Gay Cowboys – Are they your secret kink?

One of the first gay cowboy romances that I read was Bareback by fellow Canadian Chris Owen in 2003 reviewed here and I was hooked. I love, love, love this book which became one of my Top Ten All Time M/M romances and I have read and re-read it countless times. When Jake and Tor fell in love I was in heaven, then Tor screwed up and some readers hated the book because they can’t stand cheats. But I and thousands of other readers couldn’t get enough of this couple and in the end it was well worth all the angst. 

My next favourite gay cowboy romance is The Tin Star by J.L. Langley reviewed here which was released in 2006. This was such a poignant romance between Jamie Killian and Ethan Whitehall that every time I re-read the book I want to hug them.

I’m so glad that Teddypig reminded me about a huge omission. Another great favourite is Longhorns by Victor J. Banis. This book is about a pair of old time cowboys, Les and Buck, and I reviewed it here. This phrase best describes Les –

“Les was a loner. Cowboys were , despite the camaraderie of the campfire. When you got down to it, a man sat alone in his saddle.“

If you’re looking for a wonderful book about life on the range Longhorns is the book for you. Here’s part of my review of this book

“This is not a modern M/M cowboy romance – far from it – it’s a story about life on the range where the men had to be as tough as nails to survive, and even then it could be touch and go. These were the days when men would do each other because women were not readily available, especially since they were away 3 months at a stretch.”

Of course the gay cowboy romance that most M/M readers know is Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. What can I say about this book that you don’t already know? As Victor J. Banis said in his review here 

Brokeback Mountain book and movie, have become such an iconic part of gay lore that it’s difficult to think of anything that hasn’t been said about them already and hard for me to imagine that there is anyone gay or gay-interested who hasn’t read the former or at least seen the latter. If you love stories of men loving men, this is The One.”

This slim novella written in 1999  as part of the Close Range anthology went on to become the best known and probably best selling cowboy gay romance in history. It doesn’t seem to matter that there is no  HEA (this is not a spoiler because this book has been around for over a decade), readers can’t get enough of this story. I just wish that the writer hadn’t gone the route of the “dead gay” in order to make the story marketable to straight women. Apparently many straight people in those days would only buy a book about gay men if they didn’t have an HEA, so Jack had to die. 🙁

Some recent cowboy romances that I’ve read and enjoyed include James Buchanan’s Twice The Cowboy, Twice the Ride and Jourdan Lane’s Stroke of Luck (Spurs and Saddles), T.A. Chase’s Home series.  If you like cowboys Carol Lynne has an entire series based on them called Cattle Valley.  

I have been a fan of cowboys since I first read Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage and Last of the Plainsmen – these latter books are not gay romances but I loved them because they depicted the lives of cowboys in such a way I could actually smell the air they breathed.

Cowboys are the toughest breed of men, riding unending dirt roads all day long rounding up cattle under the worst conditions – I’m sure that being outdoors in the intense summer heat and snow and cold in the winter must affect their delicate complexion. 🙂 They repair fences with nothing more than barbed wire, a few nails and spit 😀 looking hot in those tight Wranglers, just waiting for the great looking foreman on the ranch to grab them at the end of a hard day and lick the sweat off their Adam’s apple. Oooh I’m getting hot.

There are countless gay cowboy romances around and those I mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg. Cowboys are definitely my favourite heroes. What are some of your favourite gay cowboy books?

My next secret kink? Dragonshifters. 😀 In a couple of weeks!


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • :help: I am wondering if anyone has any good gay cowboy or any contemporary gay fiction/erotic novels.

    I’ve read just about almost everything that i could find and now i am scouring the internet trying to find some titles i have not read.

    Read all of
    yeah read bareback hate that story because i hate cheaters…also read the seqeuel because i am retarded.
    T.A. CHASE
    KEEPING PROMISE ROCK…. forgot author…

    should probably mention that i only read books in paperback and not in ebook format as i refuse to become a part of this ereader phenomenon. :grumble:

  • I’ll just say one more thing about Bareback. Both characters were at fault in the relationship, Tor more than Jake of course, but nothing in any relationship is ever one sided. Some readers couldn’t see flaws in Jake because he was not the one who cheated. Tor and Jake started out with random pick ups before they became a couple so it wasn’t as if they hadn’t *done* anyone else before in front of each other. The story is very complicated and the fact that Jake was Tor’s boss had a bit to do with Tor screwing around although that was a small part of it.

    I hope you enjoy the book but I won’t kid you it’s a wrenching, complex story IMO.

    And the other book? It really is funny. It’s not your usual cheating spouse.

    • Well, I promise to give Bareback a fair chance. You have good taste, so there must be something really special about it for you to love it so much; and I do like Chris Owen’s other books a lot.

      • I’m really looking forward to your reaction to this book. I don’t think it will be what you expect and I’m crossing my fingers that you will like it. 🙂 Good or bad, everyone has strong views about Bareback.

        P.S. Crying is therapeutic. 🙂

        • Sez you! You’re not the one who’s going to get escorted off the train for being a looney-woman…

  • I like cowboy M/Ms. And I liked Bareback muchly too. I used to hate cheating in M/Ms but have since learned to not just bear with it but to actually like it too (I get to hate the guilty protag for a time) but it has to be followed by a satisfactory amount (A LOT) of grovelling by and punishment on said guilty party tho. Sometimes I need the angst in fiction that I wouldn’t want in RL.

    Wave, have you read Cap Iversen’s Dakota Series? They’re historical westerns tho.

    • Hi Salina
      I’m glad you can differentiate between cheating in RL and in books. 🙂 Some of the detractors of Bareback were so angry at Tor that if he were a real person I swear they would have hunted him down. 🙂 Of course in this book there was a lot of grovelling, even to satisfy you.

