Title: The Stolen Suitor
Author: Eli Easton
Narrator: Rusty Topsfield
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 7 hours and 35 minutes
Category: Contemporary Romance, Western
At a Glance: I really enjoyed this Dreamspun Desires genre story, but the accents threw me a bit in the narration.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: His future was set until a thief stole his heart.
All of Clyde’s Corner, Montana, knows local dandy Chris Ramsey will marry Trix Stubben, young widow and heir to the richest ranch in the area. But one woman isn’t too keen on the idea. Mabe Crassen wants to get her hands on that ranch, so she sets her older son to court Trix, and her younger son, Jeremy, to distract Chris and lure him astray.
Jeremy Crassen thinks his mother’s scheme is crazy. But he wants desperately to go off to college, which Mabe will agree to—if he seduces Chris. How will shy, virginal, secretly gay Jeremy attract Chris, who seems determined to do the right thing and marry Trix? Jeremy can’t compete with a rich female widow.
Or can he?
Review: Count this as another hit from the Dreamspun Desires series. This time, we have a scheming mother who has a few skeletons in her closet. When Mabe Crassen gets set on something, nothing will deter her from her hair-brained scheme—including any common sense, or using her sons to make sure she gets what she wants—and that’s a way out of her trailer and onto the prize ranch of the county.
It’s all so simple; Eric will set about to seduce Trix Stubben, the young, widowed mother of four-year-old Janie, and owner of Big Basin Ranch—inherited from her late husband, the sainted John Stubben. Eric has been pretty much doing nothing in the last few of his twenty-five years except drinking and partying with his friends, and losing jobs. But he’s always been sweet on Trix, so he’s enthusiastic about his part of the plan.
Jeremy, on the other hand, Mabe’s twenty-year-old son, is not at all convinced his mother is playing with a full deck. He’s also somewhat terrified, as he’s completely in the closet and is not sure why his mother wants him to try to seduce Chris Ramsey, the late John’s best friend and current candidate for husband #2 for Trix. But, he’s not necessarily opposed to spending time with Chris, as he does find him very attractive. Jeremy has spent his days writing a novel and cooking at the local Diner. He has been helping to keep the roof over their head for a long time. His father died in prison, and Jeremy’s had a pretty tough go of it.
When Eric gets a job at the ranch, and Jeremy to piques Chris’s interest, things seem to be going surprisingly well with Mabe’s plan. Chris and Jeremy end up spending time together, and it seems like Chris can’t really keep his hands of Jeremy—which he has mixed feelings about since he’s technically dating Trix. Jeremy tries not to feel bad about Chris’s relationship with Trix, but it still bothers him.
The thing is that Eric really does care for Trix, and Chris really does care for Jeremy. But everybody is kind of stuck in their roles, and they don’t know how to get out of them. On top of that, Trix feels guilty that she may have feelings for someone other than John, and isn’t that just wrong?
As Chris cares more and more for Jeremy, he really wants to help him reach his potential, and so he goes around him to get a copy of the book that he’s writing. Jeremy is furious at first, but when Chris genuinely seems to have his best interests at heart, he’s forgiven and they grow even closer. This comes at a fairly inopportune time in Mabe’s machinations, when everything is about to hit the fan due to some deception that was set in place many years before.
When secrets are revealed and everyone learns a surprising truth, Jeremy and Chris and Trix and Eric have to try to figure out how they should move forward. There are a number of missteps and a frightening sequence of events that put a lot of people in peril. But as you know, this series requires a happy ending, and there is no shortage of them in this story. We even get a glimpse of Ben and Joshua from a Prairie Dog’s Love Song, so there’s another happy ending in full view.
I love these Dreamspun Desires books. I know a lot of what I’m going to get, but the twist and turns that spring from the minds of these talented authors are always the fun surprises. I’m a huge fan of Eli Easton’s writing, and I enjoyed her characters here as well, particularly Jeremy and Chris.
This book is a bit soap opera-y, which is perfect for the series. It’s like a downscale Dallas in some ways! The only thing that threw me were the accents: way closer to Dallas than Montana. I’ve been to Montana. I swear they do not have Southern accents, but that’s all I could hear in this narration. I thought the narrator did a good job with the vocal characterizations, but I couldn’t help feeling I was in Oklahoma, not Montana.
You can buy The Stolen Suitor here: