A Prairie Dog’s Love Song by Eli Easton
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Part of Christmas Anthology, Cowboys, Porn, Contemporary
Length: 95 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Another in the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar Anthology.
The Official Blurb:
Ben Rivers always was a showman. He won awards in 4-H and rodeo competitions from the time he could walk, and he’s happiest in the spotlight. So when he got the chance to be a star—in porn—he took it. He still loves Montana and everything about being a cowboy, but when news of his alternate identity leaks out, he figures he’s lost the town’s goodwill forever. Clyde’s Corner would never accept an openly gay cowboy, even a hometown boy born and bred.
Joshua Braintree always had the notion that he and his best friend’s kid brother, Ben, would end up together. Ben’s always been a diehard cowboy, just like him: they need the land and its freedom as much as they need air. So when Joshua learns Ben moved away from their small Montana town to be a porn star in Vegas, he can hardly believe it. He’s determined to finally declare himself and bring Ben home.
Despite his longtime crush on Joshua, Ben won’t be as easy to tame as Joshua’s “lost cause” horses. It will take a lot of heart and holiday spirit for Joshua to convince Ben that even old prairie dogs can learn new tricks in the name of love.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Advent Calendar package “Heartwarming.”
First of all, I am now stuck with I Remember You in my brain – my go-to version has always been Frank Ifield.
This was such a sweet book. It took the brief of the holiday season and really did something, well, heart warming with it.
Joshua Braintree has a ranch in Clyde’s Corner, Montana. He runs cattle as well as horse rehab and riding. Chet Rivers has been his best friend, and Ben, Chet’s younger brother (by six years), tagged along and had a crush on Joshua growing up. He also helped out on Joshua’s ranch with the horse riding. But the last time he did that was two years ago when Ben was eighteen.
Joshua is a man of (very) few words and when the town arsehole and gossip, Henry Atkins, lets it be known the Ben Rivers is starring in gay porn, Josh has to see. Could it be true? He checks his laptop and sure enough Ben (Caleb) is one of the B2B boys, and he has plenty of videos up. Joshua is both shocked, concerned and a bit interested. Mostly, though, he wants Ben to come home and he wants Ben to be in his life. After he talks to Fred, Ben’s father, he knows he has to go to Vegas and convince Ben to come back to Montana. Ben loves the wide open spaces, he’s a good cowboy and rancher, and too many young people leave and don’t come back. Josh just knows Clyde’s Corner is where Ben’s heart really lies.
When Joshua goes to Vegas he and Ben meet and they end up being intimate, as Joshua feels staking his claim on Ben will show him just how much he wants him. How he sees him as a man, no longer Chet’s little brother. While the reunion is touching, and they are close, Ben feels that he can’t go back now. Henry made a big scene in Nora’s diner and people will never accept a gay man in town, let alone a gay-for-pay man. No, as much as he misses Clyde’s Corner, as much as he wants to be with Joshua and his family, he can’t go back there. Joshua tries to explain to Ben that they can be together in one way –
“And if I’m gay, then I’m gonna be that. I don’t want to be sneakin’ around and hidin’ it.”
“But you hide it. Lord, Joshua. I had no idea, and nobody knows you as good as Chet and me.”
“It’s like prairies dogs.”
Ben quirked an eyebrow at him.
“You see the holes. “N” you know the dogs are around, even if you don’t see the dogs themselves.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Gay. Cowboys. They’re there. Like a lot of single cowboys, they go into Billings once a month, only they ain’t there to see women. There’s no point in flingin’ yourself around in public, ‘s all.”
But Ben can’t hide who he is now and he doesn’t want to anyway. He isn’t ashamed of being a gay man. He doesn’t want to pretend he’s something he isn’t. And besides, Joshua can’t live as being out in Clyde’s Corner, so it’s pointless. Joshua leaves, but when he does a piece of him stays behind with Ben. He is sad, lonely, broken-hearted, grumpy, and misses Ben, but he doesn’t know how to fix it.
Both men spend months apart. In the beginning it is Autumn, and by the end it is Christmas and much has transpired in Joshua’s mind on how to get Ben back permanently in his life. Maybe he doesn’t have to be a prairie dog after all.
You primarily get Joshua’s POV in A Prairie Dog’s Love Song. There are a couple of Ben’s POV but not enough. This was close to being a 5 star read but I just felt a slight disconnect from Ben, and Ben and Joshua as a pair, after Joshua goes home from Vegas. But other than that, is it very charming and I enjoyed reading about this piece of the world and the people in it very much.
This is a very sweet offering from Eli Easton. There are some salt-of-the-earth characters in A Prairie Dog’s Love Song and some lovely dialogue in a country-minimalist, down-home kind of way. I feel it is quite an American novella, but I believe that was the author’s intentions, and I did love the colloquial charm it exuded. If you like a gentle romantic MM, without too much heat and angst, rather a bit of passion and a bit of heartstring tugging; along with some charming secondary characters thrown into the mix, this is highly recommended reading.
Review copy supplied by Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest review.