Author: Rowan McAllister
Genre: Contemporary, Western
Length: Novel (226pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (4th October 2013
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Blurb: Tanner Wallis is nearly at the end of his rope the night Mason Seidel finds him lying next to the mangled body of a cow on the back pastures of the Seidel family’s Wyoming ranch. Recently out of the hospital after he and his boyfriend were brutally beaten, Tanner is jobless, homeless, and almost penniless. His desperate hope is that Mason will believe he’s innocent of the senseless crime and give him a place to heal, both physically and emotionally, until he can get on his feet again.
But Mason already has enough on his plate. He’s only been back on the ranch a few months. Ten years after his father kicked him out for being gay, and only because his sister begged him to come help after the man’s disabling stroke. With all his responsibilities—running the struggling ranch and keeping his sister and father off his back—Mason can’t really afford the distraction Tanner represents. But he can’t just abandon the attractive young man either. There’s trouble in spades on the ranch, but if they face it together, Mason and Tanner might find a future with a little sunshine.
Review: Tanner is twenty-two and the last few weeks have really worn him down. His luck is abysmal. One thing after another going wrong, until he is walking on what he thinks is a dusty road. Jobless, homeless, penniless, and still injured, with no hope in sight. Stumbling across the senseless attack on a cow might be his only glimpse of hope. If he can convince Mason, he is innocent, and to give him a chance to get back on his feet. Mason is thirty-one and has only been back on the ranch for a few months. Dealing with his father’s disapproval and his sister’s nagging has him making up an excuse to get away for a night of peace and quiet. But, he is interrupted when one of the cows is slaughtered. Mason can’t help but help Tanner. But, he has enough on his plate and his attraction to Tanner helps to ease some of the tension. There is more trouble heading their way and they can only hope that together they can weather what is to come.
This is a well-written story that touches on anxiety, homophobia, and a father’s disapproval. Tanner is a young man who is really struggling to keep putting one foot in front of the other. When he meets Mason, he begins to hope that things will get better. and indeed it does as they first become friends and then lovers with a burgeoning hope for the future. It isn’t easy for Tanner though, as he struggles with his anxiety and doubts as he fits into ranch life and becomes accustom to being Mason’s lover. Mason is struggling with his life as well, but for different reasons. His father seems to hate him and nothing he does seems to please his sister. The pressure of keeping the ranch going and looking after his father is getting to him and Tanner is his only source of solace.
Tanner and Mason are great characters, who seamlessly fall into a relationship that must remain hidden. but, is in no way detrimental to either of them. You fully understand why it must be kept a secret. Although, you do wish that others could be different in their attitudes. Both Mason and Tanner have their own hard stories, and both of them pull at your emotions. Tanner’s because he has had really awful time of it. and Mason because of the way his family treat him. Their relationship is sweet, comforting, hot, and easy. There’s no real angst between them, other than what Tanner makes up in his mind. and they are a great comfort to each other when needed.
The secondary characters in this story are well written and are very varied. We have Diana, Mason’s sister, who comes across as overwrought, high-strung, and blind to her father’s nastiness. And then we have Robert, Mason’s father, who after a stroke is mean and nasty. There’s also Lucy and Ed, who are like a second set of parents to Mason and are a wonderful couple. There are other characters, but none that really impact the story as much as the previously mentioned characters.
I recommend this to those who love a struggling rancher’s life, fraught emotions, a slow developing relationship, sweet loving and sweaty sex, a great storyline with its surprising twists and a sweet happy ending.