The Tin Star by J.L. Langley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a sweet read, with the right amount of angst (not too much, thankfully) to prevent it from being completely unrealistic.
Dark-haired, blue-eyed, 21-year-old cowboy Jamie Killian is tired of hiding his sexuality and decides to tell his father he's gay. Unexpectedly (to Jamie), his father not only gets the shock of his life but throws him out of the house. Confused and hurt, Jamie is pondering what to do next when Ethan Whitehall, his older brother John's best friend, offers him a place to stay and a job in his ranch, the Tin Star. Naturally, something is bound to happen between Jamie and Ethan soon enough because, unbeknownst to everyone but John and Julia (John and Jamie's sister), Ethan is gay too. A very closeted one, but gay nevertheless. At first, Ethan is wary of getting involved with Jamie, but there's no resisting the young man's charms. However, not everyone in town is happy with having an openly gay man around. Will Ethan come out of the closet and stand beside Jamie against the town's bigots? Will they be able to find their HEA in their hometown? Or will they have to leave and find it somewhere else?
I loved strong, protective and no-nonsense Ethan. I adored headstrong, impulsive and fun-loving Jamie. They were so sweet together! Not even the slightly big age gap between them - Ethan is 11 years older than Jamie - bothered me, because they fit each other. (Cliché, I know, but still true.) There was little conflict in their relationship, which doesn't mean that there was no conflict in the story. Those were caused by other people, namely Jamie's father and some of the town's homophobic troublemakers.
As for the plot, it had some holes. Some were easy to forgive and ignore, as I'm prone to do when I love the characters in the story, but there was one that bugged me big time:
********** SPOILER ALERT **********
When Jamie was born, his brother John was 11 years old and his sister Julia was 9 years old. I can't believe they didn't know Jamie wasn't their mother's son! How did they fail to notice that she was never pregnant in the months before Jamie's sudden "delivery"? If John and Julia had been younger, I could have bought that, but there's no way an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old were that gullible.
********** END SPOILER **********
All things considered, I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading more from this author - especially the next book in the series, featuring Sheriff Hunter. Yum!
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