Doing it at: 47%
Catnip: Roughing It, Hate to Love You, Cowboys, Lumbersexual, Sexual Healing, Romantic Suspense, Strong Female Lead, Fish Out of Water, Horses, Hot Springs, City Mouse vs. Country Mouse, Ride It My Pony
Shame Scale: I think we are entirely shameless at this point (Garth Brooks link appropriate because this book involves a Stetson hat!)
Fantasy Cast: Alan Powell, Amy Adams
What Does He Taste Like?: Mountains and man
Every once in a while, you need to get away from it all.
I was a woman on the edge, shaken and shattered after a breakup that felt like it tore my entire world apart.
My best friend, sick of watching me drown in misery and melancholy, harassed me until I agreed to go with her on a week-long wilderness retreat.
She promised days spent bonding and getting in touch with our inner bad-asses. It was supposed to be all about the two of us roughing it and making do with the bare minimum. She assured me we were going to be pushed to our limits in ways that were unimaginable. Neither one of us could have ever guessed just how right she was.
Nowhere in the glossy brochure did it say anything about the fact I was going to have to battle the insufferable but deliciously rugged and sexy trail guide instead of the elements. The brochure also forgot to mention the part that warned when you left civilization behind, there was no place to pack your inhibitions and fears.
I was told that I would be facing a week where the only thing I should expect was the unexpected. However, no one mentioned that I was going to have to fight for my life…and my heart as soon as I ventured into the unknown.
I was a pro at hiding from my feelings but when it came time to face a real threat, one that could change everything, I learned I was more of a no surrender, no retreat kind of girl.
Retreat is a standalone novel, the first in the Getaway series which centers on the hardheaded and brokenhearted Warner brothers and the women that dare to love them.
These boys are very good at putting the wild in wilderness.
Mary: Jay Crownover has decided to dip her toes into the Cowboy Romance world and we cannot be more excited about it.
Cleone: Jay seems determined to give us every single male fantasy- hot cop, hot criminal, hot carpenter, hot military men, hot lawyer, hot versions of Trump’s worst nightmare— and now the hot cowboy. Thanks, Jay! You’ve got a golden boner in your future for your gifts to womankind.
M: I love cowboy books, from the super erotic, Stetson hat, vaguely bi-sexual Lorelei James/Maya Banks/Lora Leigh kind of cowboys, to the ultra masculine Kristen Ashley cowboys who are pretty much exactly like her bikers/pimps/bounty hunters/lawmen/fantasyland marauders. I’m pretty much pro-cowboy in all forms. But Crownover’s cowboys lean more towards the gentleman’s undercut, plaid shirt, motorcycle boots, lumbersexual type – and as a Pittsburgh wannabe-hipster mom, that is SO my catnip. So quick, close your eyes and don’t look at the cover, because this book is totally about a hot hipster cowboy and not an aging Joey Fatone.
M: C got a subscription to the Feeln Network, and she’s been watching holiday Hallmark romances nonstop.
C: I can literally not recommend Feeln strongly enough, currently you can stream a variety of holiday romances (Christmas anytime!), The Cutting Edge, Mrs. Winterbourne, and my favorite Hallmark Hall of Fame of all time, Loving Leah. It’s four dollars a month well spent. But I digress.
(We are shitty people who judge books by their covers, and this is kind of like when we said the guy on the cover of Better When He’s Bold looked like an Olive Garden waiter. Quick math says she has crazy hot covers at least 85% of the time though!)
C: But we love everything INSIDE Jay’s books! Please don’t hate us, we worship you and semi-stalk you.
M: Leora (Leo) is fresh off of a crap breakup and doing a lot of wallowing, so her best friend Emrys drags her from California to Colorado to go on a horseback wilderness adventure with some hot cowboys. Leo is less than enthused, but she’s rolling with it because she’s been an awful best friend lately and she feels like she needs to atone.
With her obstinate refusal to have fun, Leo reminded me of Cleone when someone is making her do some shit she doesn’t want to do and she’s being a total crab about it.
C: Sullen Leora and sullen Cleone both enjoy a good wallow when life isn’t going their way. This, of course immediately endeared me to Leora. Seriously, Jay wrote in the forward that Leora might take some time to warm up to, but I was immediately on her team. Curly hair, crappy attitude, trouble not saying things she shouldn’t? My kind of girl.
M: When she meets Cyrus and his two hot brothers, she immediately insults them by questioning their authenticity as a cowboys. Cyrus is all, “Bitch please. You don’t even know about my wilderness skills.”
M: Ask me sometime to tell you about how we somehow made the director for my dad’s funeral incorrectly assume we wanted him to play Meatloaf to close it all out.
In Leo’s defense, Cyrus is also a bit abrasive.
C: Cy and Leora have the great immediate I hate you but I really want to get you naked chemistry, she finds him insufferable, but he is also giving her tingles where there have been no tingles in ages.
I never thought I was the kind of girl who went weak in the knees for big muscles and a bossy demeanor. Turns out my libido thought very differently.
And now she has a week with him, in close proximity, to figure out exactly how far that attraction might go, and to see if Cy is the cowboy who can help her ride away the gloom of her previous relationship.
M: They head off into the wilderness on some beautiful horses, and Leo is making great strides toward’s conquering her fears and remembering the woman she used to be. Then, the fucking starts, and it is fabulous.
C: Before we get to the doin’ it, and Leora’s general bad-assed-ness, can we talk about that shower scene? I have been in park bathrooms, and I have never not even once thought they could be a sexy place. But when Leo walked in to wash off the horse dust, muscle relaxing cream, and sweat and found naked Cyrus stroking himself, I didn’t even think about what kind of giant spiders were also watching the two of them find pleasure without penetration together.
His hand moved faster and faster as his head fell back with a groan. His eyes drifted shut and his other hand curled into a fist at his side, the other in front of him rocking back and forth at a leisurely pace at his waist. My mind immediately went to all the dirty and sexy things that pose and that particular motion could mean. I knew what I wanted it to mean, so all I could do was gawk and try to remember to breathe.
M: We also got a nod to our most favorite Jay Crownover line ever:
C: I too long to be filled up with emotion, but mostly with the other thing.
M: Then, they meet up with some DANGER in the woods and there are bad guys and guns. It’s reminiscent of Michael Koryta’s ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead,’ except with less fire and more . Very fun, and a welcome break from all the traditional ‘New Adult’ romances I’ve been reading lately.
C: Just when I was thinking that maybe Mary and I should add an adventure like this to our line up of 2017 girls getaways (and we are #blessed to have many on our plate), shit started to get real. Retreat is heavier on action, as well as layering in more suspense, than Jay’s other books without losing any of the romance, or the character growth we have come to expect in her books.
M: I can’t wait for the rest of this series. I want the next one more than anything else she’s got on her 2017 release list.
Also, just a thought Jay – maybe you’ll tell us that Brynn hooked up with their dad just once even though he was otherwise a kind hearted guy with good intentions? It would be such a deliciously scandalous stumbling block towards any relationship between her and Lane, who I’m shipping pretty hard so I hope that’s where you were going with it. I don’t think we have a really good ‘I ❤ My Stepmom’ book in our Smutlopedia yet, and Titans was my second favorite Aaron Spelling show of all time.
C: Jay has a way of writing flawed characters that you become deeply invested in, and populating the entire book universe with more of the same. I finished Retreat and immediately wanted at least three more books with this group — specifically Emrys, Ten, and Brynn if you’re reading this, Ms. Crownover. Her strong women remind me of all the smart, capable, brave women I know in real life. I adore that she does not write shrinking violets who can only survive with a man to care for them, and that she obviously has a lot of respect for the female frienship. We need more of this in our book worlds.
Check it out: