RIDING HARD                                           LAUREN LANDISH

As the eldest brother, the responsibility for the family ranch now rests on Mark Bennett’s broad shoulders. He wouldn’t have it any other way—he loves being in charge. Working hard on the land helps him stay focused and keeps him from noticing what’s missing in his life—what he’ll never allow himself to have for fear that one small taste will break his careful control.

But a sweet blue-eyed blonde has just arrived in town, and the attraction between them is undeniably hot. So Mark tightens the reins around his heart—how can he tell her what he really wants?

Events planner Katelyn Johnson’s new gig is the wedding of a rodeo superstar. Right now, it’s tough not to focus on the rider’s tempting older brother. So far, getting beneath Mark’s gorgeously gruff exterior has been a pleasure.

What she needs to do is go a little deeper. But the closer they get, the more Mark pulls away. Katelyn’s not afraid of a challenge, though. Whatever deep desires he’s hiding, she wants in on his secrets.

All she has to do is get past his legendary reserve. With all her body, heart, and soul, there’s nothing she can’t handle.

     This was such an interesting book where you get to see the alpha male go through a major transformation.  Still keeping his alpha male card intact but realizes that with the help, love, and strength of a good woman he can come out of his own darkness.  The darkness where he had self-appointed himself a freak and a monster.
     So, Mark was known in town as the asshole loner who only nodded, stared, and growled or grunted at peopled.  But never leaving the ranch except for ranch business and stopping into Hanks a bar for a beer and a meal before heading home that was it.  Maybe going to see his little brother the world champ in bull riding too.  Giving him no people skills.  Yet, he was always polite.  Would date every blue moon but they always wanted more than he could give like communication always.
     Then comes Katelyn the new events planner at the resort where his little brother James is getting married.  When he rushes into the office hitting her with door and nearly knocks her on her behind.  Luckily, he catches her and the connection between them has many sparks.  Katelyn notices Mark yanked her chain which was not funny at first but when chatting she realizes he has a warped dry sense of humor and more stoic it is funny.  So, she used her people skills to get a better read.  When she catches another little quip of his.
     As the story goes you find out that Mark was severely scarred by his ex and first real girlfriend mentally and sexually.  Making him feel his type of sexual urges were ugly and wrong.  Therefore, he is not loveable, and he and Katelyn shouldn’t be together no matter what.  Even with how much they care for one another.
     I loved the interaction between the brothers.  I especially loved how three big trees for men and alpha at that would shake in their boots if Mama Lou was not happy.  Her word was law.  Very enduring and funny.
     Most of all, I loved the relationship between Katelyn and Mark to see the walls between them fall away.  Yes, there was some vanilla BDSM, but their interaction was only with one another and it was with each others consent and done with total trust and consent.  Not for everyone but it worked for them.  They were just a sweet couple.

     I give this: 5 stars.  Provided by netgalley.com.  Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

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