Long Tall Drink - L.C. Chase This was a 3+ read for me. I liked the story, the cowboys, the portrayal of ranch life, and the secondary characters, but there wasn't that extra je ne sais quois that would make it stand out and push it into 4 star territory.

Ray Ford is the (deeply) closeted owner of the Ford Creek Ranch. He picks up a "long tall drink of sexy" drifter who is hitchhiking his way to...(you guessed it!) Ford Creek Ranch. Turns out this mystery passenger is none other than Travis Morgan, legendary horse trainer...whispered "queer"...and well-known drifter with perpetually itchy feet. Ray knows that having Travis train Ford Creek's horses would be quite a coup - now, all he has to worry about is keeping his mind (and eyes...and hands...) off his temporary ranch hand. Toss into the mix a nice set of secondary characters, the tension emanating from the social pressure they both (but especially Ray) feel to keep their attraction and sexual orientation stifled, the dangers of living on a ranch, a vicious villain-type that triggers deeper character reflection for both of our cowboys, and some seriously heated chemistry that each is trying to resist, and you have yourself a good read.

One thing I wasn't in love with is the ending. Basically, there's a big surprise that rocks them both on their heels and shocks them both into their senses. Travis has a life-threatening accident, which is the impetus to his and Ray's recognizing that they cannot live without each other. I think this story could have done with a little more build up to the "I love you"s. There was a lot of chemistry and tension, and I could see that they were good together. I get it that this big surprise was like a wake-up call for how they were feeling for each other and what they were willing to risk to be together. Nevertheless, I still felt like the story might have been missing a step between their being physically intimate and their pledging to stay together forever. After reading through so much of their physical longing, I think we needed to see them get to know (and love) each other's personalities a little better before taking that plunge.

Even so, this was basically a good read. I found this author from the M/M "Don't Read In The Closet" compilation, which included the short story "Open Tackle." I sought out more because I liked the writing style and was impressed by the back stories created in such a short piece. My search led me to this book, and I don't regret the purchase.