Title: McFarland’s Farm (Hope: Book 1)
Author: Cardeno C
Publisher: Cardeno C
Length: 102 pages
Blurb: Wealthy, attractive Lucas Reika treats life like a party, moving from bar to bar and man to man. Thumbing his nose at his restaurateur father’s demand that he earn his keep, Lucas instead seduces a valued employee in the kitchen of their flagship restaurant, earning himself an ultimatum: lose access to his father’s money or stay in the middle of nowhere with a man he has secretly lusted over from afar.
Quiet, hard-working Jared McFarland loves his farm on the outskirts of Hope, Arizona, but he aches to have someone to come home to at the end of the day. Jared agrees to take in his longtime crush as a favor. But when Lucas invades his heart in addition to his space, Jared has to decide how much of himself he’s willing to risk and figure out if he can offer Lucas enough to keep him after his father’s punishment is over.
Beans: The key to a novella is a complete story in a small amount of time. You have to have just enough background, just enough character development, just enough story to leave the reader satisfied with the result. 100 pages or 1000 pages.
As a huge Cardeno C fan I was truly anticipating this first installment of the Hope novella series. I was nervous too. Novellas are tricky beasts. CC is the grand master of character driven stories, but if there is too much… then we are just left wanting more. But this book was perfect.
We fell in love with Jared as he worked hard. Hope is more than his home it’s where he was going to live out his life. Sure he is lonely but he has friends that are family to him and no expectations of anything more. There was just one man that brought out those aches for more, but he was under no illusions about him. Jared is a strong, shy man. I could see him walking down the street and going to the cafe for breakfast. I could see him helping his neighbors, proud and silent and beautiful.
Lucas is spoiled and lost. When we first meet him I wanted Jared to get up and walk away from him. I wanted Jared to turn his back and yell no and not allow him into his life. But Jared is nothing but forgiving. His attraction to Lucas and sense of honor to help a friend holds him back from kicking Lucas out of Hope immediately. Thankfully. Lucas has to humble himself. He has to see for himself what he has become. But Lucas allows himself to find peace. He finds his strength, family, and acceptance, but it’s a close thing.
The attraction these two opposite men have towards each other lights the pages on fire. The kind of desire that you fear will flame fast and burn out. But Jared doesn’t burn out. He knows how to kindle that lust filled flame into a love and commitment that will burn for a lifetime, and that left me breathless and happy.
This moved to my favorite novella of Cardeno C’s and 3rd favorite thing CC has ever written. I can’t wait to see what more Cardeno has to offer us, of life in this town. I look forward to seeing what kind of healing we get to see as the series develops. A brilliant start to a series and a fantastic novella.
Nina: A wonderful novella full of emotion, acceptance and love. These men are both hurting in their own ways, struggling with loneliness and a fear that they’ll never be truly accepted or wanted. In true Cardeno C fashion we have a captivating story that allows for the pains of life while celebrating the joys of love and family. It was a delight watching these men create together the family they’ve always been missing.
Jared is amazing. I love a big, shy man, especially one who wears his heart on his sleeve and lives his life with integrity, honesty, charity and honor. Jared is huge, 6’5″ and packed with strong muscles he’s earned working his farm. Shy and introverted he has a hard time with new people and social situations. While it takes him a little while to feel comfortable around the gorgeous Lucas, he quickly sees the man beneath the reputation and snark, and they develop a friendship that quickly escalates into everything.
But after spending two weeks getting to know the person inside the beautiful package, Jared was hit with a longing in his chest as well as his dick. He wanted to wrap his arms around Lucas and hold him tight, to take him to bed and hide away from the world together, to whisper secrets and dreams in the dark, and to spend his life making those dreams come true for Lucas.
Lucas is such a spoiled brat when he walks off that bus and into Jared’s small town. His attitude and smart mouth are much bigger than he is and he’s using them for all he’s worth to keep Jared from realizing the crush he’s been hiding for years. There is something about Jared that Lucas has never been able to resist.
Nobody over two hundred fifty pounds should be able to look cute. Damn Jared for violating that rule.
And the more Lucas gets to know and understand Jared, the deeper he falls and the more irresistible his craving to seduce the humble and beautiful Jared.
He figured if he ever experienced Jared with more than a couple of senses at a time, he’d spontaneously combust. Or at least come in his pants.
You will fall in love with these men. You will need them to find their way to each other, they’ve been wanting each other for years before they finally get this chance. You will savor each word and delight in their interactions, chuckle at the humor and snarking, and celebrate them finding the happiness, belonging and peace they’ve always craved in a beautiful life together.
The sexual chemistry between Jared and Lucas is scorching and I was checking my kindle for burn marks after reading the culmination of years of lust and weeks of emotional connection.
“Christ,” he said once they were both spent. He bit the back of Lucas’s neck and then licked it. “That was… I don’t know what that was.”
“Yeah. I don’t either,” Lucas said. “Think we can do it again before bed?”
The only complaint I have in this book is that I want more. I can’t wait to read more of these men and their lovely town and meet their friends. This series is an auto-buy and a guaranteed re-read for me. I’m happily hooked.