Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
This is the first novel in “Stories from the Range” series, and it is the beginning of what undoubtedly will be an amazing one. Just a simple love story with anything but simple characters. No mystery, no suspense, just the life of Dakota Holden and his two friends, Phillip Reardon and Wally Schumacher.
After one year in medical school, Dakota has returned home to his father’s ranch for the summer. When his father falls off his horse, he realizes that his dream of being a doctor will never come true. The fall itself was not the problem. It was finding out his father has had multiple sclerosis for a year. Not wanting to be the cause of his son’s dream dying, his father withheld the information, but now the cat is out of the bag. There was no doubt in Dakota’s mind that caring for his father was what he was going to do. His father was someone he idolized and would move heaven and earth to ensure he suffered as little as possible.
It has been four years since Dakota quit school. Every year he allows himself a one week vacation to be who he is. He is gay, but on a ranch full of cowboys, it is the last thing he wants to reveal. So his week is meant to fill his life, until his next vacation. He spends his week on a cruise in the arms of Phillip Reardon. Both men know this is nothing serious, but they become friends and communicate over the phone. Phillip is the only one that Dakota can talk to and be himself with. When Phillip tells Dakota he plans on spending two weeks at his ranch, Dakota is overjoyed. Both men know that there will be no sex, but since Dakota has few friends, Phillip is welcomed with open arms.
Along with Phillip is Wally Schumacher, Phillip’s friend. Wally is a veterinarian and is looking forward to being around large animals. Wally is a small man and barely comes up to Dakota’s chest, but that doesn’t stop the attraction they both feel for each other. Since Dakota has not come out to any one on the ranch, his father included, showing affection is the last thing on his list of things to do, especially with another man. Can he finally face who he is and damn the consequences? Wally is from Milwaukee and the ranch is in Wyoming. What chance is there for the two men even if Dakota comes out?
This was a beautifully written romance. The details of ranch life are wonderful and Dakota’s care for his father is what every parent would wish for. I can’t wait for the next book since I look forward to seeing what happens to Phillip, Dakota and Wally. Oh, and for those who are interested, there is explicit sex and rugged cowboys.