Rating: 4 stars
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Six years ago, Les Hardin suffered an injury in a jumping competition that left him in a coma. When he woke up, he had to learn how to walk, talk, and eat again. He lost the only life he knew as a show jumper, his partner left him, and a year later his father died. Fighting his way back to the land of the living and learning to stand on his own two feet was a tough road, but Les is a better man for it.
Randy Hersch has spent his entire life in the closet – working as a professional bronc rider is not conducive to being gay, nor was his home life. After a riding accident put him in the hospital for two weeks, Randy decided to take a trip home. When he arrived, he expected the warm greeting from his sister. He even expected the hateful reaction from his bigoted father. But he didn’t expect to meet Les Hardin, the man with a heart of gold, the man who would turn Randy’s life upside down.
The attraction between Les and Randy is immediate, but Randy is hesitant to act on it. After a violent encounter with his father, Randy stops to say goodbye to Les on his way out of town. Seeing Randy so obviously hurt and broken, Les offers Randy a place to stay as he is still healing from his rodeo accident. The offer becomes less of a place to recuperate and more of an offer of a budding relationship. Experiencing open acceptance from the people on Les’ ranch gives Randy a taste of what it would be like to live his life out of the closet.
When their month is up and he heads back to the world of rodeo, Randy has to find a way to balance his relationship with Les with his career as a rodeo cowboy, while deciding whether to step back in the closet or finally come out once and for all.
No Going Home is a re-release from T.A. Chase, and is the first book in the Home series. I’ve read the first edition of this book, and not much has been changed, save a little clean up, and the book is still as sweet as it ever was.
This story is one of a young cowboy finding himself with the help of an older more experienced man. It’s a coming out story. It’s a story of the family we are born with and the family that we choose. It’s a heartwarming story of acceptance, growth, and love.
Both of the main characters are charming, if a little damaged. Randy struggles with accepting what it means to be a gay man while continuing a career in a bigoted field. Les struggles with learning to trust and love again after being so hurt. They have their own problems to work through, but each character supports the other on their journey.
The relationship happens a little too quickly for my liking. And it’s not so much the relationship, but the immediate strong, overwhelming emotions between Randy and Les. But in the end, the relationship works. I just would have liked a little more build up before the commitment.
There is a lot of story packed into this book. Randy coming to terms with being gay, Les and Randy’s budding relationship, Randy’s life as a gay cowboy, Les’ closure with his past, Randy’s family issues – it all comes together and leads to a nice outcome. My biggest problem with the storyline was the overabundance of gratuitous sex scenes. Not that they weren’t hot, some were extremely steamy, but not all of them added something to the story.
In No Going Home, Chase presents the world of the cowboy wonderfully. Be it on a ranch or at the rodeo, Chase shows knowledge beyond cowboys, and gives insight to the workings of a ranch and rodeo, animal behaviors, even show jumping and dressage. She relays the feelings of excitement and fear when Randy rides. It’s all very believable and entertaining.
In the end, this story has a couple flaws, but not enough to disappoint too badly. As I said before, No Going Home is a sweet story. I enjoyed this read through, maybe even more than I did previously. I recommend this story to lovers of cowboys, coming out stories, and inevitable love.