Title: Johnny Two-Guns
Author: Mark Wildyr
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 18, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, MM Romance, Gay Fiction
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
When vacationing Denver architect Roger Mackie rolls into a quaint old trading post in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountain Range to gas up his car, it’s the start of a life-changing journey. Lean, handsome Chippewa Johnny Two-Guns is looking for a ride. He’s on a mission to recover some clan treasures. Roger is immediately smitten and drives Johnny all the way to Arizona.
Although the two successfully build a friendship, Roger is unable to initiate the intimacy they both seem to desire. A second visit gives Roger another chance to draw Johnny out of his shell. The payoff is spectacular, leading to a week of sex and discovery, during which Johnny’s innocent enthusiasm shows Roger a new side of love between men. But trouble is on the horizon for the new couple, as fate seems set against them. And what does the sudden appearance of sexy young architect Brad Beaver portend for the future?
Almost two years ago one of my GR friends recommended me a book, he wrote: “Put everything you’re reading now aside and read this book.”
The book that came with a such urgent recommendation was Cut Hand by Mark Wildyr. I followed his advice. And after I had finished it, I read all works by the author that were available at that time. If you have a reading buddy like this, who knows your book taste and who never says something like this without a good reason, you can count yourself lucky. We all know how tricky recommendations could be, even made with the best intentions in the world.
I gave a lot of book recommendations in the past, but I stopped to give them. For such a passionate reader like I, the books I love become my babies. I don’t want wrong readers read them or right readers read them in the wrong time and dislike them. Mark Wildyr’s books belong to those books that I love, but they are not for everyone.
Mark Wildyr is one of those writers that you will either fall in love immediately or probably never. I have also this STRANGE love-hate relationship to his stories. He is not your conventional MM Romance writer, and his characters have a very few things in common with a typical hero of the most popular MM romance novels, but they are unforgettable – just take it as a praise- and his writing and portraying skills, and his love stories – yes, it is always about love – are intense, exceptional and very special. And there is always at least ONE Native Americans character present.
Denver architect Roger Mackie on his vacation trip without a certain destination made a stop at a gas station with a homey atmosphere somewhere in a small place in Montana, and engaged in conversation with its older and talkative owner. When the old man discovered that Roger was on his way to Arizona, he asked him, if he could give a lift to Johnny, a twenty one year old Native American, who helped him in the store. Johnny had to pick up some family’s things that left his brother when he was killed a month ago. Roger, in his late thirties, recently divorced, agreed, though not only because he was eager to help or because he was glad for the company. The physical presence of the young man did strange things to Roger, it brought suddenly ancient memories back, that mature Roger considered as being lost forever.
The two men on their way to Butte became friends, and shy and more reserved Johnny slowly opened up to Roger, and developed a deep trust toward his new trip companion. It is a road trip with a growing sexual tension between them, nights in motels, when they had to share the same room, and Roger had to struggle with butterflies and old memories. The closer they came to their target destination, the bigger became Roger’s wish never let Johnny go. He had never felt something like this toward another man. But how could he explain his feelings to Johnny if he himself didn’t really understand what was happening to him?
The original plan, to part in Butte, didn’t work out, some other unexpected events luckily extended their being-together, but it would take almost one year when their paths crossed again and they would be able to show their feelings to each other and have the courage to express them.
If you’re an inexperienced Mark Wildyr’s reader, it is probably exactly the moment when you’ll take a comfortable position in your armchair, and prepare yourself for a sweetest love story between two very different men. But fans of Mark Wildyr know it better. It is not the question of IF, but WHEN.
I warn you. Here it is around 50%. It will take a turn you’ll never EVER expect. To tell it diplomatically…you’ll be MOST LIKELY not happy with this twist…or better to say, your reaction will be like this:
Mark Wildyr will break your heart first, but he’ll put it together, and delivers at the end his own imagination of HEA. As always, it took days for me, after finishing his book, to realize how truly unique this novel is. It is a story of Roger’s search for real love and his finding his way back to himself.
The author doesn’t chose the most comfortable way, but maybe it is the reason why his books are so memorable. His characters are real flesh-and-blood people, his stories are the best example of a great gay fiction, and his beautiful writing is moving and powerful in its quiet intensity.