Country superstar Avery Rivers is burned out. He’s tired, unable to write songs, and feeling pressured by record company executives and he wants out. Avery wants to return to life as Robert Cummings (his real name). Announcing his hiatus to his manager and those pesky executives, Avery changes his appearance, loads up his truck, and begins to just drive.
Hy Whitely is a champion rodeo rider. He too is burned out. His best friend dies after a horrible injury, and Hy begins to worry about his future and mortality. He wants to return to his family’s ranch and be Zeke Whitingly again. Sitting in a bar the night before what will be his final ride (at least for awhile), he meets a handsome man who introduces himself as Robert. Zeke and Robert find their way back to the hotel for a night of passion.
After they part ways, Robert/Avery heads out in search of a ranch. He wants to work as a ranch hand and live life simply while trying to get himself back on track. He finds a job at, you guessed it, the Whitingly family ranch. You can imagine the surprise when he learns his boss’ son is the handsome Zeke he encountered in that bar.
Slowly, the men begin to form a relationship, but they’re also keeping their other lives from each other. It can’t last, and they both become exposed. Will their love for each other survive once everything is revealed?
Let me begin by saying Andrew Grey is an autobuy for me. He writes beautiful stories with interesting and loving men at the center. I’m happy to say Don’t Let Go is another winner. Robert and Zeke (I will refer to them by these names rather than their stage names.) are interesting and sweet, and I loved both of them from the start.
Robert’s burnout seemed real. Life on the road must be difficult…always having to be “on,” dealing with people who all want a piece of you, giving your all to an audience every night after traveling for days. It has to test even the strongest of men. I can also imagine what it would be like for Zeke, only he’s being beaten up by wild bulls over and over again. While that isn’t necessarily worse, having to witness his best friend’s death, thanks to one of those bulls, must have been devastating.
I loved how the men were able to offer each other comfort, even if it was for one night. Their connection was palpable and it was hard watching them part. It was obvious how good they could be together if only they had the chance. Not only did they have a connection, they have chemistry. The heat between them was sexy and compelling. Steam poured from my Kindle, and I now know why they call it a “fire” 🙂
Another thing I liked were the detailed descriptions of ranch life and the ranch itself. It was easy to “see” it all in my head like a movie. In fact, this story would make an outstanding feature film. Robert and Zeke worked hard from dawn until dusk. Grey managed to explain their duties from mucking stalls, to taking care of horses, to mending fences around the property. It’s obvious he researched the subject matter.
The pacing of the book was spot on. I never got bored or got the urge to skim. There was always something going on. I was sucked into the story and read it from beginning to end in one sitting, and it was so worth my exhaustion the next day. Knowing that, eventually, their secrets would be exposed, a good amount of tension built in the story. The spell eventually had to be broken. The way it happened was interesting and somewhat of a surprise. It was perfectly written, and I felt the emotion both men were experiencing.
There are quite a few background characters in Don’t Let Go. I had a teeny bit of a difficult time keeping them straight. Robert had a manager (Glenn), an agent (Barry), and a whole team of record company people. Zeke had Carson (his BFF), Roger (his manager), his father, and a variety of rodeo riders and sponsors. However, because I was so immersed in the book, I have to confess I wasn’t really paying attention to their names at all. They do play important roles, and they were portrayed almost as the “bad guys.” With the exception of Glenn and Zeke’s father, all of them seemed to want a piece of the men and were only concerned about the money they bring in.
After everything comes to a head, I loved the way Robert and Zeke remained together and supportive of each other. There was actually no real conflict between them. That always pleases me because I’m not a real fan of angst. I was particularly happy with the way Zeke stood by Robert’s side. He was right there, protecting his man, and it left me feeling warm and happy.
Then end was satisfying, if not a bit predictable. However, in the case of Don’t Let Go, that was not a problem. Robert and Zeke got what they wanted, and I got what I wanted. They earned their happily ever after, so when they got it, I was thrilled.
I highly recommend this book. It’s sexy, sweet, and Robert and Zeke will capture your heart. I’d have loved to be able to spend more time with them, and I think you’ll feel the same.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.