elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Hard Ride Home by Emory Vargas

A Hard Ride Home by Emory Vargas
Bisexual Historical Romance
Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (June 17, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620045737
ISBN-13: 978-1620045732
Amazon: A Hard Ride Home
Amazon Kindle: A Hard Ride Home

It's hard enough returning to his birthplace to replace a dead man as sheriff. The last thing Emmett needs is to find himself smitten with Jesse, the whore he arrests almost immediately upon arrival. Especially since Jesse works for his half-sister and at her thoroughly disreputable saloon. But being smitten with a whore is only the beginning of Emmett's troubles. Silver Creek is a town full of secrets and people too terrified to talk. Why does Emmett's father, the mayor of Silver Creek, have such a strong hold on the town—and on Jesse?

This story felt like an alternate take on the old West. All the characters, heroes and villains alike were interesting, their faults and aspirations realistic and heartwarming. A great read!

Well, this was a novel that was entertaining, funny, and sexy in a way that was totally refreshing. A less-talented author would've made a mess of a story about a Sheriff and the male sex worker he falls for in the Old West. I also liked how the women were portrayed in a positive light without making them come across as saintly. Finally, I can only begin to imagine that some people might take issue with the fact that there are several shortish M/F (and, in one instance, an M/F with a M as a voyeur) scenes. For which I have to give this author lots of kudos. Given the setting (a very small town) and the fact that one half of the pairing is a sex worker, it only makes sense that there would be those kind of scenes in a book some people would consider an M/M. I liked that those scenes were not degrading to the women or unnecessary. All in all, this is definitely one of my favourite books I've read this year.  This is a book set in the town of Silver Creek sometime in the Old West era. Emmett Grady is the newly appointed Sheriff. He keeps running into Jesse Taggart, one of the sex workers for Ms. Devaux. There's a lot of banter as Jesse flirts with Emmett while keeping himself just out of Emmett's reach. But not everything is OK in the small town and soon Emmett discovers that it all leads back to the town's Mayor: his father. I hadn't expected for this book to be so much of a thrill ride (but it was!). Though just a smidgen short--it would've benefited from one transitional chapter between the final chapter and the epilogue--I really have very little to criticize. The one thing that bugged me was that no one in the book had any problems with men seeking out male company for sex. I'm not sure if this was because the Mayor himself was one of these men or if the author thought that adding a homophobic angle was too much. It's a smallish detail, really, but there we are. There was no question that this story happened in the Old West. I might've not been sure of which state Silver Creek was in (it could've been Colorado or Wisconsin, really), the author did a great job of making this novel an immersive experience. I felt the heat when people rode to and from the city, could feel the grit, and enjoy the naughty chaos of the brothel. A novel like this could only shine because of the wonderful characterization: everyone behaved like real people. For example, Emmett was a good person, but he wasn't perfect. Evelyn, his sister, came across as someone cold and calculating in the beginning, but she was also fair and ready to protect her girls and lend a helping hand when needed. Warren, Emmett and Evely's father, was brilliant in his horribleness. He was a villain through and through. My favourite character was Jesse. He was a flirt as well as stubborn, but he had a lot of heart and the kind of inner strength that can move mountains. I also enjoyed that he was happily bisexual, that he tumbled in bed with women with the same kind of enthusiasm as with men. He didn't apologize for his profession (if anything, he was blunt about it, at least with Emmett--probably to scare him off). The rest of the characters (Josephine, Delia, Christine, Roscoe, etc) had moments to shine as well. I can't quite my finger on what it is, but I really loved the narrative style of this novel. It was conversational without trying too hard, funny without being obnoxious, tender and loving where it needed it, and sharp during the action scenes. This novel is by a new-to-me author and, sometimes, it can take a bit for me to get into the story. But I was front and center before the end of Chapter 1. And a big reason for that was the prose style. Very clean and a joy to read.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2015

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