Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Journey At Whispering Pines Ranch



OK Folks, here it is (I feel like a drum roll is definitely in order)… the final book in the Whispering Pines Ranch series by SJD Peterson… Jess's Journey… and now it's all come to an end. The Whispering Pines series is over. But I'm here to tell you what got me through it... you might want to sit down.

FREE READ: Riveted with Ty & Blake.
To Be Released in December...
When Ty left Pegasus for the big city, he knew he was falling for Blake, but still wasn't sure if he could trust him. And Blake wasn't sure he was ready to be vulnerable enough to take on another boy. Since moving to the Big City, Blake and Ty have learned how to live with each other, but are they ready to let go of their pasts and take the next steps not only in the playroom, but also in life?


THEN since even that isn't enough, Peterson shared this: "So many people keep asking me if the Whispering Pines Ranch series is over and I keep having to say, yes, I’m sorry but it’s really over. There's a new series coming called “Guards of Folsom” which has more BDSM and is based in New York and hence why I can’t really make it part of the WPR series. But you'll recognize some of the characters."

A Quick Peek Into "Guards of Folsom"
Given Blake's past history and what happened to Eli, it's only natural that the club he is associated with caters more to the protection of the sub rather than the Dom hence the name. While sometimes scenes can seem harsh to outsiders, Blake at his core, sees subs as precious, to be celebrated, protected and loved.

"Book one will be entitled "Pup" the story of an older Dom who finds himself taming a naughty pup. Book two will be entitled "Tag Team" This is the story of Jase, Bobby and Rig. That's all I have planned...so far.... but I do believe that Aiden James will be making an appearance at some point in the series. I'm very curious about that man :)"


Now, here's my review for the final book. BUT BE SURE TO READ THESE IN ORDER. It is on my favorite series bookshelf, among a limited other few, so I mean it when I say THIS ENTIRE SERIES IS A MUST READ... just be ready for the journey...

REVIEW of Jess's Journey

At an early age, Jess Jenkins learned to take care of his family and friends and put their needs before his own. He dreamed of finding the same simple happiness his parents had and followed their example. Then Lorcan James broke his heart and an automobile accident broke his independent spirit. Now that’s all Jess is: a broken shadow of the man he used to be, still confined to a wheelchair after six months. Jess is finally forced to put himself first and accept the help he needs on his journey toward recovery. Though pain, frustration, and depression leave him bitter and eager to push people away, his friends refuse to allow him to wallow in self-pity. Jack has only glimpsed the man beneath Jess’s angry shell, but he takes it upon himself to prove Jess isn’t broken. And Collin is determined to bring back the sweet man he once knew. The simple, happy life Jess has always wanted is there for the taking—all he has to do is open his eyes and see it.

Jess is an amazing character of strength that Peterson has brought to life in this book. Once simply a secondary character, Jess must've been too large to contain. I imagine he demanded his own story and am so thankful he got it. Jess completed my journey to Whispering Pines Ranch with a sense of true resolution.

Peterson's ability to bring forth such raw emotion so readers can both hurt and heal in the same moment is unprecedented for me. I have never read another author with this much clarity. Such poignant stories of love -whether or not you enjoy m/m romance- bring out the romantic in any reader. Jess has undergone tremendous tragedy and loss but is a survivor. Much of his recovery has been overseen by Jack and Collin who give Jess the support he needs. Their mutual friendships are evident from the very first conversations in the book but it's the slow reveal of Jack and Jess's relationship that was most sweet (and hot!).

As always in this series, the secondary characters added dimension to the story. Conner's scene was a turning point with them men - much as I suspect he played a role with each couple. The absence of crazy spurned lover angst was much appreciated - Peterson handles the men's emotions, particularly Lorcan and Jess who could've been downright nasty, in an authentic way. The story flows so naturally. The resolution was realistic and the conclusion as satisfying as a whole plate of chocolate-dipped strawberries.

RATING: 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries 
This book was given to us by Dreamspinner Press. Many thanks.