      No I haven’t read the Dakota series. I’ll put it on the list to check out. Thanks for the rec.

      • Wave – just to clarify on Bareback…there’s a LOT of grovelling, right? I can live with the cheating if there’s remorse. I’m thinking of taking Bareback on a train journey next week but I don’t want to be trapped on a train with a book that will make me so cross that I’ll arrive at my meeting and rip someone’s head off, you know?

        • How long is the train journey? 🙂 Bareback is much more than cheating and there’s a lot of grovelling but you have to live through Jake’s grief and devastation before you get to the grovelling part. Tor did pay for what he did to Jake.

          Before you get to the cheating you will experience the first 20 pages of the book where they had sex in the mud – so hot!!~

          The cheating doesn’t take place until almost 3/4 of the way through the book so if you don’t read too fast maybe you won’t get there. Oh wait, I forgot – you’re a speed reader so scratch that. (BTW you have to email me and tell me how you speed read and retain most of what you read. I took a course in speed reading and it was totally useless.) But back to Bareback. I have another suggestion of a book that you might want to take with you if you haven’t read it – Sex, Lies and Celluloid by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne. It’s about cheating but hilarious, not serious like Bareback. If you have an ereader you can download it in a second and take it with you. 🙂

          Seriously, I don’t know how you will react to Bareback – it depends on whether someone cheated on you. That’s the barometer I use. If it never happened to you it won’t matter, but if it did you will take the story much more personally. I hope that helps.

          • It’s a three hour round trip, so I’ll probably be able to finish the book in that time, just because there are no distractions on a train journey.

            Yeah, without revealing too much painful history, I’m definitely going to take it personally. But it’s okay so long as there’s real remorse there and they can rebuild things stronger. What burns my toast (in fiction and real life) is where the cheat tries to make it the innocent party’s fault. Any of that and the e-reader will fly out of the train window (and those things are expensive). Anyway, I’ll give it a go – but I don’t know if I want to read the story where the cheating is ‘hilarious’ because I probably won’t find it hilarious. Personal issues there. Don’t ask.

            I’m not really sure how I speed-read and retain. I taught myself to do it as a teenager in order to pass my exams and I’ve not been able to switch it off since. Basically, I’m a freak. Which I believe returns me to my original post in this comment trail…

      • Oops! I forgot to add, The Dakota Series might be out of print. I read them a long time ago. But these books (used) can be found at Amazon Marketplace.

        Do you like Historical Western M/Ms? I think I must have bought Mel Smith’s Sweet Lips on your recommendation, but I could be mistaken. But I liked that book!

  • Bareback was the very first m/m book I read, and I was hooked instantly. It’s still one of my most favorite m/m books of all time. Like a lot of you, I also love J.L. Langley’s and T.A. Chase’s coyboy books as well. Some other cowboy books I love are: Julia Talbot’s Jackass Flatts (cowboy & miliary–double plus for me), Sparkle and Shine; Tory Temple’s Tabula Rasa; B.A. Tortuga’s Back Forty, Cabin Fever (old west meets BDSM), Latigo & Bits Of Leather, Just Like In The Movies (ex-rodeo horse wrangler & movie star), Lassoed, Mud On The Tires (naked mud hole steer wrangling), No Bull; Mychael Black’s Hearth & Home series (Going Home, Well Laid Plans, On Solid Ground, & Beginnings–tatoo artist & cowboy); Dallas Coleman’s When The Bloom Is On The Sage (a 3 hanky read, but wonderful), Stormclouds, Oranges and Peppermints; Kiernan Kelly’s Riding Heartbreak Road, Two Spirits…just to name a few. (Can you tell I love the cowboy stories… 🙂 )

    • Hi countrygirlxxoo

      A woman after my own heart. I have read many of the books you mentioned including MB’s Hearth and Home series which I believe is now out in print. I’m making notes for those I haven’t read especially Julia Talbot’s Jackass Flatts which I had never heard of. The one book that you mentioned which I read but hated the ending is Kiernan Kelly’s Riding Heartbreak Road. I thought the epilogue was totally unnecessary and heartbreaking and I couldn’t read the book again after the first time. I think I deleted it. When I interviewed her a few months ago I asked her why she thought the epilogue was necessary, and she had no rational explanation.

      I will definitely be looking into some of your recs. Thank you.

  • It’s been awhile since I read the Sackett series by Louis L’Amour but I don’t recall any m/m action going on. (I seriously do still enjoy his writing,)

    Having a story set in “the old west” is not a selling point in my romance reading. I’m more apt to steer towards Regency books. The main thing I want is a little angst, some actual communication to eliminate incredibly stupid misunderstandings, and good hot smexxing.

    I saw “Brokeback Mountain” when it came out and haven’t been able to watch it since or read the book. I loved it but God how heart wrenching. And I can’t go around smacking small-minded, bigoted religious zealots.

    On that offshoot note, I’m proud to say I live in the state of Iowa, where same-sex marriage is legal. There are still those who are bitterly against it and I was actually told I was going to burn in hell for not seeing it as a “terrible judgement”. Good times…… 🙂

    • Sherry
      >>And I can’t go around smacking small-minded, bigoted religious zealots.

      On that offshoot note, I’m proud to say I live in the state of Iowa, where same-sex marriage is legal. There are still those who are bitterly against it and I was actually told I was going to burn in hell for not seeing it as a “terrible judgement”. Good times< < Iowa is a real bellweather state for just about everything in the US. Maybe this gay marriage thing will catch on. I hope.

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