stayed on the right side of bothersome for me. Again proof of Lorelei James’ writing skills. It was natural for them to feel these things but on the other hand they knew what they were getting into when they decided to propose a threesome to Lainie. At one point I really empathized with her insecurity about their fight for her affections: Was it about her or about outdoing each other? I applaud how, right when an aspect in the threesome and the arrangement was threatening to become annoying, Lorelei James went and solved it by making Hank and Kyle realize they were handling the whole threesome thing in a not so pleasant way for Lainie and they changed up their tactics. Two thumbs up for Ms. James here. This is what makes her one of my all-time favorite erotic romance authors.

Early on in the book it’s clear, at least it was to me, who Lainie is going to end up with as Lorelei James gives enough small hints and clues towards the direction Lainie’s choice is going. She does this in a subtle manner without giving away too much and making the decisive scene a wonderfully emotional one, which I savored and was in total agreement with.

I liked Celia, Hank’s little sister, a lot! She’s a feisty, spunky little thing who is determined to follow her dream no matter how much her brothers try to stop her because they think it’s for her own good and because of their protective instincts. She reminded me of Keely McKay (from the Rough Riders) and I hope eventually she’ll get her own story in this series too. I even have an inkling of whom she should be paired up with but only time will tell if I’m right…as I was with Keely.

For me comparison with Lorelei James’ first book in the Rough Riders Series (LONG HARD RIDE) is inevitable as the premise of both books is very similar. However there are also plenty of differences, which was something I appreciated and was happy about. One of them was the fact that the page-count provided Lorelei James with even more room to deepen out the characters and to give the relationships room to grow and develop in a realistic time frame. The Rough Riders will always be my first Lorelei James love, but after reading CORRALLED I just know the Blacktop Cowboys are going to give them a run for their money.

I don’t have much material to compare her with, as most of the western-themed romance books I’ve read are by her hand, but I do believe Lorelei James is the queen of all and everything cowboy. She really knows her stuff and that makes her books treasures of knowledge about rodeos and ranching, next to all the heat she delivers in the smoking love scenes. Reading CORRALLED made me wish I could book a flight and hop on a plane to the US, rent an RV and go touring around Wyoming. I am dead serious here. And not only on the off chance that I’d meet a cowboy like Hank or Kyle or one of the others, but the scenery alone and the way Lorelei James described it, is enough to tempt me.

I was also very pleased with the way Lorelei James portrayed the characters. They are very three-dimensional with their issues, flaws and history next to the hot sexiness of the books this is what appeals most to me in her books and CORRALLED is no exception. I loved the dialogues, which were easy and fluent and kept the book moving forward in a fast-paced way and were witty and fun to read. The banter and innuendo between the characters was excellently executed and so were the more emotional dialogues when some heavier subjects were broached.

One thing: CORRALLED is labeled as a contemporary romance (at least that’s what my ARC copy says, I don’t know what they put on the finished copies) but there should definitely be an additional erotic romance label included because of its explicitness and the amount of sex scenes. Readers who expect a sweet western romance from this book? You won’t be getting that. It’s sexy and very explicit. Not that I am complaining here because I expected nothing less from Lorelei James but readers who aren’t into erotic romance might not like this book. Just giving them a head-up here.

No matter what series, no matter if it’s with a digital first publisher or a big NYC print publisher, Lorelei James knows how to write awesome and sizzling hot, need-a-fan, grab-your-man dirty sex scenes. And she skillfully combines them with great family dynamics, intense emotions you can easily relate to and a vast and excellent knowledge of rodeo and ranching. For me CORRALLED equals humor, emotions, depth and hot sex. All the things I love in the books I read were delivered here, making it another keeper on my shelves and convincing me without a doubt that no matter what Lorelei James writes, I’ll adore it.


Kyle and Hank discussing the idea of a threesome:
“That don’t mean that I’m on board”
“For a threesome? Why the hell not? I’m totally on board.” Hank snickered. “You ain’t afraid Lainie will be comparing our dick sizes or something?”
“F#ck off, Lawson. That ain’t what concerns me. What if part of her deal is she wants us to be together, kissing and touching and shit like them women in porn threesomes are?”
That visual immediately caught Hank’s attention. His body went rigid before he shuddered. “No f#cking way am I sucking your dick, Gilly.”

Hank sure knows how to kiss:
His mouth descended and she was lost.
Velvety soft lips brushing hers. Crushing hers. His tongue stroked and teased. Coaxing. Devouring. He repositioned his head, taking the kiss down to the depths of her soul.

Hank feeling a bit insecure after Kyle’s been wooing Lainie:
Bastard had it all planned out how he’d edge Hank out. Flowers, cozy domestic scenes, and the all-important time alone, where he’d probably do some Kama Sutra type sex shit to Lainie that Hank had never even heard of. Or some multi-orgasmic tantric stuff. F#ck that.

Kyle and Hank discuss sleeping arrangements after Lainie has shut them out of the bedroom:
“I guess we’ll deal with it then. Looks like you ‘n’ me are bunk mates.”
“F#ckin awesome.”
“Sucks worse for me Hank. I thought I’d be snuggled up to soft and sweet-smelling curves and instead I’m stuck with you.”
“Ain’t no snuggling between us, hoss. You touch me and I’m decking you.”


Sparklybearsy said...

Wow!! it sound awesome! and im adding it TBR ASAP!! I love me some threesome fun between the pages and cowboys...RAWR!

Really great review hun!

Mandi said...

I enjoyed this one too...and I agree - I thought there was just enough jealousy, and tension between the three to make it work. I loved the decision at the end too..I thought it worked out perfect.

Anilú Magloire said...

Oh, man now I ACHE to read this!!! They better put the Kindle link up on Amazon, or else :(

Leontine said...

You're such a good LJ pimp Pearl! I really need to get a dosage of her storytelling soon, it has been a while I had some good cowboy smut. Celia has to chose a man...dang, I so would've loved a ménage HEA!! Did BookDepo come with some good news perhaps to brighten my day? :)

Pearl said...

Leontine > I am and always will be an LJ pimp. She is truly one of my favorite authors and proves it with every book she writes.

As to your question, the pre-order was released but nothing has arrived yet, maybe tomorrow wheee!

And yes Lainie (not Celia, she's Hank's baby sister) makes a choice between the two men. Menage HEA wouldn't work for this book IMO ;)

Lori said...

Great review. I just adore her books. It was on the shelves in Borders yesterday, but I only read her in e (inquiring eyes at my house want to know). So must order it now.

Annemiek V said...

L.J. is one of my favorite authors and Corralled will be on my shelf real soon. She is one of the best in cowboys and all of that what goes with them, i agree!
Only there are much more authors who i like that enter the same theme, Cat Johnson, Emma Wildes...
But Lorelei James is on top! Thanks Pearl, great review!

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Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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