Book: The Real Thing 2nd Edition
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: March 1, 2017
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Length: 52 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
Bryan Mills has fantasized about cowboys all his life. Real cowboys, that is. He even dresses in what his roommate calls “cowboy drag” when he visits his favorite bar, in the hope of attracting the attentions of a genuine cowboy. But all he usually finds are posers and guys his own age.
Then one night, to his surprise, Curtis Hansen buys him a beer, and Bryan has no doubt this is the real thing. Curtis is a rugged, gorgeous man who is every bit a cowboy. He even owns his own ranch. What follows is about the most amazing night of Bryan’s young life.
But can they move beyond a night of incredible sex when Bryan admits to Curtis that the only horse he’s ever ridden was a birthday party pony? And that he’s nothing but a poser himself? Maybe, just maybe, Curtis can find the real cowboy inside Bryan, and they can ride off into the sunset together!
As much as I wanted to have another cowboy story to add to the list of ones that I loved, this one did not hit the spot for me. Overall the writing was really good and the characters developed as much as expected for a short story. Curtis was sweet and Bryan, young and a bit naive.
But there were things about it that bothered me. Although, we know going in that Bryan Mills has a thing for cowboys the way the author writes about it turns it into more of a fetish then a love of the look. Things like Bryan mentioning jobs that are “masculine” or the other “real” cowboys Bryan overheard talking said the group of young guys that were in the bar dressed as cowboys they “...look like a bunch of ballerinas, prancing around like that,” or when Bryan heard this he looked at those guys dancing and thought “...the way they were moving wasn’t the most masculine thing…” And this all because those guys were dressed in nice jeans and shiny boots. The author scripted this as though only real cowboys wear work rough jeans and scuffed boots and of course don’t own nice clothes.
The fetishizing and stereotyping was throughout the whole story and gave me this ick feeling no matter how much I tried to shake it off. And because there was so much of that feeling coming from Bryan any feelings he may have developed for Curtis, seemed false. It’s all told from Bryan’s POV so we don’t get to see any of Curtis’s motivations or how he feels when he found out he was deceived. I had hoped that those things were being used to show an evolution of thought for Bryan; but unfortunately that was not the case.
This is a new to me author so maybe this wasn’t typical, which I hope is the case, since the writing as a whole was actually very good just the story fell flat for me and made me feel insulted on behalf of cowboys and the more effeminate gay men.
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