Book Reviews

Lucky Break (Clean Slate Ranch 4) by A.M. Arthur at Carina Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Cowboys / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 10-December-2019

Book Blurb

Shawn Matthews never imagined he’d be living out of his car, trying to make ends meet, but life doesn’t always go your way—he knows that better than most. When an accident leaves the Clean Slate Ranch shorthanded, Shawn is enlisted to help cook and finds himself bunked next to the sexiest cowboy he’s ever laid eyes on.

The first time Robin Butler spots the new chef, he thinks he’s seeing an actual ghost. Shawn is the spitting image of his late husband, and it spooks the hell out of him. The former rodeo-star-turned-ranch-hand does his best to avoid the soft-spoken cook—except it’s kind of tough when the man makes the best damn grub this side of the Mississippi and has a boy-next-door charm that’s impossible to resist.

Even though the tension between them practically sizzles, Shawn doesn’t do hookups and Robin isn’t ready for a new relationship. Besides, Robin can tell Shawn’s been hurt and deserves a partner who isn’t saddled with a tragic past. But chemistry doesn’t lie. Maybe finding each other—and a second chance at love—is the lucky break they both need.

Book Review

“Everybody needs a break, everybody deserves that second chance...” ~ James Bowen (A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Street)

Shawn Matthews, of ‘Lucky Break’ by A.M. Arthur, can’t get away from his hometown soon enough. He hates to leave his elderly grandparents behind, but he feels that staying will bring them more embarrassment than they have already endured. Through no fault of his own, he was entangled in a scandal that has alienated him from most people there. Shawn is hoping his absence will cause people to forget and make their lives easier.

Even though Shawn is living in his car because he can’t afford a place to live, he has found a job he likes and an employer who is nice to him. At least he has food to eat and can be warm for most of the day. He is not sure where he will go or what he will do during the winter months when the restaurant is closed, but after two years of roughing it he will figure something out. When the cook at a nearby ranch breaks her arm, his boss asks Shawn to fill in for her. Shawn is sad that she’s hurt but ecstatic to have a job. He is embarrassed to admit it, so he doesn’t tell anyone that he has nowhere to stay. His living arrangements remain a secret, but not for long. After a police officer observes Shawn for a while, he confronts him about sleeping in his car on a public highway. He advises Shawn to tell his boss but, in the meanwhile, the officer calls his boss. The people at the ranch are horrified and hurt that he doesn’t feel like he could ask for help. Shawn explains that he has gone so long without anyone to depend on that he doesn’t quite know how to do so. He starts living in one of the vacant cabins that happens to be right next to Robin’s.

Three years ago, the owner of the Lucky Break ranch found Robin Butler when he was down and out. He gave Robin a job as a horse trainer at the ranch. Robin has been there ever since, hiding his miserable past and grief from the others at the ranch. When he first meets Shawn, he is learning to ride a horse. Robin is uncharastically rude to Shawn, which confuses him. Later, he explains why he had such a visceral reaction to seeing Shawn on a horse; that he reminded him of Robin’s late husband. When he gets a closer look at Shawn, he realizes that, even though there are striking similarities, Shawn doesn’t look as much like his husband as he originally thought.

With both their burdens to bear, things are strained between the two men. When Robin makes a move to become more physical with Shawn, things don’t work out well. Robin gets so into their kiss that he calls Shawn, Xander, Robin’s deceased husband’s name. Shawn is understandable upset. This event leads Shawn to believe that it is not him Robin is attracted to, merely a substitute for Xander.

At first I didn’t realize that I was reading the last book in the series, but even though I started “at the end”, there was just enough history for me not to feel lost. Shawn and Robin’s struggle to trust themselves and each other bordered on painful at times, as did the slow burn of their physical intimacy which tied into their inability to believe in themselves. Their secrets were revealed in bits and pieces that made the reveal of them even more dramatic. I enjoyed seeing how they worked it out and were able to find the closure so they could have the happiness they deserved. Thanks, A.M., for the great read.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Carina Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 400 pages/99000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-October-2019
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link