Pushing Riley to the Max (Isaiah Ranch) by Romeo Alexander; Narrated by Michael Dean

Pushing Riley to the Max is a great start to Romeo Alexander's new series - I loved the audio

From the blurb:

Getting my Ph.D. is a bit of a challenge. Not falling for my hot, straight, grumpy mentor is next to impossible.

Six months undercover on a ranch known for rehabilitation is my ticket to finishing my degree. Me? I’m just a guy who’s gay, terrified of horses, and somehow convinced this is a good idea. The owners are in on my secret, but Max, my rugged, horse-whispering mentor, isn’t. Did I mention he’s infuriatingly attractive?

Thrown together, it's not just the horses we're taming. As Max and I dance around each other, an unexpected moment of closeness threatens to unravel everything. Apparently, we're both hiding secrets. Falling for him isn't part of my research, yet here I am, questioning everything for a man who might just be worth the risk.

I’m learning that the biggest discoveries often come from the heart, but will it be Max or the horses that push me to my limits?

Turns out it’s both…and a donkey named Milo.

Lesetiger's review:

Riley and Max are the two MCs of the first volume of Isaiah Ranch. It is known for rehabilitation and Ph.D. student Riley will spend 6 months undercover there. Riley is the sunshine type, always upbeat and brings out the best in people, but that wasn't always the case. Max on the other hand is a grumpy bear, once coming to the ranch as part of the rehabilitation program, he has stayed after and takes care of both the animals and more recently his new mentee.

I love Romeo Alexander's writing style. He writes beautifully, his characters are complex and well developed, I could visualize the settings and the animals very well and once I started the story, I was captivated. The love story is slow burn, which I really like and which is also realistic here.
I loved the interactions between Riley and Max. It was delightful to see Riley bring out a Max who not only loathes and hides from life, but who slowly comes out of his shell. They both face their inner demons and the twists and turns that ensue were quite interesting. I liked both protagonists, even if I would have liked to have nudged Max sometimes, because he can be a really stubborn guy.
The setting on the ranch is great and what I also really enjoyed were some entertaining and amusing animal encounters.

There are also some interesting secondary protagonists that I would like to get to know better, so I'm already looking forward to the next volume!

Michael Dean is a brilliant narrator and he has done a fantastic job here too. I think he captured the personalities of Max and Riley perfectly and I could always tell the difference between the two protagonists thanks to the narrator. He has a very pleasant voice and he narrates very vividly. Highly recommend!

Pushing Riley to the Max is currently available as an audiobook, e-book and paperback, and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited Subscription