When fireman Dale leaves his old job to escape an affair gone wrong, he meets a nobleman named Ben and sparks of irritation fly. But it isn’t long before Dale and Ben are igniting a fire of their own.
Dale’s a gay man who’s seeking a change of place after catching his ex cheating on him with a woman. At the new firehouse, Dale’s does nothing to hide the fact that he’s gay and it isn’t long before Dale is deemed a hero for saving the life of an elderly woman. At the same time Dale irritates the nobleman of the village. The conflict between Dale and Ben increases only marginally when Dale backs the fire truck into the village’s May Pole. But the two men quickly become involved after this.
There is little real conflict in Ben and Dale’s relationship despite Ben attempting to remain in the closet. There addition of Ben’s unscrupulous business partner who is furious when Ben doesn’t marry is daughter and an arsonist add subtle interest to the story. However, as interesting as those subplots are, I would like to have seen the focus put on one of these and the intensity of that one fully explored and developed. This was a sweet romance with Dale and Ben sneaking around, but everyone already knew Ben was gay, so there was no real fear of rejection or hurt to fear for Ben if his relationship with Dale was discovered. If there had been more urgency, the story would have been more appealing to me.
As it was, I found the story amusing and sweet. Both of the main characters are likable which makes the story easy to enjoy.
Morning Report – Luke and Simon have been together for over 10 years, running Luke’s family ranch The Lost Cow. Their idyllic life is tested when the town folks start turning their backs on them. And it’s the fault of the town’s new preacher. I loved that this story was about a couple who have been together for a long time. And watching what they went through and how they banded together. This story sets the base for all of the rest.
Complete Faith - Tommy has a secret he’s hidden from everyone. Not a problem until he meets Preacher Noah at the hospital. And Noah is unlike any man of the cloth Tommy has ever met. So begins the conflict in Tommy’s mind and heart. Watching Tommy figure out who he truly was and watching the relationship develop between him and Noah was beautiful to watch. There is lots of angst in this story.
Papa’s Boy - Zeke has lost everything, his teaching career and his kids. And he is in complete denial about his sexuality. There is Ray, Noah’s assistant, is a god fearing man and trying to stay that way. But he sees the pain Zeke is in and wants the man in his life. So he needs to help Zeke figure out who he truly is. He’s also trying to care for and the helping a bullied teen. This was the most emotional for me. I loved watching Ray bring Zeke out of his denial while staying true to himself. The hurt, the fear and anger that the bullied teen felt. Emotional story and so worth the read.
Luke’s Present - Short, sweet, funny, it’s an emotional roller coaster. This story takes another look at the relationship between Luke and Simon. With all that has happened to the guys, Simon can feel Luke pulling away. And after 12 years, Simon can’t allow that to happen. So he plans a special Christmas present for the love of his life. I loved this look at Luke and Simon and how their relationship has grown. That life is not perfect, but you work through the ups and downs and continue to grow.
Letters from a Cowboy - This is a story regarding love letters found by the guys. The letters are from the 1950’s when even being thought to be gay could get you killed; this story is darker in tone. Simon leaves the ranch and the job he loves, as well as Chip, the man he loves to protect them both. This was an incredible look at a relationship set in that time. It made me so sad, to see what they went through and made me wonder how much if any things have changed. You pull just as hard for these two to get their happy ever after as you do for the present day Luke and Simon.
I need to state at the start that I am a Sue Brown fan. Love all of her books, but most are set in the British Isles. So I was intrigued to read a set of stories set on a ranch in Texas. All of these stories are classic Sue, well written, with depth and emotions. This whole series deals with emotional issue that the LBGT constantly go through and deal with. You get a small feeling for what LBGT people go through, while trying to live their lives and find love. The characters are 3 dimensional, pulling you through the full range of emotions and they feel like friends. I do think you need to read these stories in order to catch the dynamics and relationships between all of the characters.