Title: Belt Buckles and Cowboy Boots
Author Name: Bailey Bradford
Publication Date: March 13, 2015
Lessons learned from past betrayals can protect Colby Vincent’s heart, or cost him a chance at happiness he never thought to have.
Colby thought he’d never let anyone close again after being betrayed by everyone he loved, but one closeted, stubborn oilfield worker with a penchant for dressing like a cowboy seems determined to out himself and win Colby’s heart. It’s as if Hunter Talamentez walked right out of Colby’s fantasies and into the convenience store where Colby works.
But Hunter is closeted, and he’s never considered changing that. He’s got his homophobic cousin with him, a family that he knows won’t support him if they know the truth about who he is and a job where being out could get him hurt. He resigned himself to spending his life alone until he gets to know Colby. Then he embarks on a journey with Colby that will change their lives if only they both find the strength to take a few chances.
Nothing comes easily, and learning to give from the heart when that heart has been shattered twice before might be more than Colby is capable of. He isn’t sure about having more than a fling with Hunter, yet he can’t seem to stay away from the man, either. What was meant to be one night together turns into more, and Colby loses his ability to keep Hunter at the safe distance he’d wanted.
This is a very sweet story. A small story in the best possible way. In a genre cluttered with impossibly beautiful soldiers, cops and cowboys, there is clearly space for the story of a very ordinary convenience store clerk and an oil rig labourer.
For the most part, this story stays real and very well observed. I could feel the claustrophobic Texas heat and imagine the similarly claustrophobic atmosphere in the small town. Both Cody and Hunter’s struggles with isolation and poverty made them loveable and I genuinely felt for the two main characters and their circumstances.
Which brings me to the problems I have with the story. There is a fine line between a m/c evoking sympathy from readers and a m/c who comes across as pathetic. I’m not sure the lines are always clear in this story – which is fine, but much different from the usual m/m romance.
It is impossible for me to know how real the homophobia portrayed in the book actually is in small town Texas. I would hate for it to have been exaggerated as a plot device. For a European reader, some of the scenarios presented seem outdated by thirty years.
My final cringe is the trip to the medical clinic used to create tension – this is an enduring cliche in the m/m genre and I found myself disappointed. This book felt original up to this point. I was disappointed the author couldn’t imagine beyond the ordinary.
Having voiced my concerns, I’m back to praising the author for crafting a gentle little story about two endearing men and their struggles for love, friendship and survival in rural Texas.
I am a married mom of four who spends most of the day writing, either on stories or at the blog. I love to write as much as I love to read. I am generally quiet and laid back, choosing to let things slide off me rather than stick and irritate me.
And it’s really hard trying to think of descriptives for myself, so I’ll just let y’all e-mail me or comment at the blog if there’s something specific you’d like to know, and spare you from reading a boring bio:D