Book Reviews

Cedarwood Cowboy (Cedarwood Pride 11) by Megan Slayer at Pride Publishing

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 20-October-2020

Book Blurb

Two men, one crush and a circumstance they can’t ignore.


Evan Conley left Cedarwood with dreams of fame and fortune. Twenty-five years and one hit song later, he’s now Evan James. He sings songs and electrifies crowds, but he’s got to come home. His grandmother is dying. To make matters worse, the man handling his grandmother’s estate is none other than his high school crush, Mick Ryan.

 

Mick Ryan wasn’t thrilled to see Evan James return to Cedarwood. He never got over his crush on Evan and isn’t sure being thrown together will do them any good. But Evan isn’t the man he seems and Mick’s desire hasn’t extinguished with time. Can these two men, seemingly opposites, find their mutual attraction is more than enough to make their love grow?

 

 

Reader advisory: This book contains expressions of homophobia, and a theme of death and mourning.


Book Review

Here’s the line: watch me cross it!

 

TREACLE defined (Oxford Dictionaries)

1. a thick, sticky dark syrup made from partly refined sugar; molasses. British

2. cloying sentimentality or flattery: "enough of this treacle—let's get back to business"

 

This is volume eleven in the ‘Cedarwood’ series, and having reviewed the prior four, I may now be entitled to take criticism most seriously. Through twists and turns, Ms. Slayer has taken her fictional town and its citizens into a world of treacle. Nonetheless, for those readers who are addicted fans, or may just be irresistibly drawn to marginally believable soap operas, 'Cedarwood Cowboy' still is a wonderful, palliative bit of treacle!

 

First, the story’s time line frequently seems wacky. Evan left Cedarwood twenty-five years ago – perhaps as young as eighteen? So he would be about forty-three. Mick was several years younger, and so he now may be approaching forty. How do we explain Evan’s current recollection of a past attraction to Len when Len was, let’s say, then only fifteen? And why would that memory be so enduring? Of course, for literary balance, Mick also had an unrequited crush on Len. Wackier!

 

Next, our beloved Cedarwood, through ten previous volumes, has evinced at lest a substantial portion of the populace with fairly liberal views of the gay life which seems to have flourished there. Yet, today, that sexual subgenre seems subject to vocal criticism from many Cedarwood citizens. Ms. Slayer reinforces that milieu with an almost gratuitous recall of Evan’s gay great uncle, who was exiled to a sad end. Even Mick’s law partner is, if not homophobic, at least smugly gay-disrespectful.

 

Len’s dying grandmother has preplanned not only her funeral, but also a dating arrangement between grandson Evan and lawyer Mike. The former has played as straight for his entire performing music career, and the latter – though out, is a Cedarwood resident in a small town in which ‘(N)othing was happening there and they tended to hate the gay community.’ [Perhaps Ms. Slayer should reread the presumptions of her own earlier installments.]

 

So many oddities. Example: During his flight to Cedarwood, Evan, deep in thought, ‘hadn’t noticed the plane stopping.’ Really? Example: Not having seen Mick for twenty-five years, and despite being ‘virtual strangers,” Len finds Nick put together, smelling good, so handsome. Such sentiments and instant blizzards of pheromones are more typical of afternoon ‘soaps for seniors and spinsters.’ [to whom I offer my apologies.] Ugh! And such platitudes: Grandma was going to be reunited with her late husband, Clem. And Grandma is reported to have wanted Len to return, settle down, and work the farm.

 

Grandma purportedly knew Evan was gay when he was only fifteen, even before he figured it out for himself. Though barely remembering each other, Evan uses Mick as a sounding board for talking through his grief. This all thrills Mick who, despite living in an ideal Midwest gay mecca, hadn’t spent much time with a decent single guy!

 

Enough. On the way to an assured HEA, and after some preliminary (and solo) sexual exercise, the heroes go for it – in magnificent, detailed frenzy. It occurs so quickly in the story’s time line as to match any passing gay barroom pickup. [Aside: This isn’t meant to be a pejorative comment, as I was once young, raunchy and socially active – but, for a mainstream gay romance story, this coital coupling may seem much too urgently hormonal and less emotionally involved.]

 

While Evan is surely no virgin, he finally realizes the ability to “be himself”. That leads to but an example of Ms. Slayer’s ability to strongly engage and titillate with a keyboard at hand. [“Fuck