Z.A Maxfield is an auto buy for me but what really drew me to this book was that I read a review by someone, from a blog site, who said she did not finish this book but preceded to write what amounted to a bad review. This was followed up by people saying they would give the book a miss based on this part review of an unfinished read. This book had not even been published at the time! I felt this was an extremely unfair attitude and was pretty pissed off about it actually. However, I also wanted to find out what had drawn such strong reactions. I’m contrary like that and happily, I found a gem.
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Intermix Books. The Penguin Group (USA)
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Can love conquer all?
Jimmy Rafferty and Eddie Molina go way back at the J-Bar ranch. They’ve worked together, bunked together, camped out, and drank together. So how has Jimmy failed to notice that Eddie is gay? Eddie has not failed to notice that his friend has a serious drinking problem, and he’s determined to help Jimmy kick the booze cold turkey. Taking him up to a snowbound cabin to detox, Eddie is confronted with Jimmy’s fierce denial. But the pains of withdrawal are nothing for Jimmy compared with the heartache of denying his true feelings and his deep longing…for the one man who cares for him more than anyone else on earth.
This is a standalone novel but the reading experience is probably enhanced by reading ‘My Cowboy Heart’ first. However, I had not when I read ‘My Heartache Cowboy’. This meant I came to this novel with no preconceived notions other than that I had always enjoyed this author’s work. I do love a cowboy story and usually like my cowboys buff, young and hot. You know the thing, angsty story incorporating hot sex and HEA. So when I started reading this novel, I feared I might be disappointed. The majority of this book is a ‘two hander’ featuring mature cowboys ‘Eddie’ and ‘Jimmy’ who have worked and lived, together on the ‘J-Bar’ ranch for fifteen years. By ‘lived together’ I mean in the ranch hand’s bunkhouse and here lies the crux of this story really.
Events have pushed a decision to a head for Eddie and he ‘kidnaps’ his buddy Jimmy, to put him through a cold turkey withdrawal and detox from alcohol. He takes him to an isolated cabin owned by his very good friend, a urologist, ‘dick doctor’ Don. The novel is written in first person from Jimmy’s point of view, which I think is inspired. It allows the reader to know the devious machinations of the alcoholic mind, from the inside. The novel is about the twists and turns of recovery, not only from the daily struggle against alcoholism but also events that have shaped these cowboys’ pasts and continue to threaten their future.
Eddie is a forty three year old, loving and lovable cowboy, he’s handsome and muscular in a believable way and a lot of his beauty comes from character and is revealed to us through the eyes of his beholders. Who is not beautiful in the eyes of those who love them best? Jimmy is thirty eight and on the gay side of bi and blind to his own problem with drink. He is also blind to the fact that he is hurting his beloved, best friend and to the fact that, his best friend, Eddie is gay. Part of this well written struggle between two flawed but loveable cowboys includes Eddie’s long time friend with benefits, Don. He is a gorgeous, fifty something wealthy, married doctor who is gay and has a very sophisticated relationship with his wife and children, where all parties are accepting and happy.
The relationship between Eddie and Don is long standing and passionate. There is love but not of the partner for life variety, I found it rather refreshing and when Jimmy is introduced to the equation, very hot but also caring and supportive. A complex relationship forms between the three, which is gentle, caring and sometimes unbelievably sexy! Yes, there are several menage scenes and I loved them. They weren’t gratuitous, they weren’t sleazy, I found them hot but also humourous, thoughtful and definitely required for the plot. Don’s family is introduced and interacts with the cowboys and it was so good to see acceptance with happy women and children! The storyline is definitely about Eddie and Jimmy but the peripheral characters weave around them, creating a three dimensional world waiting only for Jimmy and in some ways Eddie to recover from their blindness and see the HEA waiting for them. This is an unusual ‘Cowboy Novel’ and a true gem. Thoroughly deserving of 5*.
Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.” Her published books include Crossing Borders, Epic Award finalist St. Nacho’s, Drawn Together, ePistols at Dawn, Notturno, Stirring Up Trouble, and Vigil.
All Romance eBooks
I would like to thank Penguin (USA) for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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