Review: Whispering Pines Ranch Series (Whispering Pines Ranch #1-5.5) by S.J.D. Peterson

Lorcan James ran long and far in search of adventure, in Lorcan’s Desire, but instead he’s discovered a new side of himself with rancher Quinn Taylor. But if Quinn isn’t willing to give Lorcan what he needs most—love—Lorcan will find someone else who will. In Quinn’s Need, Lorcan is back at Whispering Pines with his new lover in tow and Quinn has a man who is willing to beg for anything, but Quinn may just be ready to give Lorcan what he’s always desired.

In Ty’s Obsession, Ty Callahan believes that Quinn is the perfect man, if only there weren’t the obstacle of Lorcan James. When Blake Henderson strolls into Ty’s life, can he convince him to look past his obsession?

Thirty-seven years ago, John Price and Connor Burnett fell in love. In Connor’s Courage, a cancer diagnosis threatens to tear apart what they’ve fought so hard for.

Lorcan broke Jess Jenkins’s heart and an car accident broke his body and spirit. In Jess’s Journey, his friends are eager to bring him back to the sweet man he once was, despite his bitterness.

Finally, in Riveted, Blake and Ty are living together in New York and have decided it’s time to take the next step.

Average Rating: 3.91 Hearts

I’m going to make this as spoiler free as possible, but because this is a series, each subsequent story review may have some plot spoilers from the previous books. I will do my best to review without giving away anything major. Be warned, there are major spoilers for Lorcan’s Desire in Quinn’s Need, and spoilers for Quinn’s Need in Jess’ Journey, so if you’re not one to read spoilers before reading a story, plan your reading accordingly.

Lorcan’s Desire - 4 Hearts

Lorcan is twenty-one and on an adventure to find his place, and get some worldly experience. His independence is riding on working away from home, and out from under his older brothers’ shadows. While on his journey, he comes across a ranch called Whispering Pines, where Quinn, the owner, gives him a chance to work as a stable hand, and provides lodging for him.

Unfortunately Lorcan has a crush on the older man, and doesn’t understand it, because he didn’t think he was interested in men. Quinn seems to just scowl at him all the time, anyway, so he fights the pull and tries to be Quinn’s friend. It comes to a head, when fed up with all the dirty looks, Lorcan confronts Quinn during a drunken pity party for one, and discovers that Quinn’s scowling isn’t what he thought.

Quinn has never officially been in the closet, but he never advertises. Until his secret desire for Lorcan becomes open, and he realises he was in the closet after-all, and has no intentions of coming out.

This is part one of two part story arc for this couple. Their chemistry is hot, but Quinn is a difficult and stubborn man, who wants to hide his relationship with Lorcan from his town, and his employees. Lorcan is only new to admitting his preference for men, and isn’t ready for the reality of hiding his feelings for Quinn. Their tumultuous relationship is pretty dramatic really. While I was reading it, I was fully invested in their drama. It was like crack to my pretty drama free life. Their misunderstandings, lack of communication, and stubborn personalities made this pretty chaotic.

It was frustrating and angsty, but I couldn’t put it down. I’m not usually a fan of this trope, but something about the characters kept me engaged. Whether it was the side characters, or the main characters themselves, outside of their drama, or the erotic content, I can’t tell you. All I know is that it was addicting, and I had no intention of putting the book down until I had read the entire thing.

I can’t say more without spoilers so I’ll leave it there. If you enjoy a little bit of drama, and fully developed characters, this will be a fun time.

Quinn’s Need - 3.5 Hearts

**Reader beware: Spoilers for Book One**

Quinn is having a difficult time letting go of Lorcan. He has become harder, angrier, and spends most of his time drinking himself to sleep. He decides he needs to grab back some control, and starts visiting the closest leather bar, where BDSM is an appealing way of getting his frustration out.

Meanwhile, Lorcan has accepted that Quinn will always be the love of his life, but has decided to make it work with Jess. Moving to Jess’ ranch is a decision they make together, and happiness appears to be within their grasp.

