City Slicker at the Horny Goat Ranch by Daisy HarrisRating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Keith Kelley has been hiding his true feelings about a lot of stuff: his sexuality, his frustration over giving up college, and his parents’ acrimonious divorce top the list. He lives in rural Idaho, in a place called Pookataw Valley that is being overtaken by developers creating vacation homes for rich people. Keith’s family trust owns millions of dollars of prime ranch land, yet his mother and he eke out a living farming meat goats on the Horny Goat Ranch—so-named to shame Keith’s philandering father.

Keith is rather pissed to learn his dad sold a prime piece of land neighboring the Horny Goat. And, he’s not best pleased to learn the cute, young, stranded motorist he towed out of a snowbank is the land’s new developer. Max is a lithe, well-turned-out, gay man, and Keith’s never brought his hook-ups even within the county line, so having all that sexy temptation within eyeshot of his back porch is really a stress.

Max Levin is not sure what to make of Keith. He’s young, but big and strong. Curious but standoffish. And, best of all, Keith is kind—genuinely kind. He helps people out because he can, not for any agenda. They have great chemistry, despite Keith being completely different from Max’s usual type. Unfortunately, Keith is closeted. Max doesn’t want to live in a closet, but he also doesn’t want to be a monk for the next several months. A casual relationship would be ideal, but it comes with risks—namely outing Keith in his conservative hometown.

This is a light read that still has lots of heart. Both characters are good guys who need a solid partner, but are afraid to commit for valid reasons. Keith’s parents are not likely to be amenable. His relationship with his dad is already strained due to his continued assistance at his mother’s farm. Keith is due land from the family trust, which he could forfeit if he father is opposed to his lifestyle, and his mom might just kick him out if she finds out. Max doesn’t have the same issues. His parents have long known his orientation and don’t care at all, but he’s constantly on the move, developing real estate for his company. How can he ask a guy to settle down with him, when he’ll have to move every five or six months? Especially when Keith is pretty-much tied to tiny Pookataw Valley.

The connection between Keith and Max is very sweet, and soon more than they can just ignore. I was taken by Max’s revelations of how arousing it was to have a partner who was so masculine. He’d been used to nubile, hairless partners and Keith’s muscles, body hair and manly scent is unexpectedly appealing. I also got a laughing cramp when Keith encountered Max’s at-home waxing kit. Oh, man!

Because they are nearly the same age, Keith’s mom is thrilled that he is “friends” with Max, well, until the big reveal. As much as I detest when parents are not immediately accepting, I was struck by how simply real those scenes felt. And how crushing they were for both Max and Keith. I appreciated the way this story unfolded over several months, allowing for reconciliation—on many fronts. Keith is probably the bravest character I’ve read in a while. He has serious financial stakes to lose by coming out, and he makes a choice that a lot of people might not.

The progression of this relationship from casual to serious was really rewarding. There are some nice sexytimes and really tender moments. It’s a fun, quick read that can be finished in an afternoon.

veronica sig

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