Review: Tara Lain – Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns

34149312Author: Tara Lain
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mm Cowboy

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Cowboy Danny Boone—a name he made up one drunken night and has regretted ever since—harbors a big past and yearns for a small future. A short, bright career as a champion bull rider almost ended in his death when his homophobic father discovered Danny was gay. Now Danny longs for a plot of land he can build a ranch house on and enough money to make up for some of the education he missed.

Danny also hides a preference for beautiful femmes who like to top—a combo rarer than a unicorn. Then onto the guest ranch where Danny works drives San Francisco decorator Laurie Belmont, a young man so gorgeous he makes horses gasp, and so ballsy he almost kills Danny’s attacker.

Laurie’s trying to find his way out from under the thumb of a domineering mother, helpless father, and rich, privileged boyfriend.

But no matter the attraction, their lives are worlds apart, and cowboys don’t ride unicorns.

Review: Danny is a ranch hand at the guest ranch owned by his friends, Rand and Kai. He had been a champion bull rider in the past until his father took his money and had hi beaten nearly to death. He enjoys the work he does on the ranch and wants nothing more than to go to school and have a little land he can call his own. He occasionally rides the second string rodeos to win the money to put towards that dream, even as he has to be extraordinarily careful that no one recognizes him or knows his real name.
Danny is a down to earth man. He knows what he wants and how difficult it will be to get it. What he wants walks into the ranch as a guest and takes Danny’s breath away. Namely, Laurie. Laurie is there with his boyfriend, Grove, a rich lawyer who wants to show Laurie how very manly he is. Except despite Grove’s attitude, it becomes apparent Laurie is all man and holds his own. He is the unicorn that Danny has been looking for – the gorgeous, femme, dominant top who wants more than anything to be able to live his own life.
While Danny has a past he needs to put behind him, Laurie has a present that needs to be fixed. He’s staying in a relationship that doesn’t make him happy, in a job where he is stifled and turning over all his savings to his domineering mother, who treats Laurie as though his beauty is the only thing he has going on. This is where Danny fills the hole in Laurie’s heart – Danny treats Laurie as a valuable person, not just a beautiful one.
The problem for these two is mostly distance, both geographical and status. Laurie is a city boy, a talented designer, while Danny is a definite country boy on the ranch. How do they make it work? Particularly when there are so many things pulling at each one of them.
While there is a lot going on in this story, it didn’t feel crowded or rushed. The plot remained clearly focused on the dance between Laurie and Danny and how difficult circumstances can be no matter how much you want to be with someone.
For the seriousness of the issue of Danny’s father, I would have liked to see a bit more of what was going on. It is resolved, in a way, but it seemed a little too easy for what had been happening. Laurie, however, did not disappoint. I would recommend this story for cowboy lovers, those who enjoy dumping stereotypes and romantics.

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