Six Pack Ranch (6 books)
by Vivian Arend
“The Coleman family has ranched in the Rocky Mountain House area of Alberta for generations. These modern day contemporary cowboy romance stories follow the extended family as they find both their place in the community and a happy-ever-after.”
These are published through Samhain so you can expect a bit more kink than your average contemporary provides. But overall the heroes are pretty sweet so it also isn’t what I would consider a traditional Samhain either.
Blake Coleman is the oldest of the Coleman’s and as such tends to be the more sober and proper of the siblings. Jaxi is almost a decade younger and of course she has always loved him. When we first meet her, she is dating Blake’s younger brother Travis, and there are obviously secrets involved there. Overall I was not especially fond of Jaxi, she pulls a few rather childish stunts that I felt rather proved the Blake’s concerns.
This is the first entry to this series and this family. So we meet probably all the characters and get quite a bit of background and plot involving them. This story seems to be less about Blake and Jaxi and more about setting up for the rest of the series. And that’s ok, because I don’t think Blake and Jaxi were interesting enough, or compelling enough to be the main attraction. I didn’t dislike the story, but those two didn’t draw me in. More of the focus and interest, in my opinion, was on Travis, Matt, and Gabe. This is a light, mildly entertaining read with no real punch, but read it anyway to get the background you will need for the rest of the series.
Beth Danube is a recent widow with two boys. Her husband was emotionally abusive so she has some hang ups about herself and sexuality. Daniel Coleman has recently had some very hard knocks in life but he’s doing his best to take it in stride and to build a new future.
When they meet Beth is looking for no strings and Daniel has happily ever after written all over him, so it is a nice reverse. It was really very enjoyable to watch this couple’s relationship unfold and change. Additionally the way we see them try to fit her kids into the relationship and the way boundaries were established and changed felt very realistic.
Plus we get to see quite a bit more of how Matt’s life is changing.
Matt Coleman (as seen in the previous novel) has had his heart stepped on and his pride ripped to shreds. Hope Meridian is struggling to stay afloat after her sister abandons the business and the apartment they had been planning on, leaving her with all the responsibility.
This is a really sweet and sexy friends-to-lovers story with the additional baggage that Hope’s sister is the one who screwed them both over and of course, the one who causes the most drama between them. There’s actually a relationship between Matt and Hope, and it progresses in a logical manner. And the ending is over the top romantic and sweet.
Gabe Coleman (a cousin to the six main Coleman brothers) played a big part in previous books and was probably one of the more interesting characters. He has an acrimonious relationship with his father, and his father is a complete hateful ass. Gabe is struggling to get around his father and save the ranch. Allison is looking for an excuse to move back to her home town without alerting her mother to her real reasons. So she offers Gabe a deal, if he’ll pretend to be her fiancé she’ll help him do what needs to be done to make the ranch profitable again.
This is another friends to lovers story but there is a lot of sadness and grief to go along with the heat that creates a truly enjoyable three dimensional tale.
Vicki Hansol is known as one of the town “bad girls” due to the actions of her family members. The only thing bad about her is her temper, but based on the actions of the rest of the town, she’s completely justified at that. Joel Coleman is trying to change his own reputation and step away from the antics of his twin brother Jesse. In order for Vicki to be able to take a job that gets her out of town, she needs to get over her fear of horses, so she turns to Joel who it looks like is the only person to have been nice to her in a long while.
This story gave me a completely different perspective of the town and the Coleman family. It made them all seem more human. And Vicki and Joel were really good together with both of them having things to teach the other. Fair warning, this story is more of a happily for now rather than a happily ever after, but considering their ages and their integration into the fabric of the community, it feels completely appropriate instead of a letdown like most happily for now stories.
Travis Coleman was probably the most mysterious of the Coleman brother’s we have seen snippets of his character throughout this series, so I was highly anticipating his story, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is an M/M/F ménage relationship with a lot of heart and some pretty serious kink. Cassidy was Travis’s best friend (we met him in Rocky Mountain Angel) but he left because he could not deal with some of his own hang ups and feared repercussions with Travis. Ashley Sims left because she felt like she wasn’t enough for Travis and she has some of her own trauma and drama to deal with, but she returned to set down roots and to return to Travis.
This is an equal triad relationship (which is my favorite type of ménage) and there were no big misunderstandings. There were issues and some miscommunications, but they were all very believable and relatable in the context of their society and their individual backgrounds. This is one of my favorites in the series so far.