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Paxton's Winter by T.D. McKinney

Paxton's Winter is an old classical western romance with the twist to be a male on male love story. But if not for this twist, all the other elements of a good western romance are there: the wealthy and cultured southern man with more ideals than better sense who chose to live in the Far West were he can be who he really wants to be (and due to that twist here it means that he was in love with not only a man, but also a black man); then the villain decided that he didn't like our southern hero, Paxton, and killed his lover Maddox (who was probably an interesting character, but since this is a novella, he is already dead when the story starts). Paxton, obviously, like a good Far West hero is searching for vengeance and the villain, as much as obviously, hires a payed killer... well, a bounty hunter, Zane, but there is not much difference. And since this is a romance, the outlaw falls in love for the bounty killer.

The story even if short, builds a very nice set up: Paxton is maybe a bit too much a romance hero, I don't know how many wealthy southern gay men were leaving in the Far West, but lately I found often in gay romances, that the Far West was a common destination for those men who wanted to run away from the strict rules of society. So maybe there were more than I believed and then, in places where the life for women was not so simple, maybe it was not so strange or talked upon if two men lived together, four hands were better than two, and you also saved wood for fire during the winter!

Anyway, the love story between Paxton and Zane is easy and natural, without regrets from any side, and they start it like something more than friendship but not yet love; two bodies in a snowstorm searching warm and comfort. But Paxton has an easy way, he is so comfortable with himself, that Zane is hooked since the first moment. Paxton is very much the son of the wealthy family he said he is; it's quite clear that he hasn't had many trouble in his life, and maybe for this reason what happened to Maddox is even more terrible, Paxton is not used to the nasty aspect of life. Where in a way or the other we have a bit of background of Paxton and of his preference for the company of men, we don't know much of Zane; it seems that he is not new at having experiences with men, but we don't know what is his past. Here maybe the fact that this is only a novella weights a bit, since I wouldn't mind to know something more on Zane, he is quite the mysterious man.

There is sex, a lot, but not so detailed; it's more romantic than erotic, I had to read two time the first sex scene to really understand if they did something or not. Not that I'm complaining about it, sometime I prefer less than too much, and in a novella lenght, I prefer a bit of story that endlessly sex scenes.


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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
Thank you, Elisa. I always appreciate your reviews.

Yes, I set out to write a classic Western. LOL - read too many Louis L'Amour novels as a teen. ;) So I'm glad it seemed like one to you.
Apr. 24th, 2009 07:28 am (UTC)
> read too many Louis L'Amour novels as a teen. ;)

I suspected so ;-) Good job on recreating the atmosphere. Elisa
Apr. 24th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
Nice review, thank :). I'm rather sceptical about the plausability of the West being more "accepting" of homosexuality in those times when today it's probably one of the places in the US that are still the most INtolerant of homosexuality..but anyway - suspension of disbelief. Looks like a nice story. Jamie Craig also have a story about a bounty hunter falling for his male captive. Love that storyline :).
Apr. 24th, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
Yes, I read the Jamie Craig one. They have element in common, but this one is more "sweet" the other one more "sexy". I don't know about the "acceptance", maybe it was only a question to be so few people around, that no one questioned... Elisa
Apr. 25th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
The West was no more accepting of homosexuality that anywhere else at the time. However, the population was extremely sparse, women were rare, and there was a code of not being nosy about other people's business. Pax and Zane were very aware that their "peculiarity" could get them hung or shot and mention it a couple of times. Living on a ranch several hours ride from the nearest town also makes it easier to hide who you are from all but a very select handful of people you could trust.

T. D. McKinney
Apr. 25th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
So yes, it's more a question that, you mind your business and you have to do what you have to with what you have in your hand... Elisa
May. 7th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Very good point about the "few people around". Somehow it completely eluded me :-D Thanks. And thanks for the comparison with the Jamie Craig! I still haven't read either book.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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