Harper Masterson finds herself in need of a job. She supports herself and her younger sister by working a couple of jobs but when she loses one she has got to find another job quick. It’s not easy for her to find employment in her small town. Not only are jobs hard to come by, but she’s also the daughter of the former town floozy and she’s finding it hard to live down her mother’s reputation..Cattleman Bran Turner is a man down during calving season and desperately in need of help. When Harper’s best friend Celia realizes Harper needs a job she sees a golden opportunity to play matchmaker to get these two together.Bran is doubtful of former beauty queen Harper’s ability to handle the job, but he needs a hand and takes her on. It doesn’t take long before sparks start flying but they know anything between them can only be temporary. Harper plans to leave Muddy Gap, Wyoming as soon as her sister graduates.
Sophia: Saddled and Spurred is the second book in Lorelei James Blacktop Cowboys series. Let’s start by talking about Harper. What were your first impressions of her and did those thoughts change throughout the story or stay the same?
Samantha: I was concerned at first I wouldn’t like Harper being that she was a former beauty queen. The word whiny instantly came to mind. But after that first interaction with Bran when she went for the job interview I got the impression she was going to be a hard worker and not rest on her good looks and bat her eyelashes at Bran. And sure enough I ended up really liking her. I appreciated her no-nonsense/take whatever was thrown her way attitude. What about you?
Sophia: I liked Harper too for the same reasons as you. I kind of thought the beauty queen angle was weird though. Not because I don’t like beauty queens, but because I had the impression that Harper didn’t have much money growing up. She did the pageant circuit to earn money but I always thought the pageants were expensive to compete in. Her mother wasn’t exactly mother of the year material so I don’t think she really had any support from her either. I felt the beauty queen angle was a little weak and unnecessary. I loved that Harper was a hard-working, no-nonsense woman and I didn’t feel that her being a beauty queen made her character more interesting.
Samantha: Mmmm let’s talk about Bran. Hot cowboy whose been unlucky in love? Check! Playful and inventive in bed? Check! Works those sexy cowboy fingers to the bone? Check! Lorelei James always has a way of pulling my teenage fantasies right out of my head and plunking them down on paper. Did you find Bran as hot as I did?
Sophia: Samantha, I don’t think there is a Lorelei James cowboy that I can say I don’t like. She writes’em smokin’ ass hot and there is just no way around it. Bran was sexy without even trying! I’m a sucker for a cowboy that’s been unlucky in love. I do have to say that I kind of love Bran’s ex for giving him the fainting goats. I loved their names- Pox and Hex.
Samantha: I actually liked Saddled and Spurred better than the first book in the series that was focused on two men fighting for one woman. I also liked that Harper’s sister didn’t become a major focus in the story because I felt that could have taken away from the romance brewing between Harper and Bran. For some reason I just connected emotionally more with this book – perhaps it was all the scenes that took place on Bran’s ranch because ranch life is near and dear to my heart as a former ranch girl myself.
Sophia: This is where we’re going to disagree. While I enjoyed this book I think I liked the first one better. This was a nice romance but it was slightly lacking in the intense passion that I’ve come to expect from Lorelei James’ heroes and heroines. Harper and Bran had it going on but it was just ok for me, not WOW!
However I do agree with you regarding Harper’s sister and how the story was very focused on Bran and Harper’s romance. The cast of characters in this series is already becoming very large but I liked that the focus remained on the romance without spending too much time on sub-plots.
Samantha: I’m really curious to see where Lorelei James goes with the dynamic between Celia and Kyle. Do you think there’s a fiery relationship building there? Also did you catch the reference to the cowboy who enjoys himself a man from time to time? Let’s hope he’s not forgotten about in the future.
Sophia: I liked Celia in Corralled and was hoping we’d see more of her as the series goes on and eventually see her get her own book. I worried the ‘overly protective brother’ thing would play out in her story line but it looks like she’ll stand on her own two feet. I really like the chemistry that is brewing with her and Kyle and hope they will be the next big love story.
I totally missed the ‘cowboy who enjoys himself a man from time to time’ reference!! How did I miss this? Lorelei James has ‘gone there’ in the past with her Rough Riders series so let’s hope she keeps it real in this series as well.
Samantha: You forgot about Breck? The sometimes man lovin’ cowboy who Celia has enjoyed herself a time or two? Shame. Shame. I haven’t been able to get him out of my mind.
Sophia: *shamefully hands in her m/m smut card*
Samantha: Back to Harper and Bran – there was a lot of build up to when they finally got around to having sex. And what about that first time between them? I was nervous after that but things seemed to pick up steam. I will say that the lovely little scene on pages 212-215 that involved a little self spanking while being spanked was a juicy surprise.
Sophia: I always like good sexual tension (and a juicy surprise) and a nice build up but I felt things moved a little slower than I wanted them to in this story. Now there was no shortage of steamy scenes, that’s for sure but I got impatient! I can’t get the erotic dream that Harper had about Bran out of my head. S.E.X.Y.
Overall I enjoyed the second book in the Blacktop Cowboy series but I just wasn’t completely invested in the romance. It was nice, sexy and fun but didn’t have that hot spark that was expecting. That’s not to say I wouldn’t shove your granny out-of-the-way to get to the next book in the series though because I will, I mean it!
I give Saddled and Spurred 3.5 hearts
Samantha: Ok woman – hands off my granny because she can throw down and she’s durrty too. I inherited all her good genes in case you were wondering.
Well, overall I didn’t find anything earth shattering in this romance, but I did enjoy it. I found it to be an easy read that I read all in one sitting. And I really liked Bran. *swoon*
I too would give Saddled and Spurred 3.5 stars.
Samantha’s Favorite Quote:
Who knew the stem portion of an old electric toothbrush, the backside of his electric shaver, and the mini massager he claimed he actually used for sore leg muscles could be turned into impromptu sex toys?
Sophia’s Favorite Quote:
“I plan to use my hands, my mouth, and my cock to fuck that basic vanilla sex right outta you.”