Title: Belt Buckles & Cowboy Boots
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Totally Bound
Length: 210 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: 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.
Review: This book ran through all of the emotions and became a very hopeful story full of friendship, family and love.
Colby is so very lonely when we meet him living in a tiny little backwards town in Texas that doesn’t seem to have any place for an out and proud gay man. Isolated and feeling a bit the outcast you can’t help but feel sorry for him. When he meets Hunter all of his walls are firmly in place and he’s as prickly and ready to attack as a porcupine faced with a predator. And just like that porcupine, Colby is a gentle creature who just wants to be left in peace. Colby has been hurt and betrayed by people who should have loved and protected him.
Hunter is amazing. He works hard and helps his mom with his younger siblings, giving her most of his paycheck so that his family has enough to eat and a safe place to call home. He had to become a man at a young age to help protect and provide for his family and he does so happily. He tends to put himself last on his priority list.
When these two lonely men meet they can actually feel the current rush back and forth between them. Neither can seem to make the “smart” decision or keep to their promises to stay away. Hunter doesn’t even really try, he’s quickly pursuing more with Colby. Which was what Colby’s bruised heart needed. They quickly became each other’s support and strength.
Both of these men had so much love to give and needed to be loved so badly. Add in the intense sexual and emotional attraction and it was a perfect match.
All of Hunter’s reasons for being closeted make sense and almost all of his fears about what will happen prove to be true. With one huge exception that melted my heart and made a good book great.
A funny thing happened as these men opened themselves up to each other. They found that while some people really are cruel and small, there are many more who are willing to love and accept them just the way they are. And best of all they could have each other, openly and without fear.
The supporting cast of friends and family who proved themselves accepting was great. There were some great lines and moments that most people have experienced. A few times I found myself chuckling or nodding because of that sense of “been there”.
I really enjoyed this story. While there is a lot of homophobia (a few douche nozzles that aren’t worth the air they waste talking hate) and some serious things in the story, it was much more than that. This read as a sweet and sexy love story for me. Way more hope and happiness than ugliness.
A story of love, acceptance, loyalty, friendship, family and opening your heart to the people and opportunities around you. While some may let you down, there will be other hands that will reach to catch you.
Reviewed by Nina