Author: Trina Lane
Publisher: Pride Publishing
The heart of Texas beats strong, fuelled by the love between two men whose lives are interwoven like the long grass of the hill country they call home.
Brandon Blackstun has spent the last decade moving on from the hellish halls of high school. With an invitation to his reunion in hand, he plans to show his former classmates that not only did the repeated occurrences of being slammed into lockers not cause brain damage, but he’s now a successful cover artist for the very books they buy off the shelves.
Tyler Synder was determined to not follow in his father’s footsteps as head of the International Corporation that bears the family name. Instead his heart is tied to the beat of his horses’ thundering hooves. He operates a breeding program for Tennessee Walkers and guest ranch a couple of hours from the urban luxury of Dallas where he was raised.
The two men might live very different lives, but the heat between them is hotter than any Texas sun. With the help—or meddling—of an unlikely pair of friends, the two explore a relationship that stirs something deep inside them. Distance and misunderstandings force Tyler and Brandon to consider whether the fulfilment they’ve experienced in each other’s arms is worth the sacrifice of the lives they’d built individually.
Texas may be the second biggest state in the union, but is it large enough to embrace the love between these two men or will their deeply hidden fears shatter the boundaries of their hearts?
This is a highly enjoyable romance, one in which the men take their time to explore their relationship, finding common ground, and allowing their sexual attraction to go from an immediate need for each other to a beautiful side-effect of their strong and solid partnership.
On the night of his ten-year high school reunion, Brandon Blackstun meets his former adversary and discovers that the once nasty bully has come out as gay and is now experiencing the same cold shoulder from the other guys that he had always given to Brandon. Well, maybe not the same, since Javier was physically abusive to Brandon and now the other members of the bully squad, aka football team, are simply blackballing Javier. But when he agrees to forgive Javier and goes out to a local gay bar with him, he meets Javier’s former boyfriend, and though he finds the man stunning, he’s scared away by the argument the two get into.
Tyler Snyder, that former boyfriend, is doubly pissed because he wanted to make Brandon’s acquaintance and now the sexy young man is nowhere to be found, and all because of Javier, the Dom wannabe who tried to get Tyler to be his submissive and walked away when it didn’t work out. But Tyler is not the kind of guy to give up, and he really wants to get to know Brandon better so when Javier acknowledges his part in scaring Brandon away, he agrees to help Tyler meet the man. Easier said than done, but eventually the two do get together and Tyler discovers that Brandon is even more than he expected. At the same time, Brandon discovers his passion for hot cowboys has not been misplaced.
Yes, the two make sparks fly together fairly quickly, but no, it’s not a forever more sort of thing immediately. Because of the distance between Brandon’s job as a librarian and freelance cover artist in Dallas, and Tyler’s work at his horse ranch several hours away, they develop a long-distance relationship, firming up their interest in each other by spending almost every night talking or Skyping. This is one of the areas I loved most in this story. Not only did the men get to know each other, but we readers got to know them as well. They were each endearing and, at the same time, flawed characters. Add to that, each had family issues—both positive and negative—and each had come from a different socio-economic background. Each also had a female friend and confidante and both women were strong in their own way and totally supportive of the men.
If I had to pick one thing I liked best about this story, it would be the slow buildup of the bond between the men. If I had to pick one thing I didn’t like, it would be the doubts and fears that kept Brandon from making a firm commitment, even after a year went by. But that’s just because I wanted them together so they’d have a quick HEA, and in reality, the way it played out was very much for the best. Oh, and one other thing—I loved the inclusion of information about the conference in San Diego in 2015, which happened to be the GR Lit Retreat I attended and where I met the author, Trina Lane. That was a definite high point for me—both in the book and in reality!
So, for lovers of MM romance, and especially for those who love a cowboy, this one is a great choice.