Author: Dale Chase
Publisher: JMS Books
Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/18/2015
Length: Short Story (<15K)
Genre: Crime Fiction, Erotica, Gay, Historical, Western, Winter Holiday
Young Roy Shuster served five years in the Yuma, Arizona, prison, and when he’s released on December 24, 1889, he revels in freedom at last. A local man, an ex-convict, takes him in and teaches him lovemaking.
But Ray can’t abide the prison’s proximity and moves on to Tombstone where, despite a growing interest in a rancher named Clay Bowman, he causes more trouble than good. Can Clay see past Roy’s youthful impulsiveness, even when it lands him in jail?
As with other stories I’ve read by Dale Chase, these characters are plain spoken, direct, and don’t waste time getting down to business. Course, in the case of Roy Shuster, you’ve just been released from prison and, in the case of Abram Dorn, the first person Roy meets once freed, you’ve had a similar experience. I can understand the not wanting or bothering to wait.
Also typical of Chase’s characters is how unapologetically real and raw they are. I mean, this is 1889 in the wild west, Yuma specifically. Delicate manners aren’t exactly widely practiced amongst some. Even in the story’s simplicity, she gives these characters heart, clear intentions and hopes, and represent regular folk, young and old, hairy and not so much.
I got a combined sense of tongue-in-cheek and sweetness while reading this, and I grinned no matter which, or maybe both, was the author’s intent.
Here’s what I mean:
He then collapsed beside me and slept. I lasted but a couple more minutes, during which I petted that fur.
With the very next paragraph starting with:
When I woke the next morning, there was Abram propped on one elbow, looking at me. “You’re a beauty,” he said. “Don’t suppose anyone ever told you, but they should have.”
Cheeky and sweet. 😉
Roy’s twenty three years old and wanting to move on after his release from the 5-yr stint. He does so and heads to a new town and new people. And maybe new experiences. It’s not easy but it’s what he feels he has to do.
Chase’s writing style can take a bit of getting used to, sometimes reading staccato with too-short sentences, making things feel obvious. She makes up for it in the storytelling, though, dropping those subtle, gentle surprises here and there. This is especially well done when involving a character making a decision, or revealing an emotion that adds to their complexity.
This is one of the sweeter Dale Chase stories I’ve read, not as dark or bleak as some of them can be. This didn’t bowl me over but it did make me smile and, despite their past mistakes, I like these characters. No one is perfect, after all. Maybe this is Chase’s idea of a Western Merry Christmas. 😉
”We do right well by each other.”
I would like to thank the publisher 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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