In his early 30's, Caine isn't getting what he wants out of life. He's in a lackluster relationship and his terrible stutter keeps him from advancing in his job. So when his uncle dies and leaves his Australian sheep farm to the family, Caine sees a chance to make a change. He packs his bags and moves to the Outback, determined to forge a new path for himself, following in his beloved uncle's footsteps.
Caine isn't stupid. He knows that he has a lot to learn about the job. So he goes in with deference to the ranch foreman, Macklin. He has every intention of simply learning what he can so he can do the job right. But Macklin is prickly and skeptical. Every so often, the older man seems to warm to him, but he goes back to being cold just as quickly.
Caine is attracted to Macklin and never dreams his feelings would be returned. But when his life is put in danger, Macklin reacts with a fury and passion that can't be denied. After that, Caine has high hopes something can grow between them, but Macklin has never been in a real relationship with another man. His love life has been nothing but a string of meaningless sexual encounters. In addition, Macklin is afraid to pursue something with Caine because of the potential fallout should their affair become public knowledge.
I enjoyed the story. Caine's stuttering and determination to turn his life around make him very sympathetic. He's a good guy who knows who he is and what he wants. He is gentle without being a wuss; and he is patient without being a doormat. Macklin is gruff and sexy, though his mood swings and his stand-offishness make him less accessible. The sex stays mostly on the tamer side, but I think it was well done. And the Australian backdrop gives the romance a little extra flavor.
The story was pretty low key. And the ending was a little convenient. But I liked watching this couple find their way together. 3 1/2 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley