Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars
Narrator: Iggy Toma
Length: 6 hours, 3 minutes
Resigned to wandering from ranch to ranch for work since his family kicked him out for being gay, Roe Davis fears getting close to anyone again. Five years of this leads Roe to Nowhere Ranch in Nebraska. Roe enjoys the job, likes the ranch manager, but fears the worst when he meets the ranch owner, Travis Loving, in a gay bar one night. Roe has driven three hours from the ranch for some anonymous sex, and, much to both of their shock, so has Travis.
The awkward silence between the men cannot last and as they talk, each of them drops hints as to what they are looking for in a fuck. Roe is reticent because Travis is the boss and he can’t mess with that, but soon Roe caves and the rest of the weekend is spent in their hotel room having sex that satisfies Roe’s need to be dominated and to feel a little dirty. In the light of day, Roe comes to his senses, and upon returning to the ranch, he distances himself from Travis.
Eventually, the desire between the men becomes too hard to deny and they come to an agreement: sex and nothing more. As Travis and Roe explore their sexual needs with each other, they begin to feel more than just a carnal need. Deeper emotions begin to develop, but Roe is still scarred by his family’s rejection. Part of Roe wants the happily ever after with Travis, in a home that he has grown to love and feel safe in, but deep down inside is the fear of rejection that sparks his flight response. Travis knows what he wants, and that is Roe. Now Roe has to conquer the demons of his past, or risk losing his first chance at love and happiness since that fateful day five years ago when he was rejected for being gay.
Nowhere Ranch was first published in 2011, and I bought the paperback in 2013. It was my first unintentional foray into pony play and all I could say is wow, that is hot. Not my thing but still…holy hotness!
Now Jay has reviewed Nowhere Ranch as well, and so you can check out her review for a different point of view. I must begin my review with Roe. Roe’s rejection by his family, which was heartbreaking and not at all surprising, was addressed in what felt like a unique manner and this element of Roe’s past made his present behavior more understandable. Travis’s past, although slightly less traumatic, was still a driving force behind his actions, both on the ranch, and in his interactions with Roe. Burned by having his previous partner run, Travis must deal with Roe, an expert in the act of running from pain and rejection. Roe does not fully connect his running away from perceived pain with causing pain to others. This story is about two men who fear different sides of the coin.
The secondary characters were integral to the plot and were so seamlessly integrated into the story that they did nothing but solidify life on the ranch. A character like Haley proved to be integral to Roe’s growth in so many ways, making their friendship one of the highlights of the story (that Haley is a real tigress!), while her father Tory, the ranch manager was present, but did not contribute more than a feeling of continuity to the story.
I alluded to some of this above but wanted to take a moment to talk about the conflict in Nowhere Ranch. Although some of the goings on were obvious, I felt that there was a subtlety to some of the situations causing Roe and Travis grief, which added to the complexity of the story. I am certainly not implying that the story was complicated, but rather intricate in its design. I did feel that the shift from kinky to sweet was a bit too fast, and, at the end, Roe does discuss this with us the reader.
There were so many things that I liked about Nowhere Ranch when I originally read it and to be honest, I was apprehensive about hearing the sex scenes versus reading them when listening to this in audiobook format. I was worried that they would sound silly, like I have experienced with BDSM or kinky sex in other audiobooks, but I needn’t have worried. I did find that the characterizations were not as consistent as I would have liked, with Roe and Travis occasionally sounding the same, but overall, Toma had perfect pace, excellent diction, and intonation. The awesome that is Toma, not only did the book justice, but I felt that the story was actually enhanced by his performance.