Being in high school can be hard enough, but for Brandon Blackstun being an out, gay teen in Texas was torture. His classmates regularly slammed him into lockers and it was his best friend, Jessenia, that made life bearable. It’s been ten years and Brandon has tried to move on from those days and currently works as a cover artist, as well as a part time librarian. However, it’s time for his high school reunion and he’s determined to go and put the past behind him.
Before Brandon gets to the reunion, he collides with Tyler Synder in the bar and Brandon immediately notices that Tyler is one hot cowboy. Tyler comes from a wealthy family, but the family oil business wasn’t for him as his passion is horses. He started his own successful horse breeding business and life looks good with the exception of there not being anyone to share it with.
Once at the reunion, Brandon meets up with one of his former tormentors, Javier, and the guys call a truce and begin a tentative friendship. It isn’t long before Brandon learns that Javier is Tyler’s ex, and while the sparks are flying between him and Tyler, it’s all too much drama for Brandon.
With the assistance of Jessenia, Brandon is encouraged to take a chance on Tyler. The men come from different worlds, but the heat between them bridges the divide. But when Brandon is still afraid to fully commit, will Tyler wait?
Sometimes a book just doesn’t agree with you for reasons that can be pinned down, as well as for reasons that are more difficult to determine. The beginning of the book was immediately up and down for me. The initial meeting between Brandon and Tyler was fine, although the attraction they said they had didn’t translate as well off of the page. Once the reunion scene happened, things went downhill again as Brandon confronts former classmate, Javier, in a contrived fashion that came off as forced with stiff dialogue. The men quickly let the past go and it wasn’t overly believable for me. The first quarter of the book then fills us in that Tyler and Javier had a past and we learn all of the details on that and Javier was not an interesting or empathetic character. There is also a hefty dose of drama before Brandon and Tyler even have a full on conversation. We then spend time with Brandon at his job, Tyler at his job, and time with both of their families separately, as well as with the men together. The issue here was that the way it was presented, none of this was interesting to me and the many many details of their every day life and work habits got to be too much.
The men live two hours away from each other and after Brandon stopped running from Tyler, it took almost half of the book for them to spend any real time together. Then their interactions, including their intimate time, read as mechanical and routine. The author also adds in characters discussing different social issues, such as coming out, bullying, and military service, but many of these issues involved off page characters and they seemed randomly added in. There was also a discussion in the beginning about the lack of marriage equality, which for a new release that took place present day was inaccurate, but then later in the book there was marriage equality, which then just stuck out.
The entire book read as bland and flat for me and every time I picked it back up, I wanted to put it back down. There were many side characters that kept popping up with little flow to it. Then the men are discussing that they have been together for two years and I had to go back and try to find that much passage of time, but it wasn’t evident to me and if it was there, I shouldn’t have had to look that hard to find it. When the guys get into a fight, their reactions were intense, but their characters hadn’t been developed enough to support their actions and there was a lot that was simply lacking for me.
The book ends on a cliffhanger for a secondary character, and while I actually am fine with cliffhangers, this one made me wonder whose book this was supposed to be. That character is not one I am interested in reading about and I won’t be tuning into for that one as this author’s style and execution were not for me.