- File Size: 847 KB
- Print Length: 281 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Hallie Deighton; 1.1 edition (July 19, 2016)
- Publication Date: July 19, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01I25PBJY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,550 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The protagonist of the story is both comfortable in his skin and not--a man who has kept his personal life separate from life on the farm. He's confident and smart and sexy, but also incredibly reticent about sharing his feelings. When a stranger arrives to stay on the farm for a month, merely discovering if they are mutually interested in each other is an exercise in pining, fraught glances, and covert flirting. Will they or won't they discover their mutual attraction? Can a city boy and a man from the country find a way to make it work? You may suspect you know the answer, but finding out will be a delightful read.
Minor issues: There are few typos found here, so that's not the problem. I don't like Rob's sister, she's pushy. Luke's friends are all complete jerks. Rob kept talking about how he wasn't ashamed of who he was, yet he was 100% in the closet to everyone in his family, all his friends, his whole town.
Rob is a quiet, thoughtful man who has never let anyone, either in the community or even in his family, know about his sexual orientation. Small town minds are just that – small – and Rob has no desire to be hounded and bullied for being gay like a friend of his was in high school. A few times a year, he makes it to the clubs in Brisbane, and that's the extent of his intimate encounters.
Luke comes into his life via his sister's friend, and (of course) needs a place to stay for the month he's conducting his research. Rob is strapped for cash (farming is not very lucrative), so Luke stay with him for much-needed rent. There's more or less instant attraction between the two: Luke is tall and slim, relaxed and hip and funny. Rob is quiet, but Luke instantly recognizes him as a good man, and his sexy, bearded cowboy looks are well-appreciated.
Speaking of farming, the author has evidently done loads of research on the subject, and it's an interesting insight into how a farmer can manage to eke out a living, up to and including branching out into dairy and cutting edge techniques for that, which were fascinating to read (but don't bog you down!) Also, this is an Aussie story written by an Aussie, so as an American, it was entertaining figuring out some of the vocabulary and idioms.
But Rob can never be sure whether Luke is actually flirting, or just being friendly. And even if the man IS making advances, Rob would risk too much for just a one-month fling: his standing in the community, the respect of his friends and family, and possibly even lose the help that anyone in a rural area depends on from their neighbors. There are several examples of other local homosexuals throughout the story, and Rob always notes their degradation, the rough path they have to follow, how they are often dissed by local businesses as well as individuals, how everyone is 'busy' when they need help. The bullying is plain to see, and he wants none of that, has no desire to rock the boat. The result of this, of course, is a very lonely man.
The pacing of the story is quiet, like Rob himself, and the life he's chosen. There's a lot of self-discovery and, when they finally get around to it, delicious and touching (and explicit) sex. Loads and loads of it, yum. (And they easily and naturally switch off topping, which is nice: there's no clear power imbalance.)
My favorite bit is
“With a jolt, Rob realises that he's never made out on this couch. Never made out on the couch in his own bloody living room. F***, he's never had sex here before either.”
which just really summarizes Rob's life, his recognition of where he is, and his journey to change it. I just want to grab this beautiful man and give him all the hugs, and so does Luke (ahem, and so much more, lol). It's a pleasure to watch him slowly blossom.
How on earth did I just read a romance about gay Aussie cowboys? (Heh, heh. That makes me laugh because it's just so fun to say.) It was a well-spent few hours and a very impressive debut: the author's work is thoughtful, evocative and structurally flawless.
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