Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Jacki James

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (almost 15 years), Bi Character, OFY, Opposites Attract, Romance, Series, Small Town

Length: 129 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon

Blurb –

There’s a new man in town, and he’s caught the sheriff’s eye.

Being new to a small town is never easy, but Cody has chosen to make a home in River Gorge. He plans to keep his head down and build business in his mechanic shop, nothing more. Until he meets the town’s much older sheriff.

Eli Barrett is a man who knows who he is, and what he wants. And what he wants is Cody Iverson. But with an election looming, openly loving Cody could mean putting his job on the line.

He can only hope his small West Texas town is ready for a new kind of sheriff. One with a young man on his arm.

This m/m romance was originally available as a free novella. It has been expanded with totally new content to almost double the original word count.

Review –

There are three different covers listed for this book. I’m using the one that’s front and center on Goodreads. It’s also the one I like the most.

The first thing I’m going to say is that I’m really glad I mostly read this series out of order. Had I not, I’m not sure I would’ve continued, to be honest. I’d long read Finding Ripley and Snowflake Kisses, both of which I loved. I walked away from the series and just picked it up again recently, though the one I picked up was Cruz, book one of a spinoff of sorts. I remembered how much I loved the small town of River Gorge. It had me eager to finish what I’d started last year.

What I’ve always loved about the River Gorge books is how accepting River Gorge was. The characters, the businesses, everything. Sheriff’s Choice was the classic ‘closeted politician, homophobic mayor/council member/whatever, a pastor and church that wants those horrible gays (sarcasm, obviously) run out of town, but then said politician meets a man who makes him want to come out, and then the homophobes try to run him/them out of town.’¬†Throw in how one of the homophobes runs against the now-not-closeted politician in the next election, and there’s your story.

It really bugged me. It bugged me because I was finally reading a great series with great characters in a great place that just let people live. With this book I honestly felt like I was reading the same book I’ve read dozens of times but with different characters. In other words, it was beyond predictable.

That’s not to say that I didn’t like Eli and Cody together. I did. I even liked how once Eli realized the extent of his feelings for Cody, he didn’t try to hide them or their relationship. Sure, the election was coming up, but whatever happened, they’d deal with it when the time came. They’d be together regardless, which was really all that mattered to both men.

There’s almost 15 years between these guys, something I love. They’re also as different as night and day. I love opposites attract stories. I liked both men.

So if I liked those things, why not a higher rating? There’s not a higher rating because if I wanted to read the same old, same old all over again, I’d have picked up one of dozens of other books. I wouldn’t have read one in an established series that had already shown how amazing and accepting the town and people were.

Like I said, I read them out of order when I picked up the series again after the first two. I read Cruz (The Daddies of River Gorge, #1), then Reining in the Bad Boy (The Men of River Gorge, #5), then Never Let Go (The Men of River Gorge, #3), and this one, Sheriff’s Choice (The Men of River Gorge, #4). It’s extremely rare for me to read books out of order in series. The only reason I did in this case is because I’d just read Cruz and wanted to see where Nolan (a main character in that book) was introduced while he was still fresh, which happened to be Reining in the Bad Boy.

It was nice seeing some of the other guys again, Ripley especially. He’ll always be a favorite, even if he’s not a main character anymore. I adore Reed, Ripley’s man, so it’s always nice to see him as well.

Overall, the book was okay. I just wish that authors would stop going with the same old, same old thing over and over. Jacki James is one of my auto-reads, so this book (and the one before it) won’t stop me from reading more of her books.