Nate and Tucker were the best of friends as kids. There was always a special bond between them and Nate fell in love with Tucker before he even knew what to call it. The boys lived different lives with Tucker having an unstable home life and never allowed Nate to ask any questions. Once they were in high school, the pair grew apart as Tucker became cruel and dangerous. When Nate left town for college, he also left Tucker behind, although his heart never let go.
Tucker is used to being seen as the villain around town. However, he’s worked hard to make a name for himself and he’s known as the man that can tame even the most challenging horse. Tucker was never shown any love and he knows everyone will always leave him anyway, which is why he drove Nate away. But now Nate is back in town and a traumatized horse has the men working together. Nate knows that Tucker is the only one he wants, but Nate thinks Tucker is straight and Tucker doesn’t know how to let himself have the one thing he’s always wanted…Nate.
Down and Out follows the Down Home series and if you like strong men riding horses and falling in love, this is the series to check out. Nate and Tucker are new to the series and their story does stand alone, although Cal and Eli from Down Low are present here and I enjoyed being familiar with the world.
Nate and Tucker were the closest of childhood friends and they seemed to just get what the other one needed. Tucker lived in a trailer with a neglectful mother, and he wouldn’t even tell Nate what he had to endure growing up. Nate knew he was in love with Tucker and Tucker knew Nate was gay, but Tucker couldn’t sort himself out around Nate. Tucker knew that Nate would leave town one day and the guys became enemies by the time they finished high school.
When Tucker and Nate see each other again for the first time, the chemistry is still there and it’s overwhelming to them both. Nate almost wants to pick back up where they left off during the good times, but they have a lot to work out. Nate is now a veterinarian who has returned home from the city and Tucker is the grumpy, tormented cowboy. But Tucker hasn’t told Nate everything, he’s barely told him anything, and there is a lot going on with Tucker.
The men bond again over a troubled horse and they soon find ways to see each other often. Tucker doesn’t dissect his sexuality much and while he has dated women, no one was a good fit and he’s always just wanted Nate. It’s easy to see how Tucker and Nate fit together and even though there is a lot of history between them, they manage to get to the heart of it and sort it no matter how reluctant Tucker is to discussing his issues.
I would have liked to know even more about Tucker. He’s so closed off and private that even when more is given about him, it still felt incomplete in ways. I also would have liked to know more about him managing his issues into the future and that’s about all I can divulge on that. When Nate returned home, he brought his assistant, Briar, with him who was a fun character as the book opened. He then went off page and was referred to as the “assistant” for the remainder of the book and the next book will not be about him and he felt unfinished. Also, the epilogue shows Tucker and Nate two years into the future, but then the next book will be focused on the aftermath of incidents from this book, which would then bring Tucker and Nate’s story back in time and that also felt off for me.
I liked the chemistry between Tucker and Nate all of the way through the book and them finding their way back to each other. There is a larger story line that is not complete in this book and some of the other details weren’t fully realized for me, but for cowboys, horses, drama, and a friends to enemies to lovers vibe, check out Down and Out.