Book Review – Desert Dreams by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

Owatonna U #6
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Pages: 107
Characters: Ryker/Jacob
POV: 1st
Genre: Contemporary, Hockey Romance, Series

When danger stalks their new home, it’s only their strength as a couple that keeps them safe.

Ryker misses Jacob every day he’s away. At the start of a new Raptors season with everything to play for, Jacob, the desert ranch, and their small menagerie of animals have become an oasis of peace in a turbulent world. He’s never ridden a horse, he’s never considered how much this place would mean to him, but suddenly he’s forming a connection with a mare called Tops and loving every moment of this new life. Balancing hockey with his love for Jacob, he feels that nothing can ever go wrong.

With his life finally on track, Jacob is pouring all of himself into the dream he shares with Ryker. Putting the final touches on Mountain Vista Ranch, a halfway home for troubled LGBTQ youth and their families, fills his heart with pride. When their first clients arrive, he finds himself drawn to the small family and their plight. Little does he or Ryker know that the darkness the newcomers have fled from is following them.

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I totally blame these authors for getting me hooked on this genre. I love the wider world they’ve built, and the strong sense of family and found family within it. An extra bonus in this story was the cameo of Jack Campbell-Hayes from RJ’s Texas series.

I love Ryker and Jacob and the life they’ve built together, despite some of the horrible experiences they’ve had. I liked how the authors didn’t shy away from the ongoing consequences of what happened to Jacob in a previous book, and how current events bring it up again. I enjoyed reading from both their POVs as they come from very different backgrounds, including Ryker being a hockey player, and Jacob being at home with the horses. The scenes with Ryker and the horses are fun, and I loved Jacob and Ryker’s interaction. They’re very sweet together, and it’s obvious they love each other and will do whatever it takes to keep the other safe physically and emotionally.

I love Stan, and although he’s not in this story, he’s totally present in spirit through Maksim, the Russian security guard he organises for the ranch. I love how the team support the ranch and what Jacob and Ryker are doing, with not only money but in very practical ways. Although they’re side characters in this story, their different personalities still come across loud and clear.

I loved the balance of romance, humour, and drama through the story. The situation when their guests’ past catches up with them is well written, and tense. I love Maksim.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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