Riding Hard

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Mark Bennett has always carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. As the eldest son, taking over the Bennett ranch was a no brainer. The only thing missing from his life is someone special to share it with. Enter wedding planner Katelyn Johnson. She is starting fresh in a new town and upon first meeting Mark that are instant sparks. 

However Mark is not the commitment type and his tastes are not for the faint of heart, however Katelyn is up for the challenge and willing to push this cowboy outside if his comfort zone. Their chemistry was scorching hot and they definitely fell fast and hard. I received an ARC of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.
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Don't you hate it when everyone loves the book but you? It's a terrible feeling made even more terrible because that cover was SO delicious. I had such high hopes for this book, but sadly it just wasn't my cuppa.

The characters felt very two dimensional. I felt no connection to either of the two MC's. They felt very contrived. The hero is a growly, grumpy, man of few words that has a penchant for the kinkier things in life. Meanwhile the heroine is as vanilla as it gets to offset this. She chases him for the majority of the book while he mainly growls and grunts his way through telling her that he's not good enough for her. Honestly, I lost count for the amount of times Mark growled rather than spoke. I almost began to feel like I'm reading a shifter book after a while there.

Katelyn was anything but memorable. She read like every other vanilla heroine out there that finally gets a taste of some rough and kinky loving and realizes what she's been missing. She lacked depth. Her character development felt lacking. Everything you learn about is what she tells of herself to others, so I couldn't help but feel like I'm being told everything rather than shown.

The story was formulaic and I struggled to connect from the very beginning. They meet, there's chemistry, there's the whole push and pull of 'I want her but I'm not good enough of her' on Mark's side, and the 'I want to finally live so I'm going after him no matter what' from Katelyn. Enter some conflict and resolution at the end, and the end.

I wanted so much to love this, but I just couldn't. This entirely my personal tastes at play here. If you like kinky cowboy sex with a sassy heroine and a growly and grumpy hero, then check it out and judge for yourself.
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The first thing you need to know is there may be some triggers in this story, (rough sex) so know this going in. Otherwise, this is an incredibly written story that captures you from the beginning!  Super sexy cowboys, more heat than should be legal, grab and fan and a tall cool drink and hunker down for the ride of your life.  Two people with walls and troubles find each other and break through them to give each other just what they need!  Katelyn and Mark are perfect for each other, as Katelyn is able to break down the seemingly permanent walls that Mark has built!  No spoilers here, but know that this works well as a stand-alone, so it's okay if this is your first Bennett Boys book!  I loved the first one, this one and can't wait for the next one to be released in just a few more days!  Lauren Landish is an amazing author and I just can't get enough of her books.  The Bennett Boys will embed themselves in you!  I received an ARC from Net Galley and am providing my honest, unsolicited review.
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A great cowboy romance from this author! I really loved seeing these characters Love grow as the story progressed
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No one expected him to fall for the wedding planner but he did. Hook, line, and sinker. Mark has worked hard to continue the family ranch. Taking care of others is how he loved each and everyday. Finding ways to be with Katelyn was simply icing on the cake. She would make him feel things he had long given up on. Finally he was allowed to be himself without the fear she would leave him behind. They both complimented the other and were finally happy together.
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Lauren Landish...need I say more?...okay yes I know I have no choice but to say more but seriously I havent read one book by Lauren that I did not absolutely love. And I have been dying to get my hands on this book ever since I had read book one in this series. I love this series. The Bennett boys have my heart and I dont wanna share them with anyone lol 
Riding Hard is about the oldest of the Bennett boys, Mark. Mark feel responsible for everything and his families well beings.  He likes control in all aspects of his life. I didnt think I could love any of the characters more than book ones but Mark has definitely pushed his was to the top and is my new favorite.  I absolutely adored Katelyn too. Shes done living a beige aka boring bland life. And Mark can definitely make her see the rainbow. He has a dark side. 
This has just become my favorite book by Lauren and I dont want to give anything else away about the book but I'll just say..you really really need to read this beautiful sexy book like right now so go get this book NOW!
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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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This is a very steamy romance. It goes towards the Fifty Shades of gray style of romance. If you have a hard time with that style then I would avoid this book, I liked the story line and the characters are likeable. If you like detailed bedroom scenes then this book is for you. I enjoyed oy but I am really not into this style of romance. I would recommend it to the right people. .
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader – ☆☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance
Triggers: Some BDSM aspects

This is the second book in the series and it does help to know the brothers a little, but is not necessary to read book one in order to enjoy book two.

Mark has the weight of the world on his shoulders. While he knows that he signed up for this, he also is lonely. Mark always knew that he was going to run the ranch. It was what his life was supposed to be. Now that his brothers have come home and are helping more around the ranch, Mark believes that maybe, just maybe, he can breathe a little easier. With his brother's upcoming wedding, Mark knows that paying for the wedding is what his father would have wanted. When he meets the wedding event coordinator, he's instantly attracted to her. She's feminine and tough all wrapped in a beautiful package.

Katelyn is starting over. She moved from a comfortable life and knows that this is her dream job. I really enjoyed her character. She was soft and feminine at times, but tough and had a backbone when it was required. She was able to see Mark for who he was, not for who he projected.

These two have amazing chemistry. They burn up the sheets, but also have such a great respect for each other. Despite Mark's history, he wants to be able to take a chance with Katelyn.

This story was sweet and steamy, but with such a feel-good setting and ending. I really enjoyed these characters a lot. I did want to know more about the whole issue with the event and the potential sabotage. It seemed to be glossed over and I'm not sure why it was included.

I hope more books are to come! I love this family.

Ruthie – ☆☆☆☆
This is the second book in the series, and I would say that the story is richer for having read book one, but this is a good story in its own right too.

Overall I did enjoy the story and the outcome, however I did have a bit of an issue with the amount of inner voice, especially from Mark. Whilst I could understand that Nicole had made him feel bad about himself, there is plenty of information to dispel that view, and he is an intelligent, modern man, as well as a rancher and businessman. So the tortured guilt seemed a little excessive.

Katelyn was a fun character, and I liked how she behaved with Marla, even though she was her boss. It was one of many hints at the kind of person she was and developed her as a person most definitely worthy of the attention Mark bestowed upon her. Her easy manner, friendship, and the obvious chemistry gave Mark a distinctly interesting challenge when holding back his desires.

It was fun to see how her work and his differed, and yet they both acknowledged their duties and responsibilities – much like we saw with Luke and Sophie in the first book.

I am looking forward to the next installment and catching up with this couple as they steer a course that takes into account their careers, their families, and their new romance.
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What do you get when you mix a kinky cowboy with a vanilla heroine.... Riding Hard is what you get. These Bennett boys really are a group of cowboys I would love to run into.  This book is revolves around Mark and Katelyn.  Mark the growly, kinky cowboy and Katelyn, our vanilla heroine that has just moved to town.  There is instant chemistry, instant lust, a dirty talking cowboy, and steam that is off the charts. If you want a fun ride, pick up this book.... what does the song say, save a horse, ride a cowboy.  Well, here's your chance!  The Bennett boys are worth the read!! Pick up this series!
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Riding Hard is the second book in the Bennett Boys Ranch series, and it's the second book in the series I've read, as well as the second book I've read by this author, and since I have a weakness for sexy, broken, angst-laden heroes, I enjoyed this novel far more than I did the first book in this series, Buck Wild, and it gets 5 stars from this reader.

First, let me state that this novel is not your average cowboy romance, nor is it for the under 18 crowd, and if BDSM is an issue for you, I think you'll find this novel closer to erotica than your standard romance novel. Personally, I loved discovering that Ms. Landish was willing to go there, and I'll be reading more of her in the future. I should also state that this novel works just fine as a standalone--although the Bennett family members are featured in the first novel, the family relationships were thoroughly explained in this novel too. 

The angst-laden hero in this novel is Mark Bennett, who, since his father's all too early demise, has borne the weight of running the ranch on his broad shoulders. His younger brother, Luke, has an amazing proficiency at training and gentling horses, and his brother James has returned to the ranch after becoming a well-known, prize-winning rodeo star, after meeting and falling for Sophie, the love of his life in Buck Wild. Quite a bit of this novel centers on the preparations for James' and Sophie's wedding, and while marriage and family are something Mark once dreamed of, it's now something that he can hardly bear thinking about. While Mark always loved working on the ranch with his dad, "Pops", and knew that ranching would be his life, he also knows that his dad would have insisted on paying for the wedding, at an upscale resort, even though James' bride comes from an extremely wealthy family. It's when Mark goes to the resort to pay for the reception that he meets Katelynn, the new events/wedding coordinator at the resort, and although Mark is considered cold as ice, silent, and stoic by the folks in town, he's instantly drawn to Katelyn's feminine, perky, pretty, tough and in-charge nature.

Katelyn is new to town, and the Bennett wedding is the first major event at her new job. She spent over a decade in a bland, boring, beige relationship and when she realized that she wanted more out of life than just planning corporate events, birthdays and other such functions, she answered an ad for this job at the resort, was thrilled to be hired and grateful for the chance to prove herself. Her boring boyfriend had no intention of following her and leaving town so she could pursue her dream, and their relationship, which was already petering out, ended. A new town, new job, a new challenge, and new people to meet, were exactly what Katelyn needed to make a fresh start, and when she was hired for her dream job, she couldn't believe her luck, or get there fast enough. 

The moment Katelyn and Mark meet, they have off-the-charts chemistry, but Mark is and has been incredibly closed off, and silent for years, never dating anyone or pursuing a long-term relationship, although he's a big, handsome hunk of a guy, and women are attracted to him. He's been in self-imposed isolation ever since his previous relationship with a woman named Nicole ended badly. He's always known that his sexual needs and desires weren't typical or average, and Nicole's reaction to Mark exposing just a tiny bit of his dominant sexual nature and immediately ending their relationship, made him believe that his needs and sexual desires made him a monster, and that no woman would ever want the real him, dooming himself to solitary, lonely life. 

To his surprise, Katelyn isn't put off Mark's cold, stoic silence. She's a bubbly chatterbox, tough when she needs to be, strong, outgoing and very much attracted to the handsome cowboy--and willing to act on that attraction. Katelyn "gets" Mark, seems to see the real man inside the cold shell he hides behind, instinctively knows that he's hiding part of his nature, and that he has secrets, but she's not put off at all by his stony looks or his silence and is willing to pursue whatever relationship she can with him, hoping to get to know what's behind his outward facade, and when she does, and these two get together, turn on your air conditioning because Ms. Landish isn't shy about writing extremely steamy and graphic sex scenes, including what this reader considers mild BDSM. Through it all, Mark is still holding a big part of himself inside and is terrified by his belief that when he does reveal his true nature, his relationship with Katelyn will be over--but Katelyn isn't afraid or fearful of him, and he's alternately frightened of and attracted to her open and accepting nature, but always afraid of pushing her too far. 

Told in alternating narration, a literacy device I've come to love, we get a good look inside these two main characters. We see and feel Mark's self-imposed isolation, loneliness, self-doubt, and deeply held belief that he truly is the monster his ex-girlfriend claimed he was. We also get inside Katelyn's head, come to know her need for something more than a "beige" life, her ambition to succeed at her dream job, her enjoyment of the new people she's coming to know, her willingness to delve into Mark's deepest secrets, unafraid of him, brave enough to accept whatever parts of himself he's willing to show her, and eager for him to fully open up to her, stop hiding part of himself away, and encouraging him to truly be himself around her. Will her plan work? Will Mark open up his deepest secrets and greatest fears? You'll have to read this novel for the answers to those questions. 