I have mixed feelings about this story. There is a lot going on, and the introduction of another complication makes this story both more and less angsty. While the relationship between Jess and Lorcan appears to be pretty easy going, there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction. This couple still had chemistry. Their relationship was still passionate. I could tell Lorcan was giving it everything he could, and Jess was content for the time being. They just lacked that breath stealing intensity that was apparent between Lorcan and Quinn.

This story will probably piss people off, but also lure them back in. Again, a lot of drama, and some angst with Quinn. He is just a knobhead to me, and I’m not sure he deserves to be happy. I’m not sure I approve of the direction of this story, but I understand the story arc and the necessity for the drama.

I was still fully invested in this story, and my personal feelings about Quinn aside, I enjoyed the plot. This is a complex read, and something that creates more than it resolves.

Ty’s Obsession - 3.5 Hearts

**Minor Spoilers**

While I enjoyed this story about Ty and Blake, I wasn’t really convinced that Ty’s issues could be resolved in this manner. In my humble opinion, this man needs serious therapy, and I would have enjoyed it more if there was at least some mention of seeing someone about his psychological problems.

I liked Blake in this story, and I found his character strong and endearing. His own issues run deep, and he is willing to put it aside to help Ty through some really rough battles.

I liked the kink in this. It was sexy and satisfying. I thought the storyline worked pretty well. I think if Ty wasn’t so messed up, I could appreciate this more for what it was. It turned someone angry and psychotic into a relatable character and I really appreciated that. But I felt it was a little too simplistic and that is why it doesn’t get a high rating. I don’t always need believability in my fiction, but it can’t be this far from reality in a contemporary novel.

The plot was consistent, and the writing was tight. The chemistry between Ty and Blake was great, and I enjoyed the character development overall. Throw in a therapy session to start with and I would have adored this story.

Connor’s Courage - 4 Hearts

I was a bit reluctant to read this story, because usually flashback stories make me feel morose and on edge. This story, however was beautiful and fun. Conner and John mirror Lorcan and Quinn 37 years earlier. I loved the way Connor came to Whispering Pines, and how fearless he was in his attitude.

This is a story about the beginning of their relationship, and the hurdles they had to get through to finally become a couple. Set in a time where being gay was unacceptable, and in a small town that would make it even more dangerous to come out, these two managed to create something wonderful, even through the bumps. I really appreciated this glimpse into their lives.

Conner is one of my favourite characters throughout the entire series. I like people who are outrageous, and he fits the bill perfectly. Add that to a quiet, closeted introvert, and you’ve got some pretty awesome sex scenes, and some great drama-filled relationship building.

Jess’s Journey - 4.5 Hearts

***Reader beware: Spoilers for Book Two**

Jess’s story was really necessary, and I am pleased with how the story was written. There was no quick miracle. This was a hard won battle for Jess. A battle of acceptance, and the possibility that he would always be limited in his ability. A strong prideful man, who finds it impossible to take offers of help, Jess really has to learn to swallow his pride and accept that his life is different now.

Jake has really fallen for Jess, even with his surly temperament. He’s seen the way all Jess’s friends rallied around him, and has faith that the man the town loves, is still buried somewhere beyond the anger and pain. He intends to meet that man for himself.

This was one of my favourites in this series. I loved the friendship between Jess and Jake, and really appreciated the way the recovery was presented. Both men worked hard to get to a place where they could be together. That hard won battle stole my heart for these two men.

Most of the character development was around Jake, as we met Jess in books one and continued with his story in book two. I appreciated how the author created a more complex layer to Jess, given his new situation, but I really enjoyed learning about Jake more.

This story is a slow burn romance, which is a little different to the tone of the previous stories in this series, but it is worth the attention and care the author took in navigating the relationship between these two men.

Riveted - 4 Hearts

Ty and Blake’s story continues in this novella. Trying to gain Ty’s trust is near impossible with his abandonment issues, but Blake is determined to do something that is at least a start to building the forever they both crave.

This story is a great conclusion to the Whispering Pines Ranch series, and the start of the Guards of Folsom series. If you’re like me, and read The Guards of Folsom series first, you’ll get a kick out of this, going back to where it all began. Not recommended as a standalone, this should be read in order, or at the very least, after Ty’s Obsession.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

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