Publisher: Loose Id
Publish Date: February 15, 2011
Roe Davis is a man who works hard, keeps to himself, and never mixes business with pleasure -- until he takes a weekend away from his new job at Nowhere Ranch and runs into the owner at the only gay bar for two hundred miles. Getting involved with the boss is a bad idea, but Travis Loving is hard to say no to, especially when it turns out their kinks line up like a pair of custom-cut rails. As Loving points out, so long as this is sex on the side, no interfering with the job, they could make it work. The truth is, there’s good reason Roe never settles down and always spends his birthdays and holidays celebrating alone. Shut out in the cold by his family years ago, Roe survived by declaring he didn’t need a home. As his affair with Loving grows into more than just sex, Roe finds out what happens when he stays put a little bit too long: the past always catches up with you. Eventually, even a loner gets lonely, and home will grow up through whatever cracks you leave open for it -- even in a place called Nowhere.
This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve tried to write. I loved this book: I want to *squee!!* and *sigh* at the same time…
Monroe (Roe) Davis is a cowboy, born and raised in Iowa, living with his family, until the day his mother is cleaning out his room and discovers his porn stash….and realizes it’s all men in the pictures. After repeated attempts to “help” him by the family and the local preacher, he’s given the ultimatum to “save himself” or leave. He ends up leaving the state, drifting the Midwest from ranch to ranch, not staying anywhere long enough to get attached - it’s the way he lives his life…and his love life – no strings, no attachments.
When he lands at Nowhere Ranch in Nebraska, his intentions are to stay long enough to earn a few bucks before leaving again. One weekend when Travis, the owner is away, Roe heads out of town to find a gay bar and pick up some action. He gets the shock of his life when he walks in and ends up sitting next to… Travis!!
It’s an uncomfortable situation, so they drink and talk, and the conversation leads to what they’re looking for in a pick-up. As Travis describes what he wants, Roe realizes they both want what the other is offering. They agree to get together – for the night only. It turns into a crazy sexy weekend and then they’re back to the ranch acting as if nothing ever happened.
A few weeks later, Roe gets a letter from his cousin. In the letter, she blames him for ruining his family by being gay; that his selfishness has caused heartache and pain and he needs to fix himself and come home. He goes for a walk to clear his head and runs across Travis; still reeling from the letter, he agrees to go to the Rodeo. At the rodeo, Roe meets Haley – the ranch foreman’s daughter. She’s chatty and bubbly and way too peppy for Roe, who just wants to be alone.
On his birthday, Roe runs into Haley again in the grocery and she won’t let him refuse her offer to take him out for his birthday. They go out for dinner and karaoke; Travis ends up at the bar and Haley makes a discreet exit. Travis and Roe go back to Travis’ house and crazy sexy birthday sex ensues.
Eventually, Travis convinces Roe that they can be bedmates without being "in a relationship", and the story really picks up. The ranch is busy, Haley's tutoring Roe to get his GED, Roe is spending more and more time at Travis' house and less time in his apartment, and life is moving forward at a good pace.
Of course, life doesn’t just mosey along without a hitch or two, and Roe gets several thrown at him all at once, making him question his wandering lifestyle, love, and what makes a family.
My thoughts: I know that’s a crazy-long summary for me, but it doesn’t even begin to cover all the events and emotions found in Nowhere Ranch. I was drawn in from the first page and tore through this book in a day. Did I stay up way too late because I wanted to finish? Oh yeah! Every time I thought I knew where Ms. Cullinan was taking me, she turned a corner and *surprise*, we weren’t where I thought we’d end up. I love that!! Nowhere Ranch is told in first person, past tense – Roe is telling the story, and he's a great storyteller.
Heidi Cullinan’s writing style is fabulous, her characters were sympathetic, and even though I don’t usually go for older man/younger man relationships, Roe and Travis’ relationship worked for me. Travis’ cut-and-dry personality was a great match for Roe’s more emotional one. Although Roe tried to bury his emotions, eventually they’d back up until they poured out of him in moments of stress or revelation.
I’ll admit, some of the sexy stuff was a little bit beyond my reading experience (such as the pony bench – I don't quite get how everything fits, lol) (also, this was my first fisting story) and some scenes occasionally made me wince, but wow – the sexin’ was rough, raw, and hot!
The way Haley’s story played out was unexpected. I can’t go into much more without major spoilers, but she was a fabulous secondary character who ultimately did more than just help push the story along. I think as a female reader, I was better able to insert myself into the story via Haley’s character, and I was pleased with that. She might have made a decision or two I can't relate to, but as I mentioned above, Ms. Cullinan did not always lead me in the direction I thought she would.
In summary – I loved Nowhere Ranch: the characters were likeable, the story was good, the sex was hot, and I stayed involved and entertained – who could ask for more?
This book was received by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.