Title: My Heartache Cowboy (The Cowboys #2)
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Penquin Books (Intermix)
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Western
Page Count: 288 pages
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Can love conquer all?
Jimmy Rafferty and Eddie Molina go way back at the J-Bar ranch. They’ve worked together, bunked together, camped out, and drank together. So how has Jimmy failed to notice that Eddie is gay? Eddie has not failed to notice that his friend has a serious drinking problem, and he’s determined to help Jimmy kick the booze cold turkey.
Taking him up to a snowbound cabin to detox, Eddie is confronted with Jimmy’s fierce denial. But the pains of withdrawal are nothing for Jimmy compared with the heartache of denying his true feelings and his deep longing…for the one man who cares for him more than anyone else on earth.
This. This is the book that dragged me, kicking and screaming, into the world of M/M/M romance. Honestly, I’m still not sure if threesomes are in my literary wheelhouse, but within the context of this story, it works beautifully.
Please note this book can be read as a stand-alone, but I strongly suggest reading “My Cowboy Heart” first to get the full emotional impact of Eddie and Jimmy’s story, which runs concurrently.
Jimmy and Eddie have been a couple for 15 years … the thing is, they don’t realize it. It takes the arrival of Crispin at the J-Bar, and his subsequent romance with ranch foreman Malloy for Eddie to come out of the closet, and for Jimmy to start drinking more in order to tamp down his feelings about all that.
And when things get too much with Jimmy’s drunken homophobic rants, Eddie kidnaps Jimmy, taking him to Don’s remote mountain cabin to detox him. Don is Eddie’s longtime friend-with-benefits – an unapologetic horn dog who has been through the fire with his own alcoholism and come out the other side. Z.A. Maxfield doesn’t try to romanticize Don – he and Eddie are friends with some pretty damn good benefits – they don’t have a relationship. There is love and respect there, but Don knows that Jimmy is the one that can truly make Eddie happy. But, well … that doesn’t stop him from playing with Jimmy and Eddie and an assortment of toys …
The threesome worked for me in this story because Don is the catalyst that forces Jimmy to finally coming to terms with his love for Eddie. Don is Jimmy’s mentor and guide in all things Eddie – sexually and emotionally.
Fifteen years of worship, fifteen years of longing and waiting. Fifteen years of wishing I could do this without fear, without shame, without excuses
The entire book is in Jimmy’s POV and by golly, he’s really an interesting character with some strange but endearing ideas. “Eddie was none too happy with me, but Eddie’s attitude was like the government’s yellow threat level. On the one hand, I see the words significant risk of terrorist attacks and I think to myself, Sweet mother of God, what is the world coming to? But then I realize … We’re never getting back to green again. We have to learn to live with yellow. Yellow is the green of the new century.”
Learning to live with yellow, with the new normal, is at the heart of this story. For Jimmy, it’s knowing that “getting sober is the one thing in the world I can’t do for you, Eddie. I’m living my life sober because everything I want, everything good in my life – being with you – depends on my sobriety. I’m doing it for me, from now on.” For Eddie, it’s learning to let go of the past, learning to let go of the worry of Jimmy backsliding.
Maxfield creates deeply flawed characters who may not be perfect, but they are perfect for each other. This is a “Recommended Read” all the way. Start with My Cowboy Heart and continue with the entire Cowboy series by Z.A. Maxfield.