Friday, February 19, 2016

ARC Review: The Lone Rancher by Andrew Grey

The Lone RancherBlurb:

He'll do anything to save the ranch, including baring it all.

Aubrey Klein is in real trouble—he needs some fast money to save the family ranch. His solution? A weekend job as a stripper at a club in Dallas. For two shows each Saturday, he is the star as The Lone Rancher.

It leads to at least one unexpected revelation: after a show, Garrett Lamston, an old friend from school, approaches the still-masked Aubrey to see about some extra fun… and Aubrey had no idea Garrett was gay. As the two men dodge their mothers’ attempts to set them up with girls, their friendship deepens, and one thing leads to another.

Aubrey know his life stretching between the ranch and the club is a house of cards. He just hopes he can keep it standing long enough to save the ranch and launch the life—and the love—he really hopes he can have.

My rating:

Aubrey Klein has a big secret. To save his parents' ranch from foreclosure, he's been doing a little dancing in a gay club way away in Dallas, while dodging his mother's attempts to set him up with a nice girl. He wants to come out as gay, but is worried about his parents' reaction, and has kept mum and to himself for the time being. Not that he has a lot of time for romance anyway, what with working the farm, trying to keep the money in the black, and working as a stripper every other week.

While in Dallas, Aubrey runs into Garrett, an old friend from school, and is shocked to find out Garrett is gay too. Things get hot and heavy between the two really fast, but neither is willing or able to be open about themselves or their relationship.

I liked Aubrey quite a bit - he tried to do the right thing by his parents, with his Dad's failing health leading to poor decisions, his Momma's penchant for running up the charge cards, and the student loans for his sister, and find a way to save the ranch, even if it meant dancing almost naked in front of strangers and letting the shame of doing so burn him from the inside out. He was a good guy, caring, kind, and loving, and while circumstances demanded that he hide that part of himself from Garrett, it was also very clear that he didn't like doing so.

Garrett is also a nice guy, for the most part, and he put himself out there just the same as Aubrey as far as their relationship, and their reputation in town was concerned, though I deducted points for his actions toward the end. That was cruel and unnecessary, and Aubrey didn't deserve that.

Of course, this is a Dreamspun Desires book, and as such I knew we'd get the HEA that is promised for each book of this series.

The story flows well, with Aubrey's secret life in Dallas juxtaposed to that of the dutiful son working on the ranch, and trying to keep each part separate. The author did a fine job showing just how difficult the lies are for Aubrey, how guilt is eating at him, especially as the relationship with Garrett gets deeper, and how he simply doesn't see a different way to carry his burden.

The story explores the pitfalls of keeping secrets, and the consequences when those secrets come to light. I rather enjoyed reading this, and while it may be a bit far-fetched with some of the plot points, it was a fun read, and a great addition to this series.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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