Author: Kim Fielding and K.C. Kelly
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Release Date: December 22nd 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.
On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.
Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.
This is beautifully written and even more beautifully narrated. I cannot think of another narrator I would have preferred to listen to this by other than K.C. Kelly. Kelly takes this tale of a drifter finding a home he didn’t even know he was looking for and gives it a depth that elevates the story. The characters are beautifully molded and described and in the end it’s a heart-wrenching story about the hope and the chances we keep or give away.
Jimmy, a 43 year old drifter, whose longest stay anywhere since he was a teenager is five months, is literally at a crossroads one night with no destination in mind when he sees an old man. He picks up the old man and they head toward Rattlesnake, California. Eventually the old man, Tom, tells Jimmy the tale of how he screwed up his life and left behind his son years ago. Tom wants to return to Rattlesnake to find his son and deliver a letter, not so he can ask for forgiveness, as he knows he doesn’t deserve it, but because Tom’s dying and he’s a selfish bastard who wants to see his son before he dies.
Tom coughed some more before answering. “Listen to me, Jimmy. Someday you’re gonna be an old bastard like me, and you’re gonna regret shit, and you ain’t gonna be able to do nothin’ about it. Don’t wait. You got stuff in your life needs fixin’, you gotta fix it now, while you can.”
Tom doesn’t make it to Rattlesnake, but when Jimmy finds Tom’s letter to his son, Shane, he decides to go to Rattlesnake and deliver the letter himself. Jimmy easily tracks Shane down and finds him doing okay so he decides not to give him the letter and just leave him to his life.
With a final wave to Shane, he pushed through the saloon doors. The letter was still in his pocket, which made him feel slightly guilty, but for some reason he couldn’t bring himself to give it up. Don’t need to disturb Shane’s quiet life, he told himself.
When Jimmy’s car dies and he’s stuck in town for a bit, Shane helps Jimmy find a place to stay and a temporary job and their relationship quietly grows. Jimmy is determined each night before he goes to sleep that the following day will be the day he gets up, gives Shane the letter, and leaves. But he doesn’t because even though he knows he shouldn’t, Jimmy just always wants one more day.
Wishes were like poison, Jimmy thought. When you made them, they were all bright and shiny, sweet as candy. But they lingered and languished and didn’t come true, and so they curdled and went bad. Became toxic. That’s why he never made them to begin with.
The longer Jimmy stays, the more he comes to care for Shane, with his generous heart and indomitable spirit. Every time Jimmy makes the decision that tomorrow will be the day to leave, something happens to stop him. Hope begins to grow in him…but hope is a dangerous thing for Jimmy.
Well, but this was hope, wasn’t it? And Jimmy knew perfectly well what hope became: bitter ashes. Eventually Shane would see Jimmy’s true self and then he’d turn away in anger and disgust. And Jimmy… he couldn’t survive another turning away.
Yet, he still stays. He can’t help but want even knowing what the ultimate outcome will be.
That gave Jimmy the perfect opportunity to hand over Tom’s letter, which was still tucked away in his room, now in the bedside drawer. But Jimmy had become greedy. He wanted just one more day with Shane—one more night, maybe—before he left Rattlesnake forever. And he knew that if he gave a true explanation of how he’d ended up in town, Shane would never forgive him for his lies.
Eventually though, of course, Shane finds the letter.
K.C. Kelly beautifully narrates the story. The story itself is not about flash and speed, it more moseys than rockets, and K.C.’s perfect drawl draws the listener along. I loved the narration for the story.
I’ll admit if it hadn’t been for the whole not-telling-about-the-real-reason-he-came-to-town storyline this would have been a five star read for me. Other than that though, I thought it was really wonderfully done and can easily recommend it.