Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Release Day Reviews ~ Cowboys Don't Ride Unicorns by Tara Lain

Release Day Reviews ~ Cowboys Don't Ride Unicorns by Tara Lain

Title: Cowboys Don't Ride Unicorns

Series: Cowboys Don't: Book Two
Author: Tara Lain
Release Date: March 22, 2017
Category: Western
Pages: 226

Cowboy Danny Boone—a name he made up one drunken night and has regretted ever since—harbors a big past and yearns for a small future. A short, bright career as a champion bull rider almost ended in his death when his homophobic father discovered Danny was gay. Now Danny longs for a plot of land he can build a ranch on, enough money to make up for some of the education he missed.… and, secretly, a beautiful femme who likes to top—a combo rarer than a unicorn.
Then onto the guest ranch where Danny works drives San Francisco decorator Laurie Belmont, a young man so gorgeous he makes the horses gasp, and so ballsy he almost kills Danny’s attacker. Laurie’s trying to find his way out from under the thumb of a domineering mother, helpless father, and rich, privileged boyfriend. But no matter the attraction, their lives are worlds apart, and cowboys don’t ride unicorns.

3.5 Stars! 

Danny is working at a Guest Ranch and doing small rodeos in order to save enough money for college and his own small ranch or farm someday. Having escaped his past as a rising bull rider Danny tries to stay as unnoticed as possible. Being a gay cowboy makes that even more important. While he's happy with his life as is, he's beginning to feel restless. He's looking for something he's sure he'll never find, a partner who's both Femme and dominate in bed. Sadly, that's nearly impossible for him to come across in the sea of twinks, cowboys and bears he generally finds.

When a guest at the ranch appears to be everything Danny has dreamed of, he can't help feeling a pull. Unfortunately, Laurie is taken and Danny doesn't think he could ever compete with the other man. While he tries to stay away, it seems Laurie is just as attracted to him and the two have to fight their attraction. Until they don't.

I have to be honest, while, yes, I was entertained by this story, I felt it was drawn out too long. It may have just been me, maybe I wasn't in the best mood, whatever the reason, I felt like it moved way too slow. I didn't need it to be instalove or anything or for them to fall into bed as soon as they met, I just felt like I needed more chemistry from them as well as more scenes of them together. The times they were together, I had a hard time feeling the connection, the chemistry, the draw on a deeper level.

The writing was good and definitely had that Tara Lain feel. I wasn't that fond of the dirty talk though and I actually skimmed over those scenes to get back to the story. I liked a lot of the rodeo action and thought it was well done and I really liked Danny's rodeo friend, Maury.

Overall, it was a good read and I'd recommend it. It definitely will not be my favorite Tara Lain book, though.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Cowboys Don't Ride Unicorns is Book 2 in Tara Lain's Cowboys Don't series.  This book can be read as a standalone, but the first book was really enjoyable and the characters in the first book also appear in this one, so read them in the appropriate order!

Danny is a cowboy and enjoys his work on the ranch and when possible heads to the rodeo to ride bulls.  At his last event, he helps to rescue a professional bull rider, drawing more attention to himself than he'd like. He accepts the thank you from the bull rider, but then hurries back to the ranch and safety. Only, the ranch isn't going to be his safe space when the newest guest shows up and Danny is instantly attracted to Laurie. Laurie is an extremely beautiful man, who seems comfortable being fawned over by those around him.  A dude ranch isn't the place you'd expect to find someone like Laurie, but his boyfriend wanted to come for vacation and Laurie agreed.  Only, the vacation is not going the way either expected.  Laurie is more comfortable on the ranch than his boyfriend, and he has an instant attraction to Danny.  Laurie's relationship is not all that it seems from the outside and he's reminded of that during his vacation.  Neither Danny nor Laurie are the men they seem on the surface, though.

Danny tries to appear like he's just a regular cowboy, but we find out that he has quite the history with the rodeo until his father found out he was gay and attempted to kill him.  Danny managed to survive the attack and reinvented a life for himself.  Now, he just wants to save money for college and own a ranch of his own.  He doesn't want to be attracted to a man with a boyfriend, that doesn't fit into his plans.  To get the life that he wants, Danny will have to face down obstacles.  Laurie was raised by a mother whose only concern was about his beauty.  She had big plans for him and they involved him marrying someone wealthy.  She didn't like that he wasted his time as an interior decorator but figured that it would end once he married.  She's pushing for him to marry his very wealthy boyfriend, and that does seem to be the direction his relationship is going until Laurie finds his boyfriend with another man.  He has to figure out what kind of life he wants for himself, and how he's going to achieve it.

This book pulled me in two different directions.  Overall, I did really enjoy the story and I liked the characters, but there's an incident when Laurie attempts to cheat on his boyfriend, plus, the ongoing flirtation between Danny and Laurie while Laurie is on vacation with his boyfriend that really bothered me through most of the book.  I don't enjoy books with cheating and for me, it was hard to ever get away from the feeling even after everything that had happened.  Honestly, I think the cheating scene just takes away from the story and it would have made me like the characters more if that had never happened.  But, like I said, I did really enjoy the story and if you can overlook the cheating scene, you'll find this an enjoyable read.

Rating: 3.5 stars

3 Stars 

Cowboys Don't Come Out was always going to be a tough act to follow. This does OK enough, though.

CDCO was my intro to this author and her way with words, and for me, it was a 5-Star read in terms of her writing, the leads and the storyline and implied HEA. In this tale, I was so, so pleased to see that HEA being lived, as it took place on Rand's and Kai's ranch, with their ranch hand, Danny, and a visitor to the ranch, Laurie, as leads.

The tale was a little improbable, but equally well-written, with a rough, tough cowboy type who liked nothing more than to be submissive, and with a guy who everyone looking at him would assume he was submissive, being the total opposite. I believed in how the author portrayed them, and I liked them equally, but the storyline was a little hard to believe in.

I don't want to spoil the tale for you, but it lacked the emotional intensity and connection of book 1, and the leads don't spend a lot of time together, and so there are few sex scenes in this. As the blurb tells you, Laurie was with another guy for part of it, and whilst their sex isn't explicit, and whilst it's different to what he and Danny have, I struggled with that a little. On top, the domineering mother and weak father storyline and the 'sell your looks' attitude of Laurie's mother, were not the most believable.

It's worth a read, but the characters didn't impact on me and the tale isn't one I can see myself re-reading too often.

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

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