Riding & Regrets by Bailey Bradford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Riding & Regrets was a heartbreaker of a novel for me. I found myself wanting to cry for Prissy’s early years and being shuffled around by a mother who wasn’t prepared to be one. This, of course, made me want to bawl when Jody’s love for his daughter grew exponentially considering how little time passed from her sudden arrival in his life to the beautiful ceremony in the epilogue – yet another event that left teary-eyed. Also heart wrenching was Noel’s past and what he endured at the hands of a man who was supposed to love him. While there were plenty of tears to go around in this installment, they were both sad tears and happy tears and I found the overriding theme of the book to be extremely hopeful despite the heartbreak both men endured before finding their happiness.
I was excited to read this book after the way the ending of Fences & Freedom mentioned Jody’s previously unknown child showing up unexpectedly. It wasn’t the idea of a gay man having a child that caught my attention, but rather that the child’s existence was unknown AND unexpected. Granted the unknown wasn’t a total surprise because that kind of thing happens regularly, but the unexpected had my interest peaked and as the story played out I understood why Jody was so thrown by the appearance of his child – he didn’t remember having sex with the mother, or any woman for that matter. Fortunately, the child looked so much like him that he never disputed that he was Prissy’s father and he threw himself fully into being the best father he could be for his little girl. While his bosses and the other hands at the ranch were far more supportive than he ever could have hoped for, Jody understood that he was going to have to put Prissy in daycare while he worked at the ranch. Enter Noel, the nephew of the daycare’s owner, Ashville’s newest temporary (maybe) resident, and the man who may just save Jody from becoming an old fuddy-duddy.
While the attraction between the two men was obvious, Bradford didn’t allow the men to hook-up immediately. The author actually keeps their early interactions true to form for a new parent by Jody being so busy that days and days pass between conversations, dates, and taking it further with Noel. I loved this. Yes, Jody is only twenty, but he’s a new father working full-time who is now a single parent as well. It stands to reason that he would be too tired to go trolling for dates as well as having no time for them either. But when Noel finally makes his move on Jody, oh my goodness was it hot! I enjoyed the symmetry between Noel’s inability to forget the horrors of his nightmare relationship and Jody’s inability to remember the events of the night he conceived Prissy. It enabled them to provide a level of comfort and understanding to one another that I think helped cement their relationship. Watching Jody and Noel fall in love and build their family was a wonderful experience, which was topped off by getting to see Jody threaten Noel’s tormentor and Noel face down his tormentor. And I must say that I loved how that whole scenario played out. Watching the entire ranch fall in love with Prissy was so sweet too. I’m looking forward to reading Broncs & Bullies soon because I’m dying to see what’s up with Duke and Frankie.
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
Check out the Riding and Regrets (Mossy Glenn Ranch #5) by Bailey Bradford blog post on Crystal’s Many Reviewers.
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