Title: A Prairie Dog’s Love Song
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Joshua Braintree, Ben Rivers
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Holiday/Christmas, Cowboys, Erotic Romance
Ben Rivers always was a showman. He won awards in 4-H and rodeo competitions from the time he could walk, and he’s happiest in the spotlight. So when he got the chance to be a star—in porn—he took it. He still loves Montana and everything about being a cowboy, but when news of his alternate identity leaks out, he figures he’s lost the town’s goodwill forever. Clyde’s Corner would never accept an openly gay cowboy, even a hometown boy born and bred.
Joshua Braintree always had the notion that he and his best friend’s kid brother, Ben, would end up together. Ben’s always been a diehard cowboy, just like him: they need the land and its freedom as much as they need air. So when Joshua learns Ben moved away from their small Montana town to be a porn star in Vegas, he can hardly believe it. He’s determined to finally declare himself and bring Ben home.
Despite his longtime crush on Joshua, Ben won’t be as easy to tame as Joshua’s “lost cause” horses. It will take a lot of heart and holiday spirit for Joshua to convince Ben that even old prairie dogs can learn new tricks in the name of love.
As the blurb states, Joshua always thought he’d end up together with Ben, so much so that he took the idea for granted. Then Ben runs off to Vegas, becomes a gay-for-pay porn star—and is outed in his home town by some dickwad. Joshua goes to Vegas to claim Ben and bring him home. But Ben wants to be out and proud, while Joshua doesn’t, so not even great sex can help solve these deeper problems.
Now, the thing I didn’t like about this story is the time the two main characters actually spend time together, which was depressingly little. One talk, one sex act—and then we jump to the end. Everything else consists of town stuff and Joshua depressed. For a romance, this fell somewhat flat. If Joshua and Ben had had a thing for each other their whole lives, they never discussed it as teenagers, and now they’re adults who barely know one another. Sure, their discussion in Vegas cut right to the chase and the heart of the issue, but I felt like I didn’t get to know Ben very well. The town and the side characters take up way too much time. Sure, this is basically Joshua’s coming out tale. But for such a short story, the romance felt like it lacked foundation, a connection just between the two men.
Still, Ms. Easton writes exceedingly well, as always. Especially the boonie lingo is done well, with lots of local color. She really is a great writer, and following the story is effortless, with a good pace and balance between dialogue, internal thought, and actions taken. The positive message here is one for hope and change, and the results of the town meeting were fun reading. So, overall, a recommended read.
Reviewed By: Susan