Jess's Journey EXCERPT 
Prologue
CREAM walls were mixed with warm earth-tone shades of brown, yellow, and green that highlighted the bedding, furniture, and accessories. The room was designed to be soothing, cozy, and Jess Jenkins hated every detail of it. The small two-hundred-square-foot room had been his home for over four months, and nearly every waking moment of those 137 days, all he wanted to do was leave. Every thought and action he’d experienced was centered on one or both of two things: walking again and leaving the Tulsa Rehabilitation Center. Today he’d finally reached at least one of his goals—he was going home. Although he had worked his ass off to get to this point, and it was what he wanted, he was also scared shitless to leave. So much had happened since he’d gotten behind the wheel of his truck six months ago. What should have been a thirty-minute errand turned out to be a journey into hell.
Preparing to restart his life, Jess took in his suitcase sitting by the door and couldn’t help but reflect on how he had ended up here, a forever-changed man. From his earliest memories, he’d always been the kind of person who put the needs of others before his own desires. His mom had been the same way, always putting Jess and his dad before her own dreams. Victoria Jenkins had lived a good life, had found her pleasure in caring for and loving those in her life, and Jess always dreamed of finding the same love and happiness out of simplicity. He hadn’t strived for something he thought was unrealistic or impossible. To own a small piece of land, to share his life and love with that one special person had been what he’d desired most in life; instead, he’d lived his life for others.
College hadn’t been his idea; it had been his father’s dream. Since first tossing a ball with his dad on the front lawn, he’d loved football. Given his height, large frame, and powerful body, he was a natural defensive tackle and damn good in that position. Jess had been proud of the fact that he’d been scouted and his hard work on the football field had been recognized in the form of a full-ride scholarship to Auburn University. Yet, if he’d had his way, he would have declined the offer. Instead, he’d packed his bags, left the job he loved as a ranch hand, and headed to Auburn, Alabama, the fall after his senior year of high school. He left Pegasus, not out of any need of his own, but rather to fulfill his dad’s dream of seeing his son become the first one in their family to attend college. He never admitted it to his dad, but one of the happiest moments in his life had been when he blew his knee out during his sophomore year. One part of him had mourned the end of his football career; the other side—his true side—celebrated. The injury meant he could return to Pegasus and to his true dream: ranching.
Even Jess’s one long-term relationship hadn’t been about what he truly wanted but what he thought his lover needed. Jess rolled his wheelchair to the large window that overlooked the back gardens of the rehab center, a place he’d spent hours in, dreaming about the moment when he could return home. His gaze settled on the large oaks. Beneath their branches is where he’d sat and acknowledged his heartbreak and guilt over Lorcan James.
The first moment he’d spotted the tall, slender man with warm brown eyes and the most gorgeous fall of chestnut hair he’d ever seen, Jess had been smitten. Jess smiled when he remembered just how smitten he’d been. It had been obvious by the first words that had popped out of his mouth—“I think I’m in love.” He’d never seen a more beautiful man in print, on screen, or in life, than Lorcan; to this day, it was still true. After long hours spent reflecting on his relationship, Jess realized it was the sadness in Lorcan’s gaze that had called to Jess. The pain in those tormented brown eyes prompted him to act. Even before they spoke a single word to each other, Jess had known Lorcan was in love with Quinn Taylor. It was written all over the younger man’s face each time he looked at the ranch owner. Still, Jess had pursued him. He hated seeing the hurt in Lorcan’s eyes, knew what it felt like to love the wrong person, and through that shared experience, they became not only lovers but also best friends. What they never found together was true love. It was the reason he’d cut him out of his life the way he had in a “Dear John”—or rather a “Dear Lorcan”—letter.
The special bond between them kept Lorcan at Jess’s side after his accident. Did Lorcan love him? Absolutely, as much as he could, and Jess in turn loved him, but not the way a man should love his partner. Lorcan would have never walked away; the man was just too caring to do something like turn his back on a friend. Their bond also would have resulted in Lorcan throwing away his chance at true love. Jess couldn’t allow that to happen, couldn’t allow his friend to settle and put the needs of others before his own as Jess had done. The words he’d written in his letter still rang true.
Remember when I told you our hearts don’t always pick the right person for us? In your case, your heart picked exactly the right person for you. A year ago, Quinn didn’t deserve someone like you, but he does now, pretty boy. He has stood beside you the entire time you were standing by me. Quinn didn’t take my accident as an excuse to move in and try to steal you away. He was patient, loving, and a friend to you when you needed one the most. Even though he wanted more, he put you and your needs first. He’s a good man and finally became the man your heart always knew he was. Do you honestly think I would trust Quinn with your heart again if I didn’t think he was worthy? Never! I love you, and you will always be my best friend. You belong with Quinn. I always knew that. The accident was my wake-up call. Life is too short to settle, and next time, I won’t settle for anything less than someone loving me the way you love Quinn.
Knowing how things had turned out between Lorcan and Quinn and how Jess was able to concentrate on healing instead of worrying, reinforced his belief that committing those words to paper had been the right thing to do. Jess’s chest tightened with a twinge of loss as he continued to stare out over the garden, but he didn’t regret setting Lorcan free. This place, especially the majestic oaks, would always have a special meaning for him. It was where he not only dealt with his heartbreak at what he’d lost, but also where he’d set aside those feelings and his guilt. Please let me be selfish for the first time in my life. Jess nodded as the words he used to end his letter to Lorcan flittered through his mind. He was being selfish. He was putting his needs first.
Jess turned away from the window at the sound of the door opening and smiled up at Jack as he entered the room.

Previous Books in the Series (with links to my reviews!)
CLICK HERE for Review
CLICK HERE for Review
CLICK HERE for Review
CLICK HERE for Review
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