Sunday, February 8, 2015

ARC Review: Belt Buckles & Cowboy Boots by Bailey Bradford


Colby thought he’d never let anyone close again after being betrayed by everyone he loved, but one closeted, stubborn oilfield worker with a penchant for dressing like a cowboy seems determined to out himself and win Colby’s heart. It’s as if Hunter Talamentez walked right out of Colby’s fantasies and into the convenience store where Colby works.

But Hunter is closeted, and he’s never considered changing that. He’s got his homophobic cousin with him, a family that he knows won’t support him if they know the truth about who he is and a job where being out could get him hurt. He resigned himself to spending his life alone until he gets to know Colby. Then he embarks on a journey with Colby that will change their lives if only they both find the strength to take a few chances.

Nothing comes easily, and learning to give from the heart when that heart has been shattered twice before might be more than Colby is capable of. He isn’t sure about having more than a fling with Hunter, yet he can’t seem to stay away from the man, either. What was meant to be one night together turns into more, and Colby loses his ability to keep Hunter at the safe distance he’d wanted.

Dani's rating:

I requested this book because of the title. I live for gay cowboys, y'all. Seriously.

Unfortunately, there were no cowboys to be found in Bailey Bradford's book. Colby, one of the MCs, lusts after cowboys and eventually persuades the other MC, Hunter, to wear a pair of boots to bed.

There was some really hot lovin' in this story. Both Colby and Hunter are butt-sex virgins! They've never trusted enough to get in some ass action, but a couple weeks after they meet, they are down with the butt-fucking all the way.

Snarky but pretty Colby, rejected by his shallow adopted family and used to keeping people at arm's length, works two jobs to make ends meet.

Hunter, who works on the oil rigs and sends money to his mom and younger brothers, is deep in the closet and burdened with watching out for his homophobic asshole cousin, fresh out of jail.

While the setup was good, the execution flailed and fell flat.

For one, there were many, many typos in my ARC copy: wrong words, missing words, random punctuation, etc.

The story didn't flow as much as jump. There was point A, which leaped to point B, but there never seemed to be enough build-up or motivation for the actions or reactions.

Colby and Hunter start off with lust but move to talk of marriage fairly quickly.

The plot gets muddled with secondary character side stories (I liked Christy and Berto but didn't need their love connection) and heavy angst that's thrown in and casually dismissed: Colby's adopted dad coming back to threaten him; Hunter's cousin attacking Colby; Hunter losing his job; a robbery!

Colby and Hunter spend a weekend together that means everything, but we only see them driving to and from the destination. Everything during the trip happens off page.

I felt like I was missing entire chapters of relationship development while being bombarded with unnecessary details.

The ending was a pieced-together HEA, but it felt rather anti-climatic considering the lackluster story.

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An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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