Title: Pickup Men
Series: Pickup Men, Book 1
Author: L.C. Chase
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: July 8, 2013 by Riptide Publishing
It takes a pissed-off Brahma bull named Shockwave to show rodeo pickup man Marty Fairgrave the cold hard truth about champion bull rider Tripp Colby: Tripp will never leave the safety of his closet or acknowledge Marty in public. Sometimes loving someone just isn’t enough, and after a year of hiding what they are, Marty finally sees the light—and it’s no longer shining on Tripp.
Tripp Colby would do anything for Marty. Well . . . almost. He’s never loved anyone before, and isn’t quite sure how to handle it now. But he knows Marty is his everything, and in order to win him back, Tripp will have to overcome his darkest fears and step into the light.
But no matter Tripp’s intentions, the cost might be too high and the effort too late for these two cowboys to ride off into the sunset.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Very good cowboy MM romance with a unique set up of one lead’s self-acceptance before accepting his romance with the other lead. The ending fizzled a bit for me but I’d still recommend it.
The Set Up: Marty is injured saving his secret lover, Tripp, who doesn’t even come over to see him off to the hospital for fear it would out them as a couple. Marty has had enough and ends it with Tripp. Trip wants to be the man Marty needs but his fears may make it impossible for him to step into their relationship.
Why I Read this Book: I unabashedly love MM cowboy romance.
What I Liked: I really loved this set up for a romance. This isn’t about two people meeting, falling in love and living HEA. It’s what happens if two people build a secret relationship and one says that’s no longer enough. For me this allowed for some unique relationship development. Marty loves Tripp and Tripp loves Marty but Marty needs a life partner, not someone for midnight trysts. As a reader I simultaneously rooted for Marty as he ended it with Tripp and felt his pain at the loss. I think the author did a great job of not villainizing Tripp, which could have easily happened, but instead shows readers why he’s so fearful of coming out. When Tripp finally tells Marty what his deep fears are, it was an incredibly intense scene that will have romance fans sighing.
What I Also Liked: As much as I liked the characters and the romance, I love the novel’s message of self-acceptance even more. Marty is fortunate that he’s always had a support network of people who love him: his best friends and rodeo buddies as well as his loving family. I loved watching Marty with his friends and family. But the novel’s real story of self-acceptance is Tripp’s journey. Tripp wants to be with Marty without dealing with the issues he has but Marty wisely, and with self-pain, sends Tripp on his journey of self-acceptance. I love this as it’s too rare in romance where instead the love of your “other half” is supposed to “fix” someone. This book takes the other approach that characters (and people) need to love and accept themselves before they can be in a healthy relationship. This is my personal belief so I loved seeing it reflected in a well-told romance.
Finally, can we please get the romance between Marty’s rodeo friend and the New York paramedic STAT!?!
What I Didn’t Like: This short novel had lots of drama and it didn’t need the final one, in my opinion. Tripp says something to Marty to push him away one last time and keeps the men apart for months, and then it’s suddenly fixed in a quick “intervention” by Marty’s friend. This made me feel like the romantic tension was forced into the drama category for the sake of prolonging the story. It wasn’t necessary and the denouement happened so quickly that it lacked the intensity I expected from the previous 150 pages of the novel.
IMO: Even though I didn’t love the contrived ending, I still recommend this very good and uniquely told MM cowboy romance.