I am so glad I read this little gem. Dark Horse is about Dan, a horse trainer who's struggling with love, loss, loneliness, and uncertainty. What a great character and the perfect setting for this story. The details of the horse training were just enough to set the tone of the story and draw you into Dan's world without being overwhelming. By the end, I wanted to spend a day with Dan and his horses.
The first half of this story tore me up. You can feel how deep Dan's pain goes. The push and pull with his emotions and the decisions he had to make, made everything seem so realistic. Nothing came easy for him, even his feelings for Jeff and Evan. I loved how he didn't instantly fall for both men. He had a stronger connection to Jeff and had legitimate concerns about both. Even though his attraction towards Jeff made me feel bad for Evan at times, it still made complete sense.
There weren't any quick rolls in the sack that made everything ok. Even up to the very end, Dan struggles with how he feels. I absolutely loved how the ending wasn't all roses and chocolates. The seeds of doubt are what make Dan who he is. Albeit, there were a few times that his anxiety was getting to me and I was yelling at him to stop with all the "what if's" and second guessing every last detail, but the over-thinking is part of what made me fall for him. Although I still loved it when Evan called him melodramatic and a drama queen. Spot on buddy!
I also enjoyed all the side characters. Tat, Chris, and Ryan, were all great too. However, I thought some of the character's voices blurred. Dan, Chris, and Ryan, all had the same verbal expressions. And the "Hey man's" really got over-used.
The issues that bothered me a bit were:
1. The book had a lot of irrelevant detail, especially in the second half of the book. I think if it was a bit shorter, it would have been perfect.
2. I wanted to know more about Evan and Jeff's relationship. They are great characters. Jeff was calm and gentle while Evan was passionate and impulsive. Great combo. I know this is Dan's book but this made it feel incomplete to me. There were references to them having problems and at the end there were some hints but nothing concrete. I really like these two guys and I wanted more.
3. IMO, the sex didn't live up to the sexual tension these guys had. There was so much heat and chemistry between them, I expected something more explosive than what actually happened.
This was a great book and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.