Tom Smyth goes on a romantic vacation with his boyfriend, Steve even when he should be looking for a new job. However, it seems the romantic vacation turns out to be a bust when Steve leaves him. Tom embraces the dude ranch vacation. Rex works on Rambling Cow Dude Ranch. He helps Tom learn all aspects of life on a dude ranch. The connection grows when Steve leaves. I liked how Rex seems to grab life and take a chance on Tom. The sex scenes were intense. Rex and Tom make a great couple. I found this book is very well written with overall plot that was believable. The main and secondary characters were interesting and I enjoyed seeing that they were not perfect. The characters had faults. At thirty-eight pages long, this story had a well-defined beginning, middle and end. The ending of the story was predictable but it was expected considering the length of the story. Overall, this was a great book.
Tom Smyth thinks he's on his way to a romantic vacation with his on again, off again boyfriend Steve. Steve has actually booked them at a Dude Ranch thinking something new will add spark to their love life.
Tom feels a spark alright, but it's for the gorgeous lead cowboy on the Rambling Cow Dude Ranch, Rex. Steve notices the attraction between the two and his jealously escalates until he takes off without Tom—leaving the city boy and the sexy cowboy to explore their obvious attraction for one another.
Be Warned: m/m sex
Steve hung back with the main group, and my sleepy little mare decided she was going to take the lead now. Maybe she’d just been reserving her energy for the ride, because she seemed much friskier once we were out in the open grass. Rex surprised me by riding up beside me at one point, his horse snorted and bounced around full of energy, apparently not liking the idea of slowing down.
“See, she’s a little perkier now,” he murmured, eyeing me and my horse.
“I guess she woke up.” His nearness was giving me ripples of excitement in my stomach. Had it been him last night watching us? He didn’t seem to give off any indication of being embarrassed around me.
“Horses are like people. You can’t tell much from the first meeting.” His husky voice was just loud enough to be heard over the cattle.
“I can read people from the moment I meet them.” I straightened my hat when it threatened to blow off my head as a small gust of wind hit.
“Yep.” I nodded. “It’s not that hard.”
“What have you been able to discern about me?” he asked, looking amused.
I was happy of the chance to stare at him without having to hide it for once. He had a tiny amount of stubble along his jaw line, and his black lashes were ridiculously long for a guy. “First of all, you’re obviously one of the smarter cowboys because you used the word discern.” I grinned.
“Oh I get it. You think cowboys are dumb?” he asked. “Should I have said ‘what did you done did guess ‘bout me, y’awl?’”
“Of course, and it would have been a nice touch if you were picking your nose while you did it.”
He chuckled and the warmth and tone of it tugged at my heart. “You’re mighty judgmental.”
“Nah. Just observant.”
“Would it surprise you to know I read a lot?” he asked. “Or even that I can read at all?”
“I’m guessing it’s mostly cereal boxes?”
“Very funny.” He narrowed his eyes as he watched me, and I felt that same little pulse of attraction snap between us. “I would be nice, if I were you.”
“Why? You gonna learn me a lesson in manners?” I asked with an exaggerated Texas drawl, having fun teasing him.
“Hmm.” He ran his eyes over my body, and he didn’t try to hide it this time. “What an excellent idea.”
I snorted at how obvious he was being. But his words excited me. “I’m not a very good student.” I hoped my voice didn’t sound as shaky as I felt at the ideas racing through me.
“Yeah, but I’m a great teacher,” he said softly. He gave his horse a gentle nudge and trotted up ahead. I watched him ride away and tried to ignore the fact that I was getting hard at the sight of his firm ass and strong thighs.
THE DUDE RANCH was a short story about finding happiness in an unexpected place at an unexpected time. Tom's boyfriend has booked them a vacation at Rambling Cow Dude Ranch to try to rekindle their relationship. The reason their relationship needs a spark is that Steve, Tom's boyfriend, can't seem to maintain monogamy. Tom, an office-dwelling city boy, isn't real excited about the idea of a Dude Ranch vacation, but he and Steve are good friends, so he is willing to give it a try. When they arrive, Steve quickly discovers a Dude Ranch vacation may not have been the right choice for him and begins complaining about everything. Surprisingly, Tom finds himself relaxing and truly enjoying himself, especially the time he is spending with Rex, the ranch hand. When Tom won't give into Steve's whining requests to go home early, Steve leaves without him. While Tom is initially upset, he quickly realizes there may be some advantages to being alone at Rambling Cow with Rex. The thing I enjoyed the most about this story was the open and uncertain ending. I sometimes struggle with reading romantic short stories because the author introduces us to characters and has the difficult task of developing honest feelings between the characters in a small number of pages. This author did not present us with a Happily-Ever-After but with a Happy-For-Now-Let's-See-Where-It-Goes ending. This type of ending for a short story feels more realistic to me. The characters both express their doubts and concerns about this instant attraction they feel towards one another, but both of them want to explore the relationship further and see where things go. This is more believable to me than characters who meet and the next day know they will love each other and be happy together forever. Another thing I liked was the honest explanation of Tom's commitment to his relationship with Steve. Rather than feeling annoyed with Tom for putting up with Steve's past and present behaviors, I found myself empathizing with Tom and his desire to save his friendship. Tom wasn't presented as a stupid, unlikable character who just allowed his boyfriend to treat him badly. Steve was simply annoying, but a good character for this story. This was a great short story written in a way I wish more short stories were--an introduction of characters, a peek at their attraction (and steaminess), an acknowledgement of the speed of the development of the relationship, and a hope for a happy ending.