Buttermilk Ranch by Patricia Logan is a delightful novel based on an insta-love trope that has a few gorgeous cowboys, a rather flamboyant music critic, and a very interesting take on a first love/virgin lover plot line. In other words, author Patricia Logan does what she does best, take a tired trope and liven it up with a fun premise and interesting characters.
Wendell “Dell” Blackowl has been working a competitive horse circuit for many years. His competitions exist to showcase how a horse can be handled in precision tests. Dell was at the top of his game when his beloved horse, Buttermilk, simply gave out and Dell lost perhaps the best friend he ever had. After retiring, Dell turns to his second love—cooking, in particular creating both vegan and vegetarian dishes in his brand new restaurant, Buttermilk Ranch Café. Dell has sunk just about everything he has financially into the café and it is beginning to turn a small profit. Now at it’s one-year anniversary, Dell stands on the precipice of financial solvency. However, some things have not changed since leaving the circuit, most notably Dell’s desire to stay in the closet and remain a virgin.
All may have gone according to plan had one of Dell’s friends not brought along his younger half-brother, music critic Pace Avila. Pace is the polar opposite of Dell, being fully out and proud. Pace is also very taken with the polite and quiet cowboy who also happens to be a very fine chef. Slowly, Dell finds himself emerging from his self imposed closet and falling for the very man who could become the first lover Dell has ever had in his life.
When you read the story, Buttermilk Ranch, you may want to check your “reality” hat at the door. Logan writes an in your face novel that is bold, sexy, and full of moments that will definitely stretch your imagination. If you are looking for characters that are fully grounded in reality, this is not the novel for you. However the emotions these men exhibit, the decisions they make, and the journey they undertake together are well written. This is a fun romp of a story and somehow, despite the instant attraction and rampant desire for sex, it all gels—and makes for a delightful story. There is no big conflict here or real angst; in fact, the ease with which Dell finally leaves behind the lie he has been living for so many years is almost unbelievable and yet…it’s all in keeping with the easy going story this author has written.
Yes, there were times when the dialogue and story were way over the top. I felt that the number of times both Dell and Pace found “perfection” in one another was overused and got tired after a while. I also felt a bit confused about why Dell would have hidden his sexuality when his Native American heritage recognized the “two-spirited” people. In other words, gays were treated with respect in his culture so I found it hard to understand why he would have hidden himself from his own mother. Finally, there was an incredible dump of introductions near the end of the novel—several characters along with the introduction of a BDSM club were thrown into the story line at what seemed like the last minute. To be frank, it made for some real scrambling on the part of the reader to keep up with all the names and relationships.
Despite these small glitches, Buttermilk Ranch by Patricia Logan was a light-hearted romp complete with sexy cowboys and a whole wealth of potential characters to explore in future novels. If you are in the mood for an insta-love story with hot men and sweet romance, this is the book for you.