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Friday, May 27, 2011

Two Sides of the Same Coin by Jake Mactire

Two Sides of the Same Coin by Jake Mactire
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (348 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play, BDSM, Spanking
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Clematis

Leaving his boyfriend behind in San Francisco, cowboy and struggling artist Jeff Connelly returns to the family ranch after his father’s death and meets the man who will become a large part of his future: ranch hand Mike Guidry. Mike starts out cynical, bitter, and very unfriendly, but he warms to Jeff when he realizes Jeff just might be the friend he needs.

Life on the ranch is as hard as Jeff remembers: he has to deal with cattle rustling and the stress of hoping the business will break even while he weathers changes in attitude from the locals, harassment, prejudice, and betrayal. Jeff and Mike will embark on a plan to secure the ranch’s future, try to find a way to live and love together, and discover that they’re more alike than they’d ever have dreamed.

There’s just no getting past it; first and foremost, this is a love story! One that will linger and replay on your mind, when you least expect it…

I love that I related to Jeff and Mike. These two hot cowboys and the problems they faced were realistic. Those problems require solutions, there are compromises that have to be made, conflicts to face, plans that may need changing and on top of all that, a ranch to run. Their personal attitudes and ideals, past experiences and how it influences their present and any future they make together, is tested. As the title suggests, they are in many ways, two sides of the same coin but from vastly different backgrounds and experiences. For Mike, confronting those demons and accepting his sexual preference and the man he’s become, is huge!

I really liked that the attraction and their eventual coming together is a gradual thing. Jeff is still in a relationship in the beginning and though it’s been going sour for some time, he’s not into jumping into bed with the first guy that gives him the eye. It’s so satisfying ‘watching’ as these two feel the power of their attraction for one another. How it builds and builds continually until they can no longer deny how they feel and making love is the ultimate expression. They’re men. More, they’re cowboys, rough and tough, strong and capable, so it’s even more thrilling to watch a love tender, new and a little scary, bring these boys to their knees. It makes the characters all the more real because of it. You can’t help but identify with them and hope that they have what it takes to make a future together.

There’s friendship, camaraderie, danger, murder and mayhem, especially when cattle rustlers threaten the very viability of the ranch and the lives of those living there. It’s about ‘sticking together,’ helping each other through the tough; building solid foundations and strengthening the bonds of friendship. It’s about courage. Courage to grab and hold onto something real and precious, even when there’s fear you might be wrong, yet finding the courage and strength to do it anyway. It’s about intolerance and injustice; prejudice resulting from fear and hatred, how those challenges define and direct the characters and the choices they make. Last but not least, it’s a story that reminds us, that life is a journey. A journey, that if we’re really lucky and want it bad enough, we might just get to share it with someone who makes us complete.

Jake Mactire brings this story to life with an affinity you can’t help but empathize and relate to. He draws you in with a subtlety that will make you grin -when you realize you’re half way through it and wondering where the time went! It’s simple in it’s message yet well told and sincere. As my first gay romance, I had no idea how I’d feel about the explicit sex. I found it sensual, erotic enough to burn down the house and convincing. It was love and that’s always beautiful in my book! Don’t miss this gem!

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