Title: Red Dirt Heart
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: February 20, 2014
Page Count: 214
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Welcome to Sutton Station: One of the world’s largest working farms in the middle of Australia – where if the animals and heat don’t kill you first, your heart just might.
Charlie Sutton runs Sutton Station the only way he knows how; the way his father did before him. Determined to keep his head down and his heart in check, Charlie swears the red dirt that surrounds him – isolates him – runs through his veins.
American agronomy student Travis Craig arrives at Sutton Station to see how farmers make a living from one of the harshest environments on earth. But it’s not the barren, brutal and totally beautiful landscapes that capture him so completely, it’s the man with the red dirt heart.
Please note: This book is set in Australia, using Australian English and lingo.
Charlie Sutton is a mostly closeted gay man running Sutton Station, a huge ranch near Alice Springs. He has a tendency to spend a lot of time inside his head. The only trouble with that is apparently his bigoted father lives there, too. Charlie has pretty much resigned himself to living a very lonely life, since his father told him a ‘fairy can’t run this ranch’ sort of vitriol. He doesn’t think he will be accepted if he comes out.
And then, in walks Travis; a Texan that grew up on a ranch in Texas and is wanting to learn the differences in ranching in Australia from what he is used to in Texas. Travis is a little bit younger than Charlie and tends to say what is on his mind — the opposite of Charlie. While not closeted, Travis does understand the need for discretion and agrees to keep their relationship under his hat, so to speak, during the workday. Travis is only there for a month, anyway, so there is no sense in Charlie turning his life upside down for a temporary relationship.
Travis is exactly what Charlie needs and they are so good together. And, Travis understands – really understands – the ties to the land that Charlie has. And, Travis knows how to work a ranch. He’s familiar with livestock and horses and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. And if Charlie will just stop pushing him away, Travis would be a damn fine partner.
This is a sweet love story about coming to terms with who you are, overcoming the fear of it and making the decision to be happy. Even if that decision has to be dragged out of you.