Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Booker West has dreamed of being a cowboy for as long as he can remember. He has his own reasons for wanting to be a cowboy and it has nothing to do with buckle bunnies and, at first, it has nothing to do with the stock or the rodeo. At age eighteen, hanging around the rodeo hoping to catch a break, Booker is taken by surprise when the most beautiful man he’s ever seen offers him a job taking care of rodeo stock. Of course, he jumps right on the opportunity, willing to travel the country, away from his sister, finally on his own. Booker’s attraction to Jed is immediate, but in the world of cowboys, being openly gay isn’t a choice Booker can make. And it doesn’t matter anyway, because Jed is straight. So, Booker settles on being the best friend of the man he is in love with, vowing to never let Jed know his true feelings.
Jed Hastings fights the demons of his past every day of his life – not letting people get too close to him, always aware of the amount of alcohol he consumes. He counts himself lucky to have found Booker in the rodeo barns that day. After years of living in the same travel trailer and working side by side with the younger man, Jed can’t imagine his life without Booker. But it’s the protective, possessive feelings Jed has for Booker that keep him confused. Jed has opened up more to Booker than he has to anyone in his life. As a best friend, Booker is everything he could ask for. But when the business they work for changes ownership, Jed decides that it may be easier to find a new job away from Booker than to face what he fears every day. But first he has to decide how to leave without hurting Booker.
Four years together and Booker falls deeper in love with Jed every day while Jed fights his feelings for Booker daily. In fear of losing one another, Jed and Booker both choose to ignore their feelings, but when their suppressed emotions build up, hurting one another seems to be the easiest way to keep distance. When an accident threatens to take Booker away from Jed, both men must examine the reality of their relationship before they are torn apart forever. But are they strong enough to face a future together while fighting their fears?
Okay, so let me start off by saying I am a huge fan of Cameron Dane. She is a must read author for me. And if you’ve read any of my reviews in the past, you know that I love a cowboy in any form. So, saying all of that, this is probably my least favorite Dane book to date. Not to say that it’s not good, because it is, but I did have some issues with the story.
Let’s start with what I like about this book. I love that the basis of this story is unique to the m/m cowboy sub-genre. The job that Jed and Booker work at the rodeo is completely behind the scenes. I love that it’s something new, something I don’t always see. We get to see the world of the rodeo from a different perspective. The story is very character driven. So whereas the men are cowboys, their jobs don’t define them.
As always, I really like this author’s writing style. I was glued to the pages and drawn into the story immediately. It follows Jed and Booker from the beginning, through their trust issues to their strong bond that supports their friendship, through the feelings for one another that control their lives. The emotional roller coaster that is this story is one wild ride. The ups and downs are torturous, but rewarding in the end. It’s a good story.
So the things that caused me pause. I loved both characters. Booker is probably my favorite. He stays true to himself throughout the entire book. He has his priorities. He follows his heart. Booker’s unrequited love is probably my biggest issue with his character, only because it lasts forever. I just kept thinking, “Get over it and move on.” I like how their story ends, but it took forever to get there.
Jed is likable, especially in the beginning. He’s strong, gruff, and hard-headed. I’m sure we all know by now that gay for you is not an issue with me; sometime it’s pretty sexy. I don’t really mind it in Jed’s case. There is a turn his character takes that is almost annoying. His obsession with being, or not being, his mother and father is quite off-putting. I didn’t mind it at the beginning, but then he turns into this whining, sniveling mess over something that never really involved him. He becomes this insecure, unsure person that doesn’t even remotely resemble the man that I fell for at the beginning of the book. But then at the end of the story, he’s stronger, more likable. He just isn’t a very consistent character.
So, overall, I like this story, but I didn’t love it like I expected I would. I am disappointed with the characters, but I really liked the originality of the world. I continue to love this author and just because I didn’t love this story, I will continue to read whatever Dane puts out there. I look forward to what she has coming out next.