My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dave Lopes is a young, handsome, outgoing, charismatic man that is stationed out in the desert for voicing his opinions a little too broadly in his previous assignment. He’s careful to stay within the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell guidelines of the military but he’s not interested in quick gropes in the shower while hurrying not to get caught. He’s wandering a bit, still trying to find his niche, both in the military and his life.
Tate is a sexy, settled, and charming good old boy who has the look and feel of an old time cowboy. He’s living and working a piece of land, which has been in his family, trying to stay above the pressures of taxes, family, and loneliness. Sometimes it’s too much and he drowns his sorrows in liquor, feeling ancient despite his relative youth.
Dave and Tate first meet with Tate having drunk too much and Dave being a good neighbor and driving the drunk cowboy home, even way out to nowhere in Jackass Flats. The meeting, however ill fated, leaves a lasting impression upon both men and they are intrigued to renew the acquaintance after a chance meeting at a local restaurant.
Both men are somewhat loners, Tate by nature and Dave by circumstance, which leads to the start of a friendship and ultimately more. Tate is very tentative and old school, refusing to do more than kiss on a first, or even second date. Surprisingly, Dave is not overly frustrated or put off by Tate’s slower nature and a solid relationship is formed based on the deep friendship developed first.
Talbot weaves a charming, delightful story of these two men who slowly build their relationship and friendship day by day, with a slow burn of passion always simmering just below the surface. The chemistry is far from dormant, instead Tate simply lets the flames fan slowly and surely, building and building until the passion overwhelms them both. This insecurity of Tate’s (wandering youngster versus an older rancher) is handled deftly with a sensitivity and honesty that is refreshing to see with regards to sexy, settled cowboys.
Don’t let the slower pace fool you, all is not easy between Tate and Dave and they must handle military problems, past lovers, inherent differences and sexual frustration during the course of their coming together. Though these problems are largely hinted at and resolved, Dave is very good at reminding Tate all the reasons why he’s not as old as even he feels he is, injecting youth and vigor back into Tate’s daily life.
The pacing and evolving of the story and relationship suited Tate and Dave, lending a warmth and candor to the characters. Now that we’ve met and seen how they finally got together, I can’t wait for the next installment of these two characters. I have a feeling Dave will be keeping Tate young for a long time to come.