Title: Enticing Hart
Author: Mae Hancock
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 183 Pages
At a Glance: Given cleaner editing and stronger plot development, Enticing Hart really could have been a great novel.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Hart Emile is tired of cruising for guys, living a soulless existence. He needs a change; so when an acquaintance gives him the number of the gay friendly Red Fox Ranch that’s hiring for staff, he heads south.
Oak Redman is eighteen years old and desperate to explore his awakening sexuality. The moment Hart lays eyes on the handsome young rancher he’s smitten. Not only is Oak hot, spirited and very persistent, he is also the ranch boss’s son and strictly off limits. Hart tries to fight his feelings and to respect his boss and the family who quickly become dear to him, but after Oak’s Grandma suggests he gets with Oak he can’t deny himself the most exciting and enticing man he has ever met.
Hart’s not the only man to have noticed how sweet and charming Oak Redman is. A family friend, Steve, is also anxious to have the affections of the young rancher. Can Hart work out Steve’s dark secrets before it’s too late and keep his job, his lover and his life?
Review: Hart learns about the Red Fox Ranch from a casual pick up he meets in order to satisfy an itch that is getting tougher and tougher to satisfy. He wants to settle down, meet a man and maybe try his hand at a long-term relationship for the first time in his life. When the stranger mentions the ranch is not only hiring but is gay friendly, Hart sets out to land himself a job. Little does he know the owner, Bay, is grappling with a near socially crippling form of OCD that is steadily growing worse, but he has rigid rule when it comes to behavior at the ranch. Those rules include hands off his attractive and only son, Oak. Could Hart’s chance at both a job and happiness be ruined from the start? For, you see, he finds himself immediately attracted to Oak, who returns his attentions and then some.
Enticing Hart by new author, Mae Hancock, is a good story badly in need of another round of edits in order to make it a better one. While I have no problem with the insta-love trope, it suffered in this novel due to the immediacy of Hart and Oak’s attraction and some confusing elements in the story. First there was a continual referral to how long Hart had been at the ranch. Was it weeks, days, hours? All I know is that these two were in insta-lust within hours of Hart’s arrival. Then, there was the age issue. At first, Oak is “nearly nineteen” and confesses to his friend Steve that he had encounters with men in college. Yet, almost immediately after, he is only seen as barely eighteen, a virgin, and college is never mentioned again. Next there is the discrepancy with his dad, Bay, and his exact age. Again, initially, Hart guesses the man is 35 but hastens in his mind to add “a few years” in order to justify him having an 18 year-old son. But later, Bay is said to be 36, making him 17 when he married. Again, this age thing is never brought up again, so we never know exactly how old he is and because it was pointed up in the story at the onset, it became an annoying little detail that was left dangling.
I try not to nitpick when reading a story, particularly one written by a new author, but I feel this one was so poorly edited her book suffered as a result. If you mention the use of condoms deliberately every time Hart and Oak have sex, then you really need to address that they are disposed of at some point after sex. Also, condom use means that Oak could not feel Hart “filling” him up with his come. Then there were occasions where names got switched around and Hart was feeling himself take…himself. Incident after incident like this arose until I found myself rereading passages to make sense of what had just happened in the scene. I was really worried until we got to the last third of the novel, and then I suddenly began to see the makings of a really good story.
Once Steve, Oak’s friend, was introduced you got the feeling something was just a little off with him. In the latter part of this novel, that suspicion comes to fruition, and the novel takes a decided turn from a flawed and just mediocre read to an exciting and captivating story. Here was a true glimpse at what Mae Hancock was capable of writing. It was well written, exciting, fast paced and gave the story a bit of a nail biting twist. And it was this section that would make me want to check out this author’s next piece of work.
I believe Mae Hancock has real potential to become an exciting new voice in the m/m genre. Given cleaner editing and stronger plot development, Enticing Hart really could have been a great novel. I look forward to reading more by this author as she grows and develops into her craft.
You can buy Enticing Hart here: