Dan gets his chance for a fresh start when a family comes to purchase the horses, and he finds himself instantly drawn to the two men. The purchase hinges on Dan’s willingness to work for the buyers at their Californian estate. The author breaks the book into two distinct parts - Part Two beginning with his move to California – and while I normally cringe at this type of break (you know, why not just write two books?), it worked for Sherwood. There was an obvious before and after Justin in Dan’s life which was even more profound by the division.
This book does not have a quick happily-ever-after, but rather a slow progression of steps in building their relationship. At times the relationship struggles were frustrating – moments where I thought Dan was too sensitive and disagreements were blown out of proportion. The complexities of a ménage relationship were certainly not glossed over as they often are in other books. And Dan joining a pre-existing relationship added its own set of trouble when Evan and Jeff would discuss Dan and make decisions without including him – I could see how Dan continued to feel like the outsider. Since I liked all three men, I hated that Dan found it so easy to be with Jeff but had a hard time with Evan. But then the connections were different in each pairing also and the author carefully maintained the character’s true personalities.
Dark Horse is an incredibly complex story that kept me unsure if I was actually going to get a happily-ever-after at all, never really certain what was going to happen next. I liked that the book focused on their relationship and not just sex (which is an easy selling point so kudos to Sherwood for going beyond) which actually didn’t happen until late in the book. Sexual tension plays a large role in the book and it was well executed, and perfectly developed in a continual build. The explicit sex scenes, including a three-way, were not only hot but essential to the story’s development.