In this series of short tales, Willa Okati faces a big taboo, like the name of the series let it know: a twincest relationship. Heath and Vanner are two twin brother who live for each other; truth be told Heath lives for Vanner: when Vanner soon after high school decided to leave home for the life of the rodeo circuit bull rider, Heath left with him. Even then Heath knew that he loved his brother in a way that was forbidden: it wasn't just bad that Heath preferred men, he was also in love with his twin. For all these years Heath spent his time taking care of Vanner, sometime having a fast and dirty one night stand with a wandering cowboy, but then always coming back to Vanner. And Vanner was there, silent and strong, always looking to Heath with strange possessive eyes, but never telling anything... until a day when Vanner reacts almost in a violent way to a man who approached Heath. Vanner doesn't know what he is doing, but he wants to claim Heath, to make the man his and not letting him go. It will be not an easy relationship between them, they know that they can't be open and happy in a normal way, but they can be together at least.
I like both Heath than Vanner's character, since, even if they are twin, they are totally different: Heath probably is clever, more open and easy to be near to, but in a way, he is not strong enough to face the world alone. Vanner is a man of few words, brisk and skittish like a wild horse, but he sees everything, and when he can't express with words what he wants to say, he is willing, even if not skilled, to use his body. In this first chapter, the problem of society, of religion and even of family are not faced, but Heath and Vanner, and the reader too, know that they are just there outside their little world, ready to crash their newborn love.
Two for the Show (Taboo 2) by Willa Okati
While the first chapter in this series was told from Heath's point of view, in the second book we have the chance to know better Vanner, since all the story is seen through his eyes. Vanner loves Heath, but he realizes that his love is not normal, that if they are discovered noting will save them from going to hell, in more way than the biblical one. In the first book, truth be told, Vanner has not came out as a very clever character, he was the typical cowboy who loves his horse and his family, and maybe, his love for Heath was only an extension of that love: Heath was him, and what better way to have him all for himself than making him his lover? And instead in this second book maybe we have a second way to read the story: what if Heath is more deep and caring of what we supposed? what if his choice to surrender to Heath's love was only a way to satisfy his brother, to make him happy?
Vanner cares not only for his brother Heath, but also for their sister Marybeth, an autistic woman who behaves like a child. Vanner has more than one trouble in his mind, and having a sexual relationship with Heath only worsten things. Not that he doesn't like being with his twin, he has fantasies, and he would like to do more, but only if he was sure that no one else could wonder something, since he would never do something to put his brother in danger. Vanner is much more a complicated person than how he appeared in that first book, and also the series, with this second book, reaches a level of complexity that lacked in the first chapter.
Go, man. Go. (Taboo 3) by Willa Okati
With this novella ends the series of Heath and Vanner. Actually more than a series, the three novellas tell few days in the life of these two twin brothers who in few hours discover to be in love and that their world is crushing around them.
Heath has always been in love with his twin Vanner, and probably he chose the unstable life of rodeo men only to be near him. Vanner is a difficult man, he has great problem to express his feelings, but Vanner sees everything. To their problem of being gay in a world as the rodeo circuit that is not exactly accepting, you have to add also the fact that the twin are the only relatives alive of Marybeth, their older sister who has the mind of a child: if social services find out that they are dragging around a woman in that condition, they will probably take her from them.
The world in which Vanner and Heath are living, it's not the dreamy world of the rodeo circuit of romance; it's a dirty world, made of cheap motel and lack of money, a world in which they struggle even for a meal. And now their sponsor, a vicious man, is blackmailing both Heath and Vanner to have sex in exchange of his silence on them being gay. So no, this is not a light series of sexy cowboys written to entice the fantasy of romantic heart. But Vanner and Heath's relationship is so deep that their bond comes out from the pages in full strenght, like a punch in the gut.
In this last book, Vanner and Heath seal the last knot on their relationship, take the last step towards a direction without return. After this book, they will be no more able to forget and move on. It's an intense and moving story, that I believe it's better read one story after the other, to appreciate in full the strenght and impact of two not simple but very true characters.