Twice the Cowboy
James Buchanan
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Manuel Santos Fuentes was not the type of cowboy Jess Graff was used to. From the moment they met during the El Paso International Rodeo, Jess wanted the Charro. When Manuel is injured during El Paso de la Muerte, Jess seizes the opportunity to get his vaquero into bed. But cross-cultural misunderstandings and family feuds threaten to destroy their relationship before it really starts. Can two men from wildly different backgrounds overcome hatred and jealousy and learn to trust in each other?

Top:

I had a hard time getting into this story. I’m not interested in beer, rodeos, cowboys, Latin hotties, or the culture of the Southwest; I’ve never even watched Brokeback Mountain. Not to mention, I had difficulty adjusting to Buchanan’s “voice.” But LdDurham suggested it, so I slogged through. I’m so, so glad I did.

The sex is steamy, but not raunchy. The minor characters are not just an interuption, they actually have a place in the story and definitely add to the overall feeling of satisfaction. The story itself, the fullness of the characterizations, and even the writing (once I got used to it) are exemplary.

My only complaint is that I thought Jesse and Manuel fell in love far too soon, but I can still easily see why they would feel so strongly for one another so quickly.What struck me most profoundly is that, in this novel, Buchanan isn’t writing just another sexy romp, yaoi-style. The “seme/uke” stereotypes never have a chance to enter into the picture, and “top” and “bottom” only refer to who’s doing what during the sex scenes. Despite the fact that I’ve lost count of how many yaoi mangas, fanfics, and novels I’ve read, I can see now that I’d never read a real gay romance before, and I kind of feel as though I’ve crossed some milestone. The difference is awesome, inspiring, and so very emotionally satisfying. I have no intention of giving up yaoi, of course, but I definitely think that, based on this novel alone, I should go take a stroll through the rest of what Buchanan has to offer and see what else I’ve been missing.

I would need bells the size of Greenland to give this author the ringing endorsements he deserves.

Bottom:

I agree with CarvedWood: I am just not into cowboys. I’m not into the Southwest or Rodeos or anything else relating to “country”. So why did I pick this book up? Because I had had the happy luck to see the author at a panel at Yaoi Con and was incredibly impressed with Buchanan, so I picked up Twice the Cowboy.

The sex is hot. The very first love scene just hit me like I haven’t been hit in a long while. It’s very sensual and sexual without being porn. The writing was smooth, events played out nicely and at a good pace. The emotions were well portrayed and believable, as were the characters. They were strong and clear in my head as I read. I empathized with both characters and really began rooting for them pretty quickly.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that the author didn’t dumb anything down. The reader is just tossed into the story and given just enough to pick up what is going on. I like “fly on the wall” type stories. They are more intimate to me. I admit, sometimes I didn’t understand what Manuel was saying when he spoke in Spanish, but I wasn’t at any point lost. In fact, the only word I actually looked up was “Papi” just because I was curious.

My favorite scene, though… the one that made me go “Oh, yeah, I’m gonna like this” was the very first scene when the characters meet. Two cowboys in a cowboy bar full of cowboys and the reader is shown the “are you, aren’t you” dance. Subtle gestures, turns of phrases, body language, and long glances as Jess tries to determine if Manuel is being friendly or friendly. It was beautifully and very believably done.Buchanan did an excellent job in not only the sex and the characters, but also in the settings. I could feel myself hanging on a fence at the rodeo, or riding through the Mexican landscape. The best compliment I can give to this book, is that it made me curious in reading more cowboy stories. It peeled away a bit of the layer of “meh” that I had towards the western genre and I may end up reading another.

A word of warning when purchasing this book, though. I have to admit, buying this book was my first and only experience with Phaze, the publishing company, so I can’t make a blanket statement, but I will advise you to go very slowly through their check-out process. They do not have you verify your email address, the email address that they will be sending the book to. So, of course, for like the first time ever, I mistyped my address by one letter and didn’t get my book. And, unfortunately, they do not offer you the option to let you immediately download the book from their site. You can only get it from your email. And they do not let you re-download what you’ve already purchased. So, yeah, I had to buy it twice. Annoying, but in the end, it really was so very worth it!

EDIT: The publisher of Phaze commented very soon after I posted this.She offered to refund the amount or give me another book of same value. Very decent of her and I will be taking a closer look at what Phaze has to offer.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys real life, tough but loving men, and a bit of angst. Oh, and if you like hot sex, definitely get this book.

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