Title: Cowboys Don’t Come Out
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 7th Dec, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Cowboys
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 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.
Tara Lain is an author I always look forward to. And this time it was no different. I was totally excited for this story and the comparatively new and lesser used concept of two closeted cowboys falling in love. The story started great but the romance didn’t quite develop satisfyingly enough for me.
Rand is a California cowboy who visits Maui while vacationing with his parents. He is gay and has always been but after a disastrous encounter in his childhood, he never came out to his parents or his peers. Rand meets Kai, an original Paniolo, Hawaiian cowboy in a club. Their love for dance brings them close together and they strike a friendship which soon grows into much more.
Kai is a little secretive and prickly. He has huge responsibilities of caring for his siblings and is used to relying on no one but himself. Kai is in the closet but Rand proves to be too much of a temptation to pass off. He settles for a secret and casual “friends with benefits” relationship with Rand but his feelings for the blue-eyed cowboy grows strongly and steadily in just two weeks.
Rand’s relationship with Kai’s siblings was a major part of the romance. He loved those kids and did everything in his power to give them the childhood they were so seriously lacking. I loved both Kai’s siblings: Alicki, 10 and Lani, 12. Lani had to grow up pretty soon and she is too serious and responsible for just a 12 year old kid. Both the kids love their big brother and they grow to love Rand just as much in the matter of just two weeks.
Rand and Kai’s relationship was not played to its full potential. I could not seriously distinguish between lust and love in their relationship. The conversion from lust to love happens too fast to be believable. I felt Rand’s relationship with the kids was more developed than with Kai. The sexy scenes also felt a little off and not emotional or powerful enough.
The sub-plots where the couple goes to help Rand’s friend is random and unnecessary. The author tried to show that Rand would totally risk his life and overcome his deepest fear to save Kai which was nice but it could have been done without so much unnecessary drama. The author went out of her way to show that Rand is a superhero who always comes through for everyone, which was fine but felt a little repetitive. It was as if Rand is perfect and has no flaws, except the fact that he is in the closet (after meeting his parents, I could not justify his reasons for hiding and being so miserable all the time.)
With all the hoopla about how “Cowboys don’t come out”, there is no hate or homophobia that came Rand and Kai’s way after they come out so I was just confused as to why “coming out” was such a “no-no” for both.
After the unsatisfactory development of the romance, I was looking forward to both of the MCs “coming out” but that too felt rushed and thrust upon them rather than what they really wanted because they loved each other. The ending did not give enough closure to the romance and the severe lack of a much-needed epilogue did not improve matters at all.
Overall, it was a sweet romance with an HEA and a very sweet feel of love, togetherness and family. It didn’t work for me like Ms. Lane’s other romances. But do give it a try if you are a fan of cowboys and Ms. Tara Lain.