Size: 6.00 x 9.00 in
Stone Harrison never knew he had an aunt; he certainly never expected her to bequeath him one of the largest spreads in central Nevada. But something about Copper Lake Ranch and its foreman, Luke Reynolds, speaks to him, offering a chance for the home he’s never really had.
Luke wants Stone to succeed as a rancher and put the legacy of his shiftless father behind him, but he’d also like Stone to share his bed. Unfortunately, Stone is convinced that the world is a harsh place that will never accept two men sharing their lives. Much to Luke’s dismay, he refuses to risk Luke’s life despite the intense attraction they share.
The tension between them escalates when a series of calamities strikes Copper Lake. An unexpected and unwelcome visit from Stone’s dandified cousin, James, only makes things worse. Stone’s ability to run the ranch comes into question, but the threat of losing it means less to Stone than the threat to Luke’s life. Stone will do anything it takes to protect the man he loves—even if it makes him a murderer.
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This is a book filled with conflicted feelings within and between the MCs Stone (foreground, cover) and Luke, two of the most opposite individuals one might expect in a book about the Old West.
Yet mixed race Stone (half white, half Pawnee) and blond hunk Luke, foreman of the ranch Stone improbably inherits from an aunt he never knew existed, may start off in a chilled relationship. But they evolve, ever so slowly and passionately, into a strong couple whose lives are surrounded by conflicts and emotions that neither can deal with at times.
The ups and downs of ranch life are splendidly detailed here as are the series of unfortunate events that strike the farm and the main characters as the plot moves on.
Toward the end there comes a resolution to a potentially explosive and tragic assignation between Stone and Luke from a surprising source that is a bit tough to swallow, but delightful in the way it eventually plays out throughout the rest of the book. No spoilers.
With this book and "Finding Forgiveness," the duo of Ari McKay has established itself as a brilliant chronicler of gay life in the Old West, and are now firmly ensconced at the top of my list of historical MM novelists.