Saddled and Spurred - Lorelei James I'm conflicted about this book. Objectively, I'm pretty sure it's a good example of erotic romance and a couple exploring beyond "vanilla" sex. My ratings are subjective, though, and I can't say it was more than just "okay" for me. I found myself skim-reading the sexytimes to get back to the plot. Unfortunately, I thought the plot itself was rather bare-bones and couldn't hold my interest enough.

I initially liked the characters a lot. Harper, the surprisingly down to earth and friendly beauty queen, began as a super sympathetic character, but then I found myself squirming that she was TOO easy-going and doormat-ish, letting her family ride roughshod over her and taking such a submissive role in her relationship with Bran.

Bran was a cute and laid-back cowhunk, so it surprised me when he was all dominant and alpha in the bedroom (and the living room, and the dressing room, etc...) This aspect of the book was okay... Again, I don't know why, but I found myself skimming over the numerous variations of their having sex. I guess I just didn't feel any emotional connection between the two, which was reinforced by their entering into the relationship as a purely sexual one, thinking there was a predetermined "expiration date" that would occur when Harper moved away.

I also felt that Bran was using this sexual relationship to explore his kinky side, and it wasn't like Harper herself was special and brought that out in him. Rather, I got the impression he was just waiting for a "willing victim," if you will (sounds terrible, but that's what it seemed like to me). Generally, Bran would have been a decent character until Les (his curmudgeon of an up-til-then-injured ranch hand) entered the picture. At that point, I couldn't forgive Bran for not sticking up for Harper when Les bad-mouthed her.

That said, I'm not writing off either erotic romance or this author entirely. I think I had some issues with believing that Bran and Harper fell in love with each other, given that the extent of the relationship that we're shown seems to be mainly physical. I'm interested in reading Abe and Janie's book, though, because I feel the romance aspect might be more believable when the characters have a long history behind them already.