Raising Kane by Lorelei James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The rough riders series is set around the McKay family and their ranches. The McKay family is made up of lots and lots of Alpha Cowboys with some VERY raunchy habits. They all have similar names (Incredibly confusing...I can never remember who is married to who!) and all are high-handed and hardheaded. Raising Kane is book 9. These books can be read as stand-alone, but I recommended that you don’t. Kane, for example, was introduced in one of the very early books and I think you need to read the background to truly appreciate the change in this Cowboy.
Kane used to be a party boy. All he cared about was ranching, boozing and sleeping with lots of women. This all changed when all his cousins and brother started to settle down and Kane didn’t have anyone to play with. To pass the time Kane gets involved with the Little Buddies programme; a group of men who provide moral guidance to little boys with no male role model (already I was half in lust with this man :D) Ginger Paulson is the mother of one of Kane’s little buddies Hayden. Sparks have always flown between these two but he doesn’t want her to think he is a complete man-whore who values chasing women over helping her son. When Ginger takes a tumble down a flight of stairs in icy conditions and ends up laid up, Kane stays at her house to take care of her, Hayden and her disabled father Dash. Pretty soon, the sparks turn into a raging inferno and these two end up getting it on anywhere and anytime.
Shockingly I loved this book. I am a humungous fan of Lorelei James so am very much biased here! The love story was already there from page one; there was no chance meeting and longing looks because these two already knew each other and fancied the pants off each other. Both were just idiots. Ginger didn’t want to jeopardise the relationship between her son and the man he idolised because every relationship she had ever known had turned to shit. Kane didn’t want to jeopardise his relationship with Hayden because he didn’t consider himself good enough for Ginger. When they actually had a conversation (shocking for characters in a love story I know) they realised that the attraction was mutual and if it didn’t all work out, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. So they decided to enjoy themselves and have some very hot sex. Which they did. Continually! In every book I have read in this book there have been suggestions of BDSM. The males are always in charge, generally there will be restraints and there will be complete submission from the women folk. Now don’t get me wrong, one of the many reasons I love this series is this continual theme but, in this book, I felt that Kane was a little ashamed of his sexual preferences and I felt a little sorry for him which made me enjoy the scenes a little less. Ginger is more than happy with the way things are but he seemed to think that it was just another reason he wasn’t good enough for her. The sex scenes where he isn't being "rough" are smoking hot and allow you to see the chemistry between the two leads.
I liked Ginger. She was a strong character who knew what she wanted and, once she made up her mind, went for Kane whole-heartedly. Kane’s character was the one that needed work. My heart bled for the kind-hearted cowboy who had no one because they all refused to see how much he had changed. Ginger even had to defend him to his own mother, which just made me like her even more! He didn’t think he was good enough for Ginger in any aspect of his life. His work was hard, time consuming and didn’t require much brains, he barely made it through college, he lives in a trailer and, finally, he likes to tie women up and spank them, which makes him an animal. He loves Ginger and also he adores Hayden but to him, being part of their family is something he can only dream about. There were points in this book where I wanted to slap him silly because, as soon as he took one-step forward in the relationship, he managed to leap two back. When Colt finally stages his “intervention” and makes him see that he is actively ruining his chances of happiness I could have kissed him and he is the character I like the least in the whole series. One of the best parts of the whole book is Kane’s relationship with Hayden. This is a little boy who has never known his daddy (who, by the way, is a total douche) and only ever had a role model in the form of his disabled Grandfather. Kane starts the story as only his big buddy; a man who takes him out a couple of times a month to give him some idea of what being a man is all about. As Kane involves himself further into their lives he becomes more than just a moral compass and has to deal with the added responsibilities of being a father. When he states he wants to adopt him and Hayden starts to call him dad I cried.
This didn’t run as a typical love story to me. There was no real external conflict, they were all internal ones that the characters had to solve themselves. Both characters had HEAPS of baggage and that was the cause of most of their issues. I thought it was a lovely, realistic story of how two mid-thirties characters might finally find their way to settling down.
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