Reviewed by Ami
Title: Raising the Bar
Author: Leigh Dillon
Series: States of Love #42
Heroes: Destin Bellingham/Tonio Benedetto
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 102 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 7, 2018
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.
Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation. The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.
Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?
Review: Destin Bellingham inherits near bankrupt family horse farm after the abrupt death of his father. His only way to probably save the farm is to get Black Sambuca, a talented stallion that has a mind of his own, into the Grand Prix. Destin decides to hire top rider, Tonio Benedetto, who is famous for working with problematic horse but also infamous for his bad-boy and drinking reputation. But Destin doesn’t have any choice. If “Sam” cannot get into the Grand Prix, he may lose his family farm.
I feel like I’m having a good streak with romance that deals with horses lately. I really liked the theme of working with problem horse in this novella. Unfortunately, I also felt that this book would have had a bigger impact on me if there were more pages to address a number of things introduced in this story.
There were problems with the horse, and Destin working out how to save his farm, then there was Tonio, who relapsed one time in this novella – though probably Destin had a hand in it. I mean, I liked focusing on Destin and Tonio. I even liked when they argued because apparently, Destin was stubborn enough NOT to do things differently, even if what Tonio argued was to save the farm.
However, those moments pushed the training with Sam into the background, and I was also interested in that! So, I felt like when Tonio found out what was wrong with Sam, it was a bit rushed, and it didn’t fully satisfy me.
Yes, it was a good read, but I wish it was longer. *sad face*
Overall Impression: I liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*