Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Cowboys Don't Come Out by Tara Lain

Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii, with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.

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Book 1
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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This story really shouldn’t work. The plot is a rambling unruly beast. The central romance manages to make insta-love complicated and angsty, and both Rand and Kai read as much older than their years. But somehow, none of this mattered. I fell for Rand first, Kai quickly after, and I loved their story.

Both Rand and Kai are wrapped in secrets. Rand stays closeted because – well, we’re never quite sure why – but he feels that cowboys aren’t gay. Living in the closet is the most insignificant of all Kai’s secrets and he has very good reasons for his secrets and lies.

I thoroughly enjoyed the stark contrast between the two men’s lives. Rand is privileged, loved, and independent. Kai lives hand-to-mouth, working a patchwork of part-time jobs to feed his family. I love the connection forged between two such outwardly different men. Dancing and horse riding allow Kai and Rand to really see and appreciate each other. I did have a few issues with the central romance. It starts with insta-love and then teases readers with Kai’s second guessing and crippling self-doubt. It also takes Rand just a little too long to start thinking about solutions instead of walking away.

There is an enormous cast of supporting characters in this story and I enjoyed them all (even when I was struggling to remember names and connections). Kai’s siblings are special and I loved the bond between the three. Similarly, Rand’s relationship with his parents is one that develops and grows through the story as Rand grows into his adult self.

This is a sweet romance, but there are darker moments where the effects of abuse, neglect, and bullying are explored carefully and sensitively. I really enjoyed this story.

TARA LAIN writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, and Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog (who’s a little jealous of all those cat pictures Tara posts on FB) in Laguna Niguel, California, near the seaside towns where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says that on her tombstone, it will say “Yes!”

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Cowboys Don't Come Out (Cowboys Don't #1) by Tara Lain to read and review.

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