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Pulling Leather (Pickup Men 3) by L.C. Chase
Gay Contemporary Romance
Series: Pickup Men
Paperback: 172 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (August 11, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626491623
ISBN-13: 978-1626491625
Amazon: Pulling Leather (Pickup Men 3)
Amazon Kindle: Pulling Leather (Pickup Men 3)

27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards Finalist, Gay Romance

The toughest ride of his life is all in his head.

Bull rider Scott Gillard has a reputation for quick fists and harsh words. What no one knows is where that anger comes from. After a shocking incident sends him into a tailspin, he knows he needs help: he's been fighting a battle he could never win. Now he's trying to navigate a new life and embrace his true self, but some days are easier than others.

Pickup man Cory Ackerson has suffered his share of harassment, but his light still burns bright. He doesn't let anything or anyone keep him down, so when he meets the rugged cowboy with a battered chip on his shoulder and regret in his dark eyes, all he wants to do is help.

As their unlikely friendship grows into something deeper, Scott must overcome his past to be the man Cory deserves, or lose his best chance at his own happily ever after.

This was an enjoyable book to read, I liked seeing Scott develop from someone he hated being to finally becoming the person he waned to be. Cory, well he was like a little ray of sunshine throughout the story. The book was easy to read and the plot flowed well.

Anger. Heartbreak. Self-loathing. Self-discovery. Truth. Self-awareness. Love. Desire. Hope. Fate. All of these things form the beautiful tapestry of L.C. Chase's Pulling Leather. Scott Gillard is a tortured character and Ms Chase does a brilliant job of describing his struggle to accept himself and embrace his truth. Scott's development from villain to reformed hero was so artfully written that the reader finds themselves hating, loving, sympathizing, and cheering for Scott at different intervals, which, I believe, was Ms Chase's plan. In the same vein, Cory, Scott's other half, the adorable spitfire who sees Scott and goes after him with compassion, understanding, patience, and a single-minded determination that would put many entrepreneurs to shame. Cory's character too was developed beautifully and he was the perfect counterpart to a closeted Scott. Their love story set against a setting wonderfully described was amazingly told. The plot was brilliant and didn't focus so much on their sexual chemistry so much as on Scott's emotional discovery, acceptance, and chemistry with Cory, other gay men in the rodeo circuit, his father, and with himself. Ms Chase does a fantastic job writing this story completely enthralling me and pulling me in.

To be honest I didn’t have high expectations for this book. It’s the 3rd book in a series I’ve not read before, so I didn’t know if I’d be missing out by not reading the earlier books. I was also expecting just a light read about gay cowboys and the rodeo. What I was not expecting was the emotional impact this book had on me. The main character Scott is in such pain, first from denying his sexuality anyway he could, first by joining the most masculine sport he could find and then with his fists. He goes through a transformation after seeing his  close friend, Tripp, come out as gay and lose his career due to an incident of gay bashing. He goes into a tail spin of self loathing and alcohol that drives him away from the sport he loves and that has provided grounding for him. After slowly rebuilding his life with the help of his friend and counselor, Brandi. He goes on a mission to apologize to those he’s hurt by his words and actions, and in the case of Tripp, inaction. To his surprise he’s not only forgiven, he’s embraced and invited to get a piece of his life back, the rodeo. There he meets an effeminate young man Cory, who trips all his triggers, both good and bad. The feelings that Scott goes through are so palpable and so real. His confusion, his self-hatred and his lust for Cory create a three dimensional character that’s so much more than the some of his parts. At no time do you feel sorry for Scott, you just feel everything along with him. I also was very happy to discover that while it may have been good to have the other pieces of the story from the previous books, this was Scott’s story and it stood on it’s own. Nothing came easy for Scott and Cory but that made the progression of their relationship more realistic. There are no easy answers when you’re as damaged as Scott is. This is a book creates characters that wrap themselves around your heart and remain unforgettable long after the ending. I’m rarely, if ever, surprised by a book and this one knocked me for a loop.

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