This well-written, hard to put down novel grabbed me from the start, and it was an excellent, compelling, and deeply heartfelt story about how we see ourselves, how others perceive us, how love can heal the brokenness we feel inside ourselves, and how a willingness to be open and honest with the people in our lives can make life more meaningful and rewarding. It was an excellent read and I highly recommend it. Kudos to Ms. Landish for this fabulous novel.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
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If you like your hero's to be the strong, silent type with a dark side, this may be the book for you. I liked this book although the hero (Mark) is a little too stoic for my tastes but he'd be perfect for some. Despite him not being my ideal hero, I did really like this one. I enjoyed how the couple worked together to face some of the obstacles together. There was a bit of a kinky, dark vibe to his tastes in the bedroom which was an interesting thing to explore in the book. If that's not your thing, this may not be the book for you. This book essentially focuses on a heroine who has lived a very safe or "beige" life as she describes it but who wants more ... and finds it in the hero. I liked this one even if it wasn't my own personal romance catnip ... I'm eager to read more Lauren Landish!
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Katelyn is the new event coordinator at Mountain Spirit Hotel & Resort and she's really excited about starting.  Her first job is working the Bennett wedding. Its to be on major event because the groom is a famous bull rider. When Katelyn meets Mark the groom's older brother sparks fly between them She tries to keep things professional between them but every time she is near him its harder not to want him. Mark thinks Katelyn is all wrong for him and that they couldn't possibly work. However when she is in his arms it doesn't seem to matter to him. Will he claim Katelyn for his own?

This is a great story that will captivate you from beginning to end. The chemistry between them is off the charts hot. This is a well written and very entertaining story. I would recommend this book to any book lover.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
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Thank you Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I was not impressed by this cowboy romance. I like my cowboys sweet and adventurous. Mark was too brazen and rude for my taste. Kate is also a disappointment. She appears to have it together but allows the hero to correct her and boss her around. There also way too much mindless chatter between other characters that had me skipping pages. Disappointing.
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This was a sweet yet kinky book! Mark was.....yummy! When the new girl comes to town and wants some fun...Mark gives her just that. These two were HAWT!! 

*I was given a copy of this book by the author/publisher in exchange for my honest and voluntary review*
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(I didn't read the first book in the series and, while I'm curious how Mark was portrayed there, I didn't really feel like I missed anything.)

Damaged by an early relationship, Mark's held himself back for a lot of years, considering himself to be unlovable.  And definitely too dark for someone as sweet as Katelyn.  As we begin to understand why Mark is the way he is, we fall a little more for the stand-offish cowboy who is so dedicated to his family but secretly dislikes himself just as much.  It'll take a special woman to get through to him and make him realize that he's worthy of love ... and he's just met his match.     

 I loved how everyone considered Mark to be cold and reserved but Katelyn was able to see below the surface to the real him.  She shows a lot of perseverance and grit pushing for what she wants, especially when what she wanted was Mark.  It's a very adult thing to not turn tail and run at every bump in the road, even when that bump is as big as this particular cowboy, and Landish does a great job of giving us a heroine (and a hero) that we can get behind.  

Riding Hard has just a little extra heat, a whole lot of understanding, and a hero who finally finds his perfect match.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the next Bennett brother :)
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I really enjoyed this book. I loved the struggle that Mark felt and how he didn't "just get over it" like some authors have their heroes do. I'm glad he struggled throughout the book, even after coming clean with Katelyn. 

The only thing holding me back from giving this 5 stars is because I didn't feel like we knew enough about Katelyn. We met Mark's entire family and even knew about his brothers, but we didn't hear much about her family. 

** ARC received from Netgalley **
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The Bennett Boys are HOT! This is the second book in the series and can be read as a standalone. This is Mark and Katelyn's story. Mark is the oldest Bennett and feels the weight of carrying his father's legacy on by running the family ranch. He has responsibilities and is very serious. He doesn't show emotion. Katelyn is new to town. She's starting her life over. Ready for the rainbow that is life, not her beige past.
The writing is great and will suck you into the story. Told in both Mark and Katelyn's POV.
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Loved this book! Please see my review on Amazon below!

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This story was a surprise favorite, I loved how the characters in the story evolved. Poor Mark, he was so rigid when we first met him in the story so afraid of rejection, to watch Katelyn accept him and show him acceptance was beautiful.
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