Smitty's Sheriff

Smitty's Sheriff - Cardeno C. Originally reviewed at Sinfully.

This story starts off six months after Sheriff Richard Davis has basically ended all contact, without explanation, between himself and Todd Smitty, the man who had been his secret lover for the prior three years. The two men are about to be thrown back together as Todd’s sister, who is Richard’s best friend, is leaving her baby with them as she is being deployed. Smitty is thrilled at the idea of being able to reconnect with Richard after all his other attempts were ignored. He’s not sure what he did wrong but is willing to do what it takes to make it right. Richard has second thoughts about cutting ties with Todd but he always manages to explain them away, until he starts to see Todd in a new light as the work together to care for Molly.

I am a huge Cardeno C fan, but I don’t know about this book. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I didn’t spend all my time being annoyed by Richard. I really disliked his character for most of the book. He didn’t want the people of the town knowing their Sheriff was with such a flighty man-child. He kept Todd a secret for the three years that they were together, basically treating him as a long term hook up. He complains that Todd had sex with other men during that time, though he was fully aware of it and wasn’t looking for a commitment with Todd. He laments that Todd wasn’t ready or able to settle down, but he never talked about it with him. He treated Todd like a booty call and then complains that Todd acted like one. Gahh!!

Todd, on the other hand I liked a lot more. At first he seemed immature and he definitely has some self-esteem issues, but he quickly grew on me. Richard’s complete lack of communication with Todd from before page one, continued through most of the book and for all his thinking that Todd was the immature one, Todd is the only one trying to figure things out and mature enough to attempt a real conversation. Richard, on the other hand, lives on the assumptions he made three years ago about what Todd wanted and is capable of. Not that Todd was completely blameless; in his eyes the other men were just for sex but he considered his relationship with Richard special and was waiting for Richard to tell him to stop but never seemed to have broached the subject of commitment, just willing to take what he could get with Richard. I was a little fuzzy on one aspect of their prior relationship. Richard basically treated Todd like a hookup, but they seem to have spent a lot of time together, not in public of course and I was wondering whether there any words of love back then? They drop I love yous after rekindling things, and it didn’t seem like either of them were surprised by the words.

As far as their dynamic goes, Richard’s parenting Todd didn’t bother me. That’s what Todd wanted. He craved the structure Richard gave him. Growing up as a late in life child to older parents, with a large age gap to his youngest sibling, I got the impression Todd mostly self-parented himself. He’s forgetful and insecure so Richard’s need to control worked perfectly with Todd’s wanting to be directed both in and out of bed.

There was a bit of growth in Richard by the end, though I still didn’t love his character. I enjoyed Todd’s interactions with Lucas who isn’t afraid to tell Todd just what Richard is doing wrong and why Todd should run far and fast. I haven’t read the prior books but if you have you’ll recognize him from [b:McFarland's Farm|22944056|McFarland's Farm (Hope, #1)|Cardeno C.||42511269].

So this was a rare time where I didn’t fully connect with a Cardeno C book. While my personal feelings about the character obviously colored my reaction to the story, it could work very well for you, especially if you’re a fan of Cardeno C and second chance romances where communication is the main issue.