Title: Cowboys Don’t Come Out
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 7th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
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.
I was excited for this but, to be honest, just didn’t feel like the story on the whole worked for me.
I knew from the blurb that the relationship would move quickly, and I understood it would be insta-love, which requires really good writing or the ability of the reader to suspend disbelief…but it moved at such a breakneck pace that I felt like the chemistry between the characters never really developed. Even the sex scenes, to me, didn’t really convey more than getting off.
I suppose part of the problem for me with the story was that both characters are deeply closeted and I never really got a good sense why. For me to sympathize with a closeted character I need to know why they feel they can’t come out. Is it because they fear disownment, harassment, retribution, abuse? I never got a clear understanding why either Rand or Kai were closeted and hiding by dating women. That just never came clear for me. Then, it was exasperated by when they do finally come out and there’s no backlash or problem whatsoever.
The story moved quickly and there was quite a bit of melodrama in the second half to spice things up and keep things moving. Most of the characters were overall likable, even Kai who was a bit Sybil-prickly throughout the story, but came around by the end.
Overall the story was enjoyable, but my suspension of disbelief didn’t really stick.