To Love A Stallion
by Deborah Fletcher Mello, contemporary (2008)
Kimani, $5.99, ISBN 978-0-373-86054-8


Don't look at me like that. I am not the one who came up with To Love A Stallion for the title for this book. And no, the author didn't specify how well endowed the hero is, although I'm told here that the hero uses extra-large sized condoms - for exact dimensions, send those emails to Ms Mello instead. The title refers to the hero. Oh, that comes out wrong, so let me try again. The hero's name is John Stallion. It's his family name, and no, he's doesn't work as an actor in pornographic films. He's a businessman who is interested in buying the ranch managed by the family of our heroine Marah Briscoe but she's not interested in selling, alas. On the bright side, she's definitely as interested in him as he is in her.

Marah's father Edward owns one of the biggest Black-owned ranch-cum-B&B establishments in Texas. Marah believes that Stallion Enterprises must have taken advantage of her father to persuade that man to sell Briscoe Ranch to them. She will not stand for that and she will tell John right to his face herself that the Briscoes are not selling the ranch. John, however, is not a man without a trick or two up his sleeves. Plus, he has some unexpected allies in Marah's own family, especially in Edward. The next thing Marah knows, she has been maneuvered into negotiating the sales of the ranch with John. But Marah is not someone who will just wave a white flag. If he wants to play, she'll show him how it's played. After all, when it comes to the cowgirl versus the stallion, the cowgirl wins every time. Right?

The matter of selling the ranch, however, isn't actually that big of an issue here. To Love A Stallion is actually all about John wooing Marah as Marah get to know the Stallion family better. I have to say, this story makes falling in love come off like a dream vacation that every one could use at least once in a lifetime. There aren't any screaming matches or dead bodies here - this story is all about the relationships.

John comes off a little too good to be true but he's not boring, fortunately. He's actually a likable guy with plenty of good looks, money, decency, and heart. Marah is the more well-drawn character here and I like her. She's sassy and strong-willed, she doesn't have strange hang-ups about sex and men, and she is also smart. Ms Mello has allowed Marah to behave like a real person, someone I can relate to, and I think that's great.

The secondary characters do tend to resemble cheerleaders at times, but at the same time, Ms Mello allows the interactions of these secondary characters with John and Mara to bring out the best from those two. I confess that some of the family scenes in this story come off too much like scenes straight out of a family sitcom that would normally make me cringe, but on the whole, I like all that family moments in this story. To Love A Stallion is a cozy feel-good drama about family and love, one brimming with likable and fun characters, and reading it makes me feel as if I'm taking a nice long vacation with a bunch of adorable people. I really like this one.

Rating: 88


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