It took Hawthorne some time to figure out that he was gay. Living in a small town in Texas, being gay wasn’t an option. But now, at 36, Hawthorne knows what he wants, but his dating options are limited living on a ranch. Hawthorne’s brother, Easton, is getting married to a man, however, and Hawthorne and his nephew, Will, are organizing the town’s first pride parade in honor of the grooms. Some extra funds would certainly help and Hawthorne enters a contest through his favorite porn site for a monetary prize, as well as a chance to meet his favorite porn star, Silver. Hawthorne never expects to win, but soon Silver is heading to town for a week to help with the pride parade.
If people recognize Mateo, it’s because they recognize his on screen persona, Silver. Mateo has fun being recognized as his career as an adult entertainer has given him financial freedom and money for college. With his degree almost finished, Mateo is looking forward to the future, but a relationship isn’t at all what he has in mind.
From the moment Mateo meets Hawthorne, he’s charmed by the man’s southern drawl and everything else about him. Mateo also likes the way a tough cowboy like Hawthorne likes to take direction in the bedroom. But Mateo hasn’t processed trauma from his childhood and he has no idea how to accept that someone like Hawthorne could actually want to keep him forever. But Hawthorne isn’t going to let Mateo run and the men will have to be let themselves be vulnerable with each other to get the life, and love, they have both always craved.
This second book in the Plum Valley Cowboys series takes us back to small town Texas and Hawthorne’s family ranch. Virgin Hearts plays loosely with the title as while neither Hawthorne or Mateo are virgins, Hawthorne has never been with a man and Mateo has never been in love. Easton and Wyatt, from the first book in the series, Fool Hearts, appear here, but while there is some continuing story, this book could be read on its own.
Hawthorne is a good guy and a hard worker. He likes his life in Texas and his days on the ranch. He came out late in life and he’s good with where he is, he only wishes he had someone to share it with. Hawthorne is completely tongue-tied when he first talks to Mateo on the phone and then when he meets him in person and Mateo falls hard for Hawthorne’s hometown charms and his accent.
The story here is an easy read, although there are larger issues in the background. There is homophobia in the town that gets touched on, but is not gone into in depth. Mateo has issues in his past that aren’t allowing him to give himself fully to Hawthorne. These issues are mostly dealt with off page, so it did lack a solid emotional impact.
The story easily moves through the men exploring the physical side of a relationship and then navigating how to move to a solid relationship where they can be together full time. The flow of this book did work for me better than the first book and if you like small town settings with two opposite guys who might not be so opposite underneath it all, this could be one to look at.