Stakes & Spurs is a direct continuation of Cowboys & Vampires. Due to circumstances following the end of book one, there actually isn't very much Josh-Dex interaction in this sequel. Dex and Josh are both separated by circumstances and distance, each having to overcome obstacles getting between them. As a fan of character interaction with the love interests, I had to say this was a disappointing (but necessary) development.
The cast of characters also broaden with the addition of Sergeant Walker Maxwell of the US Army, along with his soldiers. To be honest, everything felt like it went downhill from that moment on. Let me explain:
I felt like the introduction of Army soldiers, especially Walker, served no purpose except to make the story longer and throw conflict between Josh and Dex's relationship. The story, which was well paced, now stilled to a crawl filled with one event after the other. Sure, Josh worked towards the goal of getting back with Dex, but I literally felt like it would NEVER happen. A silly notion considering this is just a novella length story.
And let's not forget the thing
between Josh and Walker, which just turned me off quicker than a bucket of ice cold water. Even after finishing book three (the final entry into the series), I still couldn't understand the purpose of creating this sexual tension between them.
I also wasn't too impressed with the way that Josh was able to control his necromancy. It felt like the author didn't want to go too in depth with the mechanics of his powers (which I really was interested in knowing) and found a cheap cop-out.
It's difficult to explain more of this sequel without spoiling the events. I was just disappointed with Stakes & Spurs, because it made the book more
(more characters, more problems), but not necessarily better. I felt like the spotlight definitely was NOT on our love interests despite self proclamations of love for one another, since too many other things were happening to delay their reunion.