Review: Karma (Cattle Valley #33) by Carol Lynne

From an Olympic Gold Medalist to jail inmate, one man’s journey to rebuild his life after hitting rock bottom.

Once a celebrated athlete, Guy Hoisington fell from grace and into a bottle. For years, the citizens of Cattle Valley went out of their way to avoid the drunk lecher, but one man, Shane Rendell, not only dated Guy during a brief period of relative sobriety but fell in love with him before he was hastily cast aside.

Living within the thick haze of liquor and sex, Guy rarely made good decisions, but on one particular dark night, he makes the worst decision of his life when he decides to drive down the mountain after a long evening of drinking. He wakes from a coma to discover he’s run an innocent man off the road and has a life-changing injury. For the first time in a very long time, Guy is able to look at himself through sober eyes, and he hates the man in the mirror. In one stupid move, he’s lost everything.

Shane has tried for two years to move on with his life after falling for the town alcoholic, but when he learns of Guy’s accident, he rushes to the hospital. Although the entire town may hate Guy, Shane is determined to prove Guy hasn’t lost everything.

The book starts in hospital, where Shane is visiting Guy (an ex-lover), while he is in a coma after a drunk driving accident. Guy was drunk and crashed into another car, losing his leg and severely injuring an innocent bystander. Guy has been on a slippery slope of alcohol and sex for a few years to escape childhood traumas, but everything comes to a halt when he has to go to jail for 6 months. When Guy is released he finds Shane has built Guy’s lodge into a thriving business so Guy could have some income and stability upon release.

Guy’s character was pretty well done if I think about it. He was such an asshole, which he confessed to being and had no issues of reminding those around him of the fact. I definitely didn’t like him. The problem was his redemption came so quickly and easily that I didn’t feel it at all. In comparison to the things he did and said to Shane prior the accident, a few ‘sorries’ didn’t feel like enough.

The story was essentially about Guy and his recovery and Shane's efforts to help him. I enjoyed the comfort/healing stages Guy went through, I thought they were pretty well paced. Then suddenly at 60% there's a romance. If I hadn’t been reading this for romance, it would have blind-sighted me. Other than Shane’s passing comments on how much his 2 days with Guy meant to him, romance was a virtually non-existent part of this story until 60%. There was no building the relationship up, it was, ‘let’s have sex’ too ‘I’ve always been in love with you!’.

I’m also very suspicious about Cattle Valley, I’m pretty sure this town is fully populated by gay recovering alcoholics. Like literally, EVERYONE was gay and everyone had a ‘shady past’ mostly involving alcohol. It was almost like a game of, ‘whose story is more messed up?’, but everyone was the winner. I guess that’s what comes from being number thirty three in a series based in one small town.

There was a lot of name dropping of characters whom I assume were from previous books. This didn’t make the story any more confusing, it just didn’t mean anything to me, as someone who hasn’t read the entire series.

I’m giving this book a bit of a bad rap. I think a lot of people would be drawn to the comfort side of this book, I certainly enjoyed the build up and development of Guy's recovery. While the characters were pretty interesting the romance was far too rushed for me to care about their HEA.

This book felt well concluded for Guy and Shane but definitely left things open enough to continue the series.

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