Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tru Smoke by Edie Danford

Tru Smoke (Ember Peak, #1)*** 1/2
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… Whenever Jones touches him, flames flicker in Truitt Larkin's smoky-gray eyes. 

Growing up in Ember Peak, Colorado, Jones Hudson nurtured dreams as big as the Rockies. Why else would a flat-broke college student believe he has a shot with Truitt Larkin, the billionaire CEO of Larkin Corp? And, sure, Tru might own the fab, five-thousand-acre Ember Peak Ranch, where Jones is just the son of a ranch employee, but that doesn’t mean a future with Tru is doomed, does it? When he finally, finally convinces Tru to break his chiseled-in-rock no-sex-ever policy, Jones is sure smoke will never shroud Tru’s silver-flame eyes again.

But fire burns and dreams crash. And Jones leaves Ember Peak—and a big chunk of his heart—behind.

Tru knows he’s responsible for fracturing his valued friendship with Jones. Indulging his attraction to the younger man was selfish and destructive—something he’ll always regret. When Jones returns to Ember Peak for a family wedding, Tru wants a chance to heal their friendship and give back to Jones the comfort of coming home. But sparks fly the moment they reunite, and they scramble to douse the passion that’s burned them both before. Yet a flicker of hope glows brightly, and soon they need all their courage to see their way to a future together.


A few things drew me to this story.  First, I’ve been wanting to read a story by Edie Danford ever since reading How We Began, which she edited.  Second, there is a certain allure of the second-chance and friends-to-lovers combo that I couldn’t ignore.  Lastly, I’ve been searching for m/m cowboy/western romance and was crossing my fingers that this would finally be the one that I love.

In a many ways I found a gem in Tru North.  The writing was unbelievably rich.  So much detail on every page.  Any reader that loves to immerse themselves in a setting will love the descriptions of Ember Peak Ranch and the characters.  Anyone looking for a lot of time with their heroes will be happy with the length of this story.  Both heroes were extremely lovable.  Jones’ growth from their first try at a relationship to the next time they see each other is significant.  His certainty in what he wants out of life is extremely attractive.  As his deep affection for his friends and family.  Truitt was a little more difficult to understand.  He’s a closed book to himself and those around him.  But the more Truitt reveals to himself and the reader the deeper his attachment to Jones grows.   

My biggest struggle with this story was how their relationship began (meeting when Jones was 5 and Truitt 19 years old) and where it ended it up.  It left me feeling slightly uncomfortable.  What I like to call “Thorn Birds” uncomfortable.  Significant age differences rarely bother me.  But just like I could never quite reconcile Father Ralph and Maggie’s priest/child parishioner relationship with their romantic adult relationship, I had a very hard time accepting Truitt and Jones’ older/younger brother relationship with THEIR adult romantic relationship.   Obviously, that’s my own issue and not a big enough one to make me stop reading (I finished The Thorn Birds too).   

That struggle aside, I really enjoyed this story.  It was something different that helped me move out of a long term book funk.  If you are looking to immerse yourself in a romance that truly has everything Tru Smoke might be the book for you.  Heads up, Tru and Jones story has a Happy For Now conclusion.  Fortunately, we get to find out what happens next in Tru Burn which releases in December.


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