Review: Sarah & Jude by Marie Piper

Jude Farraday is as rough and hard working as any man on the Tate ranch in Nebraska, and by far the best at breaking horses. Sarah Tate, daughter of the ranch boss, finds herself drawn to Jude despite the danger a relationship between the two of them could bring. After all, Jude is a woman.

Sarah is the daughter of a Ranch owner, and has reached womanhood without much interest in men. She has a peculiar interest in looking at ranch hand, Jude, especially when Jude is taming horses. A kiss in the barn between these two women turns Sarah’s world upside down, and now she understands why she doesn’t look at the men like she is expected to.

This story had promise but didn’t really deliver. There just wasn’t enough depth to it to make it great.

I learned the bare bones of Jude, and little more of Sarah. Told entirely from Sarah’s point of view, and very little meaningful dialogue between Sarah and Jude, didn’t allow for much information sharing before the ending. There was also an instalove that was completely unbelievable and the plot was too simple to make it work.

The erotic scenes were nice but short. Some more focus on Sarah’s first sexual encounter with Jude would have been better. A little more heat and passion would have elevated it. More dialogue between the two women, to give some character depth, would have gone a long way. I would have liked to learn more about Jude and her rough edges. I liked where the story was going, and would happily have read a longer novella about them.

For the length, I wasn’t totally unsatisfied. The plot was great in theory, and I liked what little I learned about the characters. This story read a bit like an outline to a longer story. The style was solid, and the overall delivery of the story was satisfactory. I just needed more from this than was there. I would read other work from this author if the story was longer and had more meat on its proverbial bones.

Recommended for those who enjoy tiny morsels of historical western fiction, between female characters with potential.

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Purchase Links:
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Author Bio

Marie Piper is a Michigan native who earned her B.A. in English Literature from Michigan State University, and now lives in Chicago. She loves travel, coffee, and surrounding herself with her book hoard. Marie has published several short pieces in erotica collections from House of Erotica, Coming Together, LoveSlave, Torquere Press, and recently celebrated the release of HAVEN'S FLAME, the first novel in her steamy Western Historical Romance series, FIRES OF CRICKET BEND. The second book in the series - title forthcoming - will be released in March 2015.

Twitter: @mariepiperbooks

©Marie Piper 2016
All rights reserved

The stallion jumped a little but he didn’t fight. He’d wait before making his move. Almost broken, almost tame enough to allow himself to be ridden peacefully, the black-as-tar horse was sixteen hands of pure power. The tall rider on his back coiled in anticipation.

Sarah Tate washed a mountain of clothes in the basin as she knelt in the grass, but her attention wasn’t on soap bubbles that warm afternoon. It was fixed on the scene in the pen. Sweating in the sun, Sarah brushed a stuck piece of fair hair off her forehead and stood up, wondering if there’d be blood or broken bones in the next few minutes.

Jude Farraday worked as hard as any man on the ranch, fixing fences and driving poles like a rail worker and breaking horses better than any other hand. With the same sun-leathered skin, scraggly hair, and rough hands as the other boys, Jude seemed no different than the rest.

Sarah couldn’t see why folks said Jude was unnatural. She was just a hard-working woman, not much different than Sarah herself, except she was built like a boy and wore men’s clothes and did men’s work. Sarah hated washing clothes and felt in some way she understood the woman’s plight, even though she was nineteen years old and had never worn pants in her life.

The male ranch hands sat on the fence and watched as Jude expertly tamed the stallion. Sarah’s father had given Jude the task especially; she was notably better with the horses than the other men, and the horse had been expensive. Folks argued that Jude shouldn’t be kept on the ranch, but Sarah’s father knew a good worker when he saw one, and it was his vote alone that counted. Jude knew horses. Jude was valuable.

Like a coil, the horse sprung into wild action. Hoofs hit the dirt and kicked up dust, and Jude rode hard, taking the ups and downs with a stony expression. The horse bucked and jumped as much as it could manage in an attempt to throw its rider, but Jude hung on and didn’t go to the ground.

Sarah stopped washing and made her way toward the pen.

“Miss Sarah.” Some of the men nodded or tipped their hats to her. She barely heard them as she leaned on the fence and watched.

“Come on, you son of a bitch,” Jude called to the horse, a brave smile coming to her face. Sarah noticed the lean flow of Jude’s body and the way her strong thighs clung to the sleek flanks of the beast. Jude’s dark braid flew behind her, same as the horse’s tail, flipping along with the horse’s jumps and sidesteps.

She was beautiful.

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