Wyatt Earp McMasters the Third, known as “Hoss” to all who love him, is a rodeo-ing cowboy running his own ranch in rural west Texas. He wakes one morning to find a bundle of baby girl on his doorstep. Calling out the authorities (his mama, the sheriff and Doc), Hoss is still missing his coffee when he gets embroiled in this drama. His mama isn’t willing to let social services take the little girl, and these small town folks decide it’s probably better if they can quietly find the mother—right quick—to reunite this family before filing abandonment charges.
Naturally, Hoss’ mama is a busy lady, and she’s adamant that Hoss should take care of the “little bit” until the mama is discovered. Hoss is an only child, and a gay man—he’d never expected to be a parent, and has no skills with human offspring; he has plenty of skill nurturing calves, foals and kids of the goat variety. Good thing Hoss’ best friend and tenant, Bradley, is willing to assist. He’s the youngest in a family of eight daughters and himself, so he’s got lots of experience diapering, feeding, and clothing nieces and nephews. And, Bradley soon makes it clear that he’s willing to assist Hoss with more than baby duty. They’d had a falling out in high school when Hoss came out to Bradley—which Bradley regrets. He’d been a confused teen, lusting for his best friend, and afraid to let anyone, including Hoss, know. Now, however, Bradley’s revealing more than his strawberry pie recipe—he wants Hoss, and there ain’t no stopping his confession, even if the tiny gal is a big wet blanket on their “fight club.” (LOL, these two are really dear hearts, and they cracked me up.)
I really enjoyed this one. It’s light, fun, and sweet. The language is steeped in authenticity triggering my Boomhauer warning light (folks who’ve watched KING OF THE HILL will understand). Without question I was transported to Texas, cowboy country and Smalltown USA, and I loved that feeling. I was nervous that I’d get kicked in the gut regarding Hoss losing his Little Bit—whom he and Bradley name Shayanne—but the resolution of Shay’s guardianship is interesting and unexpected. More focus was on the relationship between Bradley and Hoss, and how Bradley didn’t trust Hoss to be honest when it counted. While I was frustrated with Bradley, I could also see that he was all new to “fight club” with men, even if he’d loved Hoss in silence for near on a decade. That was entirely sweet, and these guys are very tender with each other. I really wished I’d been able to connect more in the their “big night” together, but it was a little short on detail, and the merest taste of sexytimes (aka “fight club”) here. I’d have loved just one more scene near the end to tie it all together, but that wasn’t meant to be.
That said, if you like authentic-sounding Texans/cowboys who have hi-jinx and hysteria regarding sudden baby drama, this is a fun and sweet book you’d really enjoy. It’s a quick read, too, and a guaranteed HEA. Honestly, I picked this book up without seeing the cover, but when I looked it up I thought: “Da-yum.” That cover woulda hooked me in a hot second. I’m glad I liked the book as much as I liked the cover!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.