Title: Long Tall Drink
Author: L. C. Chase
Genre: M/M Western, Contemporary
Publisher: Loose Id.
Heat Level: Explicit
Blurb: Fourth generation rancher, Ray Ford has lived a lie for nearly forty years. Having seen what can happen to an openly gay cowboy in small town America, and not willing to risk Ford Creek’s legendary reputation, he keeps that part of himself tightly locked down. Everything changes one Sunday morning when Ray, out of character, picks up a handsome hitchhiker looking for work. Hiring the enigmatic cowboy stretches the bounds of Ray’s control and forces him to question just how much he’s willing to risk for that one true love.
Travis Morgan learned a hard lesson early in his life – love was conditional. Even though he’s a world-class horse trainer in high-demand, he lives the life of a drifter, moving from ranch to ranch like the wind. He’ll play when the opportunity arises, but he won’t invest himself emotionally. But when he takes on the job training horses at Ford Creek Ranch, the stoic rancher with the sexy five o’clock shadow just might change all that – if Travis can take the risk and stick around long enough to find out.
Review: The title grabbed my attention, the blurb sealed the deal… cowboys. Yup, there’s always room in my reading lineup for cowboys. Yet all too often I’m disappointed and end up with an “Awe shucks, giddy up partner” story – but not today. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the brainless, boinking good time had in those stories, but there’s something to be said about a story about grownups for grownups.
L.C. Chase has crafted a tale you can sink your teeth into. The characters are not flat and one dimensional but well rounded and you’re given a decent understanding to what motivates their actions and responses.
Ray is deeply in the closet and trapped there by the fear of what will happen if found out. This fear is reinforced by having witnessed the atrocious acts of hate that befell a gay couple once discovered years ago and the knowledge that his late father was an eager participant with many others in town. So Ray has found a way to balance the demands of his life on the ranch and his needs as a gay man – but never the twain shall meet.
Trevor Morgan has a deeply painful past having been betrayed by his family once his father discovered him kissing a boy at 15, leaving him beaten and homeless. He’s managed to overcome these obstacles and garner the reputation as a renowned horse trainer and is elusive as the wind. Trevor never sets down roots and has learned to keep moving since rumors of his sexual preference continue to arise and taint his working relationships.
Can’t you just feel the angst? Two sexy alpha males fighting to stay in the closet, but the attraction is just too delicious to resist the pull. The author did a wonderful job of letting the tension build to a crescendo and didn’t rush to the cowboy lovin’. And while you’re rooting for them to get it together and make it work – you’re worried right along with the characters about what will happen when/if it all comes out. That’s just good writing.