Title: A Shared Range (Range #1)
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance/Western
Length: Novel (203 pages)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lily
A sweet story of two men who meet and despite some differences quickly fall in love. Unexpected life changes, coming out and standing up for your beliefs are some of the themes in this latest Andrew Grey offering.
After a year in medical school, Dakota Holden returned home to take care of the family business full time and help his father cope with multiple sclerosis. Devoted to his family, Dakota allows himself just one week of vacation a year, which he spends in some exotic location having all the fun he can stand. On his last vacation, a cruise, Dakota struck up a friendship with Phillip Reardon, and it fills an important role in Dakota’s life.
So when Phillip decides to take Dakota up on his invitation to visit the ranch, Dakota is happy to see him and meet his veterinarian friend, Wally Schumacher. Despite Wally’s inclination to help the wolves Dakota’s men shoot to protect the cattle, he and Dakota find they have a lot in common, including a fierce attraction. But they’ll have to decide if the Wyoming range is big enough for Dakota’s cattle, Wally’s wolves, and their love.
Dakota Holden comes home for the summer after his first year of medical school looking forward to spending time with his father. But a fall from a horse brings to light the illness his father’s been hiding from him and forces Dakota to give up school and take over the reins of the family business. While he doesn’t regret it he does miss the freedom he had. Now living on a ranch in Wyoming he’s hiding in the closet and taking a week off a year to sow his wild oats away from his father and their small town.
On his latest vacation he meets Phillip Reardon and the two have a week of fun together. Both know it’s only a fling but over time they become long-distance friends over the phone. When Phillip decides to come for a visit he brings his friend Wally Schumacher and once again Dakota’s life will be turned upside down. Wally’s a veterinarian, an animal lover and the cutest thing Dakota’s seen. Instantly attracted the two begin an affair that quickly turns to more. Will they be able to reconcile their different views and will Dakota’s family, friends and neighbors accept not only the fact that Dakota is gay but also that he’s with someone hellbent on protecting the wolves in the area that give the ranchers so much trouble?
What I liked…
Dakota and Wally are nice, likable guys and the interactions between them and the supporting characters are fun, interesting and at times very emotional. Phillip was first introduced in An Unexpected Vintage and I hope the author gives him his own story soon. As he remarks at one point… he’s tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. Hopefully soon he’ll get his chance.
I also really enjoyed the descriptions of Dakota’s ranch life and the surrounding countryside which included trips to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. It was also interesting to read about the reintroduction of wolves and the debate over their effect on ranchers and their animals.
What I didn’t like…
I did have a couple of issues with A Shared Range. The first one was the “insta-love” quickness of Dakota and Wally’s relationship. Within just a few days of meeting they’re to the point of Dakota asking Wally to move across country to live with him. This coming from a man who’s been in the closet all his life and is just coming to terms with being out just feels too quick.
Which brings up my second issue. I felt Dakota’s coming out was just too easy. He lives in a small ranching town in what he himself refers to as “Wyoming, Matthew Shepard country” yet when he comes out it’s seemingly easily accepted. There are a few stares and some harsh words and even a couple of instances of physical violence but overall the issue felt too easily resolved, at least for me.
Despite my issues with the story I really enjoyed A Shared Range. Andrew Grey always manages to give his characters lots of emotion and depth and even if the storyline felt a bit rushed at times I liked reading it. There’s a sweet epilogue that had me both shaking my head and smiling at the same time.
Fans of the author as well as readers looking for a sexy, emotional, humorous “feel good” story will no doubt enjoy A Shared Range. Recommended.