Review: Pluck and Play (With a Kick #5) by Clare London

Everyone knows Curtis Wilson around the Soho business scene: a hard-working, budding young entrepreneur, who can get you supplies of whatever you need, and always with a joke and a laugh. Only Curtis knows that’s a purely public persona. Secretly, he’s still licking his wounds after being beaten up by his ex-lover, and he’s not about to let his guard down again.

Handsome Riley Richmond was born to be a cowboy, on his father’s side at least. But after his parents’ deaths, he finds himself stranded this side of the Atlantic, an anachronism in the bustling capital, and without financial capital. His consolation is his music, albeit he’s not a very successful busker and he loses his only decent piano gig after standing up for Curtis against a homophobic bully.

After that, they keep meeting, partly by accident, partly by Riley’s design. He’s smitten, and doesn’t mind letting Curtis know. Their music brings them together – Riley’s guitar playing and Curtis’ sharp, sexy poetry are a powerful combination. But Curtis still has some unfinished business with his ex-lover that he’s struggling to handle on his own. Riley intends to be the man Curtis calls on for help, whether he likes it or not. He’ll do whatever it takes to show Curtis that people can still be trusted to be honest and caring – even if it means walking them both into danger.

I’ve read all three contributions by Clare London to the With a Kick series and I think this one is my favorite. Is it the strong American singing cowboy MC, the bourbon and chocolate over ice cream or the cluelessly charming, completely British MC? Ummmm, yes! Honestly, this story may have well been called Pluck and Play for Ann.

Riley was exactly the kind of cowboy, or just character in general that I swoon for. He’s charming and has a quiet strength that belies the passion underneath that Stetson. He’s deceptively wise and patient and he’ll protect those he loves, or even likes super hard, *ahem, Curtis, ahem* with no thought to his own well-being. Curtis is the character I want to hug and make everything better for, even though he would hate that. He’s kind and good by nature, he doesn’t even know how much positive influence his presence brings to his friends because he doesn’t know any other way to be.

So, these two charming cats meet and Curtis is coming out of an ugly relationship. He makes it clear to Riley that he’s not interested in anything with strings attached. Riley ‘agrees’ but Riley is not one to shy away from what he wants. Curtis is charmed and confuzzled by Riley’s insistent attraction and blatant honesty. Neither of them are forthcoming about their pasts and what has brought them to the point where they meet, but it was a perfect setup as they got to know one another. It didn’t feel secretive, it read naturally and I got to know them as they got to know each other.

I loved the banter between these two and the time spent together at Riley’s place. It was in turn adorable and hot. They were soooo meant to be together and they brought out the best in each other and made each other better men. I also appreciated how the author balanced out how they needed one another, but they still maintained their pride and independence. They were together because they wanted to be and there was no ridiculous angst or stubbornness that kept them apart.

The caper-y shenanigans at the end were perfect fun and I loved seeing the characters from the previous installments. And all these folks coming together for Curtis was just what he needed.

I could definitely read more about Riley and Curtis, maybe a trip home to the ranch? Also, Lee and Patrick? They are killing me to death. Holy hell I need to know all the things. Lee is breaking my heart and I know there is so much story to tell for Patrick. Did I mention that I need to know? Please Clare, give me some Lee and Patrick. With more Riley and Curtis too. On the ranch.

Ok, I’m done.

Sorry, I don’t mean to be pushy.


For more info on Pluck and Play, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the thoughtful and enthusaistic review :) And yes... we're working on it right now *wink*.