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I finally finished a book! As I’ve written periodically since I started my new job in September, it’s been hard to get reading time because my commute was chopped by more than 50%. The last time I posted a review was back on September 21. But, just a couple days ago, I finished Natural Disaster, Chris Owen’s sequel to Bareback.

Natural Disaster picks up a few years after the first book ended. Here Jake and Tor have just closed the purchase of the ranch where they’d been working, and where they’d met, in the first book. They barely take the ranch over when news comes that Jake’s sister has been killed in a car accident… and that the will calls for Jake to become his nephew’s guardian. Suddenly Jake and Tor are responsible for a 15 year old!

I loved the relationship that grew between Jake and Tor in the first book—two ornery cowboys/ranch hands who eventually had to come to grips with the fact they were in love with each other. They had plenty of adversity (and plenty of support) in that book as their relationship become public. Here they have to overcome new obstacles as they have to keep their newly owned ranch going, but also have to take care of Jacob.

Owen does a great job of showing the push and pull of their relationship as they learn how to live with all the challenges put in front of them. Yes, there’s plenty of arguing and misunderstanding, but the foundation of their love gets them through. And, this is a different kind of book than Bareback. That book was a pretty straight forward romance as they discovered each other. This time out it’s about the relationship and how their family has grown to include the nephew and all that comes with that. Sure, there’s still a good dose of romance, but the romance is more in the background this time. Some of the online reviews have slammed the sequel from moving so far away from the romance element, but I think it works great. I hope Owen pens another Jake and Tor book at some point so we can check in on them, the ranch and the family.

Next up: The God Box by Alex Sanchez