Cowboys Don’t Come Out (Lily G’s Review)

Title: Cowboys Don’t Come Out
Author: Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 20th April, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Length: 6 hours and 50 minutes
Reviewed by: Lily G. Blunt
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 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.

Although well written there were several things about this story that didn’t really work for me:

  • Both Rand and Kai didn’t speak or act like guys in their early twenties, more like their thirties or even forties, and also Lani came across as a lot older than twelve.
  • I didn’t feel the connection between Rand and Kai, apart from in the sex scenes. Kai blew hot and cold too often, pushing Rand away, and even near the end of the story I didn’t really pick up on any chemistry between the two of them. 
  • Rand’s meddling mother and Julie’s repeated appearances in the first half of the story interfered with Rand’s happiness.
  • A couple of OTT dramatic scenes. Exciting to read, but not entirely plausible.
  • Throughout the story the theme was ‘Cowboys Don’t Come Out’ and when they finally do it’s no big deal.
  • The way the ‘romance/resolution’ escalated at the end. It all felt too rushed, even though there were reasons. Even Kai seemed surprised that Rand loved him.
  • I even felt K.C. Kelly’s narration, although good, wasn’t up to his usual high standard. The voices for some of the characters wavered a little at times and some of his pacing and emphasis seemed off.

Having said this, there was plenty I liked about the story:

  • The intimate scenes between Rand and Kai were hot. KC Kelly always does a great job at narrating these. Two closeted cowboys making out—need I say more!
  • Kai’s children, Aliki and Lani, weren’t annoying brats. They were a credit to Kai and Rand had a fabulous rapport with them from the start.
  • The family backstory and conflict that resulted from this.
  • Mrs Orwell and other people who could see how these two guys were attracted to each other.
  • Rand’s parents towards the end of the story, especially his mother who had been trying to control his life while on holiday with him in Hawaii.
  • The beautiful setting. I could picture the beaches and places really well, especially the waterfall, lakes, and bamboo forests!
  • The ending, especially the last chapter, was sweet and happy.

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Advanced Review Copy

Audio copy of Cowboys Don’t Come Out provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men's feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing! Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories via Amazon and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing.