Rough Patches and Happy Endings by Julia Talbot

91cFz2UNGwL._SL1500_Title: Rough Patches and Happy Endings Anthology
Author: Julia Talbot
Genre: Contemporary/Western
Length: Anthology (58 pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press (November 18th, 2014)
ISBN: 978-1-61040-837-0
Product Link:
Reviewer: Prime

Splitting the Difference ♥♥♥ Hearts
Singer and songwriter Dane is home in West Texas for his sister’s wedding. He’s not thrilled to be back in his childhood home, but when he meets up with his old buddy Kent, things begin to look up. Kent has changed a lot since they were kids, but Dane still thinks he’s hot, and the two find out they still have a lot in common. Will they have the time to become more than just friends?

Review: Nice short story about two childhood friends who could have been more sooner, if one hadn’t left town to become a star. Dane left his childhood hometown behind for Nashville to become a famous singer, leaving behind his friend Kent. Dane found his fame, and Kent found some trouble – I guess that’s what happens to the town “queer boy”.

Dane is back for his little sister’s wedding where he meets Dane again. While not an actual happily-ever-after type of ending, it’s enough to get an idea of what’s going on for these two hunky Texans.

Nothing But Trouble ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Bryce is an old west bank robber, on his way back to Texas for trial. When he meets up with young deputy Abel, he notices right off that the man is fascinated with him. Bryce issues a challenge that Abel can’t refuse, offering to teach the young man a thing or two about pleasure in exchange for going free. Will Abel turn out to be nothing but trouble?

Review: This story is good for what it is. It’s an illicit romp between a law man and a criminal in the Wild West. I can’t say there was anything about it that I didn’t like. I just think the length of the story meant that I knew it was going to be over pretty quickly. Also, law man and criminal, there’s rarely a happily ever after when it comes to that combo. Well, there might be a few Wild West solutions to the problem anyway, one which gives us a satisfying conclusion.

Acting Out ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Bull rider and adrenaline junkie Colby is mid-jump in his ATV when his old rooming buddy Sean drives back into his life, sending him flying off his vehicle. Sean wants Colby to come to Hawaii for a charity event. Colby agrees to attend, but only if he and Sean can share a room again, just like in the old days.

Can these two rough-riding cowboys recapture a piece of the past, or can they do even better this go-round?

Review: An enjoyable, sexy short story. My only problem is the short part of it all. Colby Dannis is a bull rider, although he’s partial to any daring stunt to get the adrenaline pumping. Sean Landry is Colby’s former friend and lover. As said in the blurb, Sean wants Colby to attend an event in Hawaii.

Colby and Sean’s past gives this story a boost of emotion and tension. The chemistry between the couple is great. The stark difference in character of the two men was a drawing point and what made them as a couple. But as I said, it was just too short for my liking although the ending will satisfy most.

Crash and Burn ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Danny’s career in Motocross is over, thanks to a bad pair of knees, and maybe too much hard living. When his sponsors and friends take off, all he has left is his pain in the butt assistant, Todd. He’s never seen Todd in the light he does now, but it may be too late. Todd thinks Danny has a new life, one he has no place in. Can they see how much they need each other before they crash and burn?

Review: It’s hard not to feel sorry for motocross rider, Danny, in this short story. He’s the classic description of lonely celebrity. When the goings tough, he has no one he can turn to, expect for his PA Todd. Danny is wallowing in self-pity and the only person he has to help is Todd.

At first, Todd just comes across as though he is part of the background, or part of the furniture, which is good because that is how Danny sees him. However, it is also clear from what he has to put up with, that Todd is very understanding, compassionate, loyal and caring. Sounds like the perfect man to me!

All I can say is that this is an excellent story. If adrenaline junkies are your thing, then this short story is for you.

Mind in the Middle ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts
Tyler Anderson is on track for winning it all in the bull riding championships this year, if he can just get over being dumped by another rider. Veteran rider Andy West wants to see Ty succeed, and he knows all about how fickle Tyler’s ex can be. When the two of them get together, Andy is determined to shore up Tyler’s confidence, and show the young champ that some men can be faithful. Will Tyler win it all in the end?

Review: Tyler Anderson is definitely having a rough patch in his career, despite the fact that he is so close to winning the bull riding championships. He’s had an injury and a bad draw, but he’s also having man problems. Enter Andy West, a real sweetie who really just starts looking out for Tyler as a friend.
A really quick read, I can’t say that there is a true HEA – that is left to the imagination. It’s a bit of a hot romp between two hot cowboys.

**It should be noted that this book is also available through Torquere in their Sips range of stories. **

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through *