Review: Hard Ridin’ by Em Petrova

With a tender caress, Jens brushed his lips over Laurel’s. A smile spread through his heart. “Looks like you just bought a two-for-one deal, darlin’.”

Hard Ridin' by Em PetrovaLaurel is caught between a rock and hard place, or rather two hot cowboys that she can’t choose between. When her lover Holden abruptly shows up after an eight month absence to find her making out on the dance floor with his best friend Jens, the fists start flying. These two cowboys both want her and are willing to fight to keep her. Holden messed up when he left to work on the fishing boat in Alaska (what a farmer cowboy is doing on a fishing boat in Alaska I have no idea), he never contacted Laurel either by phone or letter and this led to her thinking he didn’t want to be with her anymore. She turns to Jens for companionship, but they end up far more than friends. Jens had no idea that Holden and Laurel were together before, but now he is in love with her himself and is not going to let go. There is also the added issue that Laurel has rented a small tract of land from these cowboys, who jointly own a ranch, and has sunk all of her money into an organic farming venture.

I enjoy reading ménages, but I very rarely find them believable. I mean how can two men share a woman and not be either extremely jealous all the time or hot for each other? What made this one work for me was the fact that it contained both. Each of these men start out very jealous of each other, to the point where there are fists fights and angry words exchanged. They only agree to “share” Laurel with the intention of battling for her affections. One of them gets her daytime hours and the other her nights. They flip a coin to decide who gets which. Seriously. They flip a coin. Laurel is in love with both men and simply can’t choose so she takes them up on the offer to share.  After several weeks of Laurel getting the business around the clock two things happen…. First, Holden gets a taste of the combined juices of his woman and his best friend and gets really turned on and then the old man down the road dies and both him and Jens come to the realization that two men protecting Laurel are better than one. This leads to the three of them ending up in bed together, where Jens and Holden decide they feel more for each other than just friendship.

The sex was hot, really hot, but this scene made me snicker:

He was glad to see she possessed pubic hair. It was so much more feminine than some of the hairless women he’d seen in magazines. Besides, the hair would hold her scent and flavors better.

Do men think these things when they finally get a woman out of her panties? Um, okay. Anyway, these two men are very different. Holden seems at first to be a hot head who leads with his emotions while Jens is the more laid back man who is really trying to find a way to keep everyone from getting hurt. In the bedroom these two switch personalities and Jens becomes the dominant who wants to control his lovers while Holden is willing to be directed into doing what will give them all the most pleasure. I think I found the two men discovering their attraction for each other to be the sexiest parts of the love scenes. Lots of eye contact, hard kissing and moaning and groaning. Good stuff. There is a slight issue at the end that makes both men act like idiots, do the wrong thing and almost mess up the good thing they’ve got going. This didn’t really add or subtract from the story other than to make me shake my head at their stupidity. It did lead to a super hot love scene.

This ménage worked for me. I enjoyed all the characters and found their road to happiness to be one of the more believable ones I’ve read in a while. All in all a pleasant, erotic way to spend the afternoon reading. Final Grade: B-

Favorite Quote:

“I was so afraid I lost you both,” he murmured in a grating voice.

She shook her head and pressed her lips to the place in his throat where his pulse beat frantically. “Never. It’s always been the three of us, Jens. Without you, Holden and I can’t function.”

Rating: B-
Hard Ridin’ by Em Petrova
February 5th 2013 by Samhain
Amazon || Barnes & Noble 


  1. says

    Holden gets a taste of the combined juices of his woman and his best friend and gets really turned

    Ohhhhh myyyyy. So in a pratical sense menages don’t work for me either but I sure do like to read about them. Nice review!

  2. cayenne says

    This book was a last shot for Em Petrova as an auto-buy for me, and since I pre-ordered it before seeing reviews, I’m relieved that you liked it. So: yay!

    • Angela says

      Yay! I’m always bummed when I preorder and then read bad reviews later on. I hope this works for you.