I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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I read this book twice, because once wasn't enough. High on the kinky parts, taking me out of my comfort zone, it still is a grand romance, and that's what I loved.
Roe Davis is a ranch hand who never stays long in the same place. Running since he got out of prison, after being outed by his snooping mother and basically kicked out of the family for being gay, he's built up the walls mile high, and there ain't nobody getting in.
When he takes a job at Nowhere Ranch in Nebraska, he plans much the same as he has been doing - stay for a while, and then move on.
Nowhere Ranch is owned by Travis Loving, older than Roe, who's been married and divorced. Roe's gaydar is broken, so it comes as a huge surprise when he stumbles across Travis in a gay bar, three hours away.
Incidentally, their kinky streaks line up really well, so they spend a night in Travis' hotel room, after figuring out they're both after the same thing.
Roe likes to be used, you see, likes it rough, and Travis likes to dish out that particular kind of sex. Offering to have at it again at home, saving themselves the drive, it still takes Roe quite some time before need outweighs the rule that doing the boss is bad. He wants to run, but can't, not only because he promised Travis that he wouldn't but also - and this is the bigger part - because Travis gives Roe that what he never had before.
Initially, sex is all they share. But there are cracks in Roe's wall, and love always finds a way.
This story is told entirely from Roe's limited 1st person POV, so we don't get a whole lot of insight into what drives Travis, but there's sufficient information in the dialogue and in Roe's somewhat unreliable narration to get a fairly clear picture.
They are exceptionally well suited to each other, each providing exactly what the other needs and seeks, and they don't stand a chance against love. It creeps in quietly, softly, without giving notice, until Roe finds it bursting out of him.
While Travis may struggle at first to figure out how to pursue Roe without making him run, he figures it out eventually, and what it comes down to again and again is simply accepting Roe for who he is, letting Roe lean on him, and making the voices in his head stop.
There are some rough times while they find their footing, but the overall lesson here is love.
Super kinky, yes, but super intense and emotional too. Hot, sweaty, and dirty, but this book is what Heidi does best - she gives you the holy hot boysex, Batman, and before you know what's happening, she's drawn you in, made you love the characters, and then she gives them exactly what they need. Just when your eyes are bugging out because, HOLY CRAP, they're doing what? - she reels you back in with a scene that is as filthy as it is emotional. It's masterful, I tell you!
Loved the supporting cast at the ranch, especially Haley, but didn't care so much for Roe's family, even if they do come around at the end. Hated Kayla and Pastor Tim, and cheered when they got the tongue-lashing they deserved.
The book raises some heavy themes too - homophobia, religious nutcases, hate and bigotry. I may have sniffled a few times, especially when the voices in Roe's head get too loud, when he's convinced he's nothing but crap, when he thinks he doesn't deserve love.
The narration is realistic, fitting the rough, gruff Roe, and the character took shape before my eyes. It flows well, with believable dialogue and organic growth, and while this may have been kinkier than most of the books I read, the romance between these two hardened men is what made this such a joy to read.
** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **