Strapping Ash is the third book in the Crow Creek series and it is effectively the end of Ash and Oak’s story. Pulling Leather saw the couple face their demons and we begin this novel unsure of how the couple will move past their issues. Nya Rawlyns also uses Strapping Ash to introduce the often insufferable Ben Kincaid, who features in the next three Crow Creek stories.
Strapping Ash also differs from the previous instalments in that the plot is not simply focused upon the relationships between the characters. Nya Rawlyns allows Ash to become the White Knight on a dirt-bike as he sets out to uncover the mystery of who has a vendetta against Sugar Ranch, and particularly Ben and Oak.
Yet the story is not only about Ash’s heroics. For the couple to move forward we realise that Oak has to find his own identity and surprisingly he emerges as quite the Alpha male; professionally, emotionally and sexually.
It is the erotic element of the story which turned me off. Ash and Oak’s relationship has always been extremely sexual, but here I felt that these acts were too frequent and often hindered the plot, rather than strengthening it.
Strapping Ash is a satisfying addition to the Crow Creek series and I think that Nya Rawlyns ties the stories of the MacBryde couple and Ben Kincaid together in an intriguing way, leaving us with an urge to begin Sorting Will.
For gentle Oak, his husband Ash is “the man he loved but wasn’t sure he always liked.”
The reappearance of Ash MacBryde’s old lover has sent Oak flying back to Vermont and into the employ of a man determined to win a chance to race at World’s in Dubai.
To Oak’s delight and dismay, the man who brought him out of the bolted closet is there too, working for the same man with the same end. They will be partners on horseback … and if Ben Kincaid has his way, in other ways as well.
Someone holds a grudge against Oak’s new employer; and as the race approaches, the dirty tricks escalate until no one is safe.
Oak and Ben are in danger, and when Ash shows up to bring his man back home, there’s more at stake than just a shot at a million dollar purse.
Maybe there’s just one sure way for the reclusive Oak to face his domineering, possessive man. It’s called STRAPPING ASH.