Title: Letters From a Cowboy (Morning Report #4)
Author Name & Publisher: Sue Brown (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 10, 2015 – 154 pgs
A Morning Report Story
Simon Wood arrives at Tamar Ranch looking for a job after being fired from his last position for seducing the boss’s son. It doesn’t take much for him to prove his skills with horses, so he’s taken on, but soon he clashes hard with Chip Henson.
The animosity between them hides something very different, but not for long. No matter how hard they try to resist their attraction, eventually they give in to their need. They start leaving notes for each other, and others notice and warn them to be more careful.
Fearful of discovery, Simon leaves Tamar Ranch to save Chip’s job. When he learns that his departure sent Chip off the rails, he knows he needs to risk everything and go back for him.
This is a dark, troubling and gritty story. Providing a horrifying look at life for gay cowboys in 1950’s Texas, it offers insights into the discrimination faced by anyone other than straight, white men. I think I was crying by the second or third chapter.
There were a couple of time changes at the start of the story that I struggled to follow, but otherwise, Chip and Simon’s story is told slowly and carefully. The central relationship isn’t necessarily romantic, but it is realistic. Closeted for survival, there isn’t much room for romance, but the two men fall hard for each other in a painful, believable way.
I really loved Simon’s character. His way with the horses, his kindness to the vulnerable – he is what every girl imagines a cowboy to be. I was never as keen on Chip – actually, part of me wanted Simon to end up with Manuel. I know Chip was flawed, troubled and human, but I just didn’t see what Simon saw in him.
By about three-quarters of the way through, Simon and Chip’s prospects began to feel hopeless and I was needing to put the book down. Fortunately, the end is really beautiful. Without spoiling the story, I was really impressed with the way the author manages to lighten the book at the end without compromising the realism she has worked so hard for.
Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot and has got expert at ignoring the orders.
Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.