Lucky Break is the fourth book in A.M. Arthur’s Clean Slate Ranch series of mlm contemporary romance novels. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I loved all of the previous books in the series, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next on the ranch.
I usually avoid revealing plot points, but in the interest of content warnings, readers should know that Shawn was sexually molested and then outed as a teen.
Shawn Matthews appeared in a supporting role in Saddle Up, the third book in the series. He has been working as the pastry chef at the ghost town’s restaurant. Shawn has not had an easy life; the restaurant job has been a huge help, but he’s been living in his car to save on expenses.
Robin Butler is one of the cowboys on the ranch. He has also appeared in previous books as a supporting character, and part of the appeal of this book was getting to know these two characters on a deeper level.
Shawn and Robin start off on the wrong foot, so the development of their relationship is a slow burn. Shawn knows that he’s attracted to men, and he’s certainly attracted to Robin, but he’s never been in a relationship before. Robin was so gentle and patient with Shawn, and he always made sure to seek enthusiastic consent, and to keep the physical aspects of their relationship at a pace Shawn was comfortable with. It’s worth noting that Robin takes these steps even though he doesn’t know about Shawn’s past traumas.
A big part of this book is both men coming to terms with their respective pasts, and learning to accept that they are deserving of happiness, so even though they’ve experienced tragedies, they can look forward to the possibility of a future together.
There’s a nice balance between the gravity of more serious matters and lighter moments like the camaraderie between the ranch family. One of my favorite parts was all of the cooking scenes and discussion of food- Shawn is a competent cook, and the opportunity to do more cooking for the ranch helps him gain more confidence in his abilities. Likewise, Robin finds new purpose in his work on the ranch, so their relationship begins at a time when they are both finding new beginnings, so it pairs nicely with the burgeoning relationship.
I would absolutely recommend Lucky Break. It functions well enough as a standalone, but reading the books in order provide a sense of continuity for the longer story arcs. The Clean Slate Ranch series has become my favorite contemporary mlm series, and I’m looking forward to the next book.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.