Ben Rivers always was a showman. He won awards in 4-H and rodeo competitions from the time he could walk, and he’s happiest in the spotlight. So when he got the chance to be a star - in porn - he took it. He still loves Montana and everything about being a cowboy, but when news of his alternate identity leaks out, he figures he’s lost the town’s goodwill forever. Clyde’s Corner would never accept an openly gay cowboy, even a hometown boy born and bred.
Joshua Braintree always had the notion that he and his best friend’s kid brother, Ben, would end up together. Ben’s always been a diehard cowboy, just like him: they need the land and its freedom as much as they need air. So when Joshua learns Ben moved away from their small Montana town to be a porn star in Vegas, he can hardly believe it. He’s determined to finally declare himself and bring Ben home.
Despite his longtime crush on Joshua, Ben won’t be as easy to tame as Joshua’s "lost cause" horses. It will take a lot of heart and holiday spirit for Joshua to convince Ben that even old prairie dogs can learn new tricks in the name of love.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package "Heartwarming".
©2013 Eli Easton (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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"Not my favorite Eli Easton but it was decent"
Maybe 2.5 stars for the story, 3.5 stars for the narration, averaging to 3 stars overall.
Gah! I'm so bummed. My first Eli Easton story that I haven't gone gaga for. I guess it was bound to happen sometime.
I honestly think that this story tried to do too much in too short a span of time. Imagine a story successfully blending cowboys, friends-to-lovers theme, porn stars element, and coming out all in 95 pages. It's hard, right? And picture that story with minimal sex content and a holiday backdrop to boot. My head was spinning trying to keep up.
I think my main problem is that though the story was fine, I didn't actually care about any of the characters. I though that the switch from friends to lovers was way too fast with too little buildup. I didn't get to know these guys as people and I didn't care much about them as a couple. I like more slow build, more character development. I feel like I got just bits and pieces of that instead of something more complete.
As far as the narration goes, I think that Michael Stellman did a nice job. He didn't have a large range of voices but I liked his expressiveness and how he sounded age appropriate. I enjoyed listening to him and I would get another audiobook by him.
Overall, an easy listen but not what I expected from this author.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
"Short, sweet, holiday story"
I read the ebook version several months ago and enjoyed it. But that was before I discovered Michael Stellman, so naturally I had to get the audio version as well.
This is a short story. And even though Ben is a porn star when the story starts, thee are no explicit scenes either with other characters or with Joshua. They do have a steamy make out session once Joshua decides to see Ben in Las Vegas. The HEA ending was perfectly sweet and fluffy. Will likely be listening to this one again during the holidays or anytime I feel like listening to something short with a narrator I enjoy and a decent cast of characters.
Michael Stellman did a great job narrating the story, even giving characters a Southern twang. I love his tone and pace during the narrative parts and dialogue.
"Short and sweet"
This is a really sweet listen about two cowboys coming to grip with their sexuality and their feelings for each other. No real surprises, not a lot of backstory, a little angst and a lot of sweet moments at the end. This narrator does a great job and really pulled me into the story. A enjoyable Christmas listen. Not worth a credit but great at under $5.00
"short, sweet, holiday, cowboy, ex-porn star story!"
Ben wants something more from life. He finds the “more” in Vegas, where he does gay-for-pay porn, figuring no one from home would ever see him there, it’s a way he can quietly make some money while figuring out what he wants to do in life. But… of course someone at home does see him. Now he figures he can never go home again, because even though he “isn’t gay”, it was still gay porn.
Josh had been biding his time, waiting for Ben to grow up, then he figured the two would have a quiet, clandestine relationship like all the other gay ranchers he knows. But when he sees the porn he realizes he may need to act fast or lose him forever.
Josh chases Ben to Vegas, they hook up spectacularly, but then Ben breaks Josh’s heart when he tells him he doesn’t want to live in a closet and won’t go home to be his dirty secret. Josh is a rancher, he can’t leave the small town he’s known forever, and he doesn’t think he can leave the closet.
Josh has to convince Ben that he can come home and that being home will be everything he needs. To do this he has to admit a lot to himself and the town.
This is a short, sweet, vaguely holiday themed OFY/cowboy/porn star story. Yup. It’s all that. And a bag of chips.
Eli Easton, one of my top three all time favorite authors, does another amazing job of packing a whole lot of story into a small package. She’s a master at conveying deep emotions and telling a broad story with a few well chosen scenes to move the reader along. You don’t ever feel cheated, sure you wish it were longer (what good book do you ever want to end?) but it is still an infinitely satisfying story with a very solid HEA.
I highly recommend this book and give it a 4.75 of 5 stars. (I had to deduct a teensy bit because I wanted to see them at least one more time as a couple before saying good-bye.)
Michael Stellman did a very nice job with the narration. He didn’t do a lot of fancy voices, but his voice is crisp and clear, he is easy to listen to and is the type of narrator that lets the story shine through. I enjoyed his narration here and in others and would not hesitate to listen to him in the future.
4 of 5 stars.
4.5 stars – I loved it
"Beautiful written book."
As a guy who lives and grew up in Montana, this book is a way of life that still happens around here. I wish I could find love but it is rather hard up here. it is just to beautiful to leave such a beautiful place. the author did a great job writing this beautiful book
Flat character development, incomplete plot devices. There just was not enough meat to be worth the credit. Seemed like a rush to print...
"Classic Eli Easton bit of Christmas' sweetness."
Really enjoyed this book, the narrator really nailed the two main character's voices. As Joshua, he managed to deliver the struggle to put his thoughts into words, and as Ben, the middle point between innocent and sensual young-man-who-got-away.
Would have been 5 stars if it were just a bit longer and showed a bit more about the characters in the background, namely Chet and the other cowboys.
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