Marathon Cowboys by Sarah Black


Title: Marathon Cowboys
Author: Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 172
Characters: Lorenzo Maryboy, Jesse Clayton
POV: 1st Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kisses: 4






Blurb:

Jesse Clayton loves painting, his cowboy grandfather, and his life as an artist with a wild abandon that leaves scorch marks on everything he touches. Budding Navajo cartoonist Lorenzo Maryboy is a hard-working former Marine: staunch, brave, and honorable. Chance brings them together on the road to Marathon, Texas, and passion flares.
Just as always, Jesse puts his art ahead of everything. He betrays their growing trust, and that Lorenzo can’t forgive. But Jesse’s found something he loves more than his art, and what he does to win Lorenzo’s forgiveness is far more dangerous than either man understands.

Review:

Drama and romance tangle in a wonderful way in Marathon Cowboys, the story of two very different men who meet through little more than chance and who find a common bond in the love of their respective art.

Jesse Clayton is a brilliant artist whose passion for his craft allows him to express himself through the symbols he chooses to represent his vision. Jesse’s theory on art is that it captures reality and preserves it for those who are too preoccupied with their own lives to pay attention to the world around them while it’s turning. Jesse’s art is frequently controversial and he often leaves a wake of anger behind him with the subjects he chooses to address, but for him, it’s the statement and the emotions that make what he does meaningful in spite of the sometimes negative consequences.

Lorenzo Maryboy is an ex-Marine and budding cartoonist who’s traveling to Marathon, TX to stay with Jesse Clayton, The Original—the grandfather of JC3, the artist. Lorenzo’s medium of expression is the Devil Dogs cartoons he draws that depict slices of life in the Marine Corps, cartoons with messages delivered in a non-political way. Lorenzo wants his art to make a statement without being too controversial. He served most of his years in the Corps under DADT, after all, so he’s accustomed to keeping things low key, doing his duty, and not drawing attention to himself.

When the Marathon cowboy from San Francisco and the Navajo ex-Marine connect, it’s a coming together of two different worlds; one man who stands firmly on one side of the fence with his art, living openly and proudly as a gay man; and the other who refuses to come down on either side of that fence with his own work, inexperienced in what it means to openly express his sexuality. The passion between them extends beyond the physical and into the realms of friendship and respect for each other. But when Jesse’s work crosses the line into betrayal, it could destroy the fragile bond of new love between them.

Sarah Black has written a moving story of love, loss, and second chances told through engaging men who learn what it means to trust and what it means to sacrifice that trust for the sake of being true to oneself, even at the risk of losing the one person who has come to matter more than anyone else in the world. It’s a story of life influencing art and art influencing life, and I loved the journey to forgiveness and redemption.

Reviewed By: Lisa

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Flamingo by Sarah Black


Title: Flamingo
Author: Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 42
Characters: William, Tommy
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary/May-December Romance
Kisses: 4






Blurb:

Gentle and shy, William has lived life on the sidelines. Solitude and his tiny bookshop have been a safe haven, and he’s watched New York evolve from Stonewall to the gay marriage bill. At 61, he falls in love with Tommy, a young veteran going to school on the GI Bill. William doesn’t believe Tommy could possibly care for him, and he begins to fear that Tommy and his troubled roommate Marley are setting him up for a heartbreaking fall. When Tommy disappears, William has to risk leaving his safe haven and walking into danger, maybe into betrayal, to save the boy he loves.

Review:

Sixty-one year old William has spent a good portion of his life as a near recluse, taking sanctuary in the bookshop he opened in 1971, a mere couple of years after the Stonewall uprising that brought the gay rights movement out of the closet and into the social consciousness.

Having been passed over in the Vietnam draft because of his homosexuality, William’s father strongly urges him to leave their small Ohio town for New York City, where William might find others who are like him. It was the painful denial of father to son that helps to shape William’s isolation and reinforce his fears, but he made the move and eventually found his passion amongst the bricks and mortar and pages of his shop, where he carves out a small living space in the back.

Tommy is the young man who disrupts the quietude of William’s life. Going to school on the GI Bill that barely keeps him financially afloat, Tommy fosters a friendship with the much older William, connecting through the beauty of poetry and the love of the written word. Tommy and William forge an unlikely bond with each other, a friendship and a respect for each other that transcends their differences but for William also underlines them. How could a man forty years his junior—beautiful, intelligent, vibrant—possibly want to be with him? It is a culmination of all his doubts and repression that he has cultivated over the years that keep William from seeing the truth—that love cannot be defined or neatly compartmentalized into right or wrong.

Feeling as obsolete as the ink and paper books he surrounds himself with, William believes his love for Tommy could never be reciprocated; he believes that he is nothing more than a warm and comfortable place for Tommy to land when the young man needs the security and comfort William can offer. But, through the magic of words, Tommy opens up and attempts to show William how he truly feels, though sometimes words are not enough, and it’s the actions that must speak to the heart.

Flamingo is a beautifully understated story, intimate in its feelings rather than in actions. This is one of those stories that embraced me emotionally in a subtle way. Its quiet and simple message—that love is a risk, and that the real danger in life may come from never taking that risk—was shown through two characters I loved spending some time with.

Reviewed By: Lisa

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Idaho Battlegrounds by Sarah Black



Title: Idaho Battlegrounds
Author: Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 104
POV: 3rd
Book Cover Rating: 4
Kisses: 3.5






Blurb:

Sheriff Grady Sullivan returns to Canyon County, Idaho, after his second tour in Afghanistan to find his department in disorder and his authority undermined. He’s determined to restore discipline, but he soon finds himself fighting for his job. The bright spot in his life is kindred soul Edward Clayton. But Edward isn’t just raising dairy cows, and Grady is soon pulled into Edward’s Underground Railroad for illegal kids.

As noble as Edward’s work is, it’s illegal, and Grady is suddenly faced with losing everything he’s worked for and everything that matters to him as he’s forced to choose between Edward and the work that has always defined him.

Review:

Idaho Battlegrounds is a simple story about a sheriff who falls in love with a dairy farmer who is also a lawyer and a man who is part of an underground railroad for illegal children who have been taken from their illegal parents for one reason or another. Sheriff Grady and Edward Clayton unite and it seems as if they are the answer to each other’s prayers. Suddenly things take a turn and a couple of the children find themselves kidnapped by the man who brought them over to the United States illegally, thus blowing Edwards cover and exposing his involvement for the world to see. This puts the Sheriff in a bad place with his own supervisors, then a picture no one should have is made public and his whole career is on the line due to one bad cop who wants Grady’s position with a passion that leaves a nasty taste in Grady’s mouth.

Overall the story was a fast read, it didn’t dig deep into the areas the blurb spoke about, giving us a taste really. I’d like to see Sarah expand a bit more, perhaps not so much on how to make cheese, though. I liked the way the characters liked to read to one another, though. It brings a smile to my face imagining the big bad sheriff in a milk bath with his lawyer lover and reading. Great job, Sarah, for showing men love this too!

If you’re into the making of cheese, learning a bit about illegal immigrates, and a tiny bit of action, this isn’t too bad of a story to read.

Reviewer: Michele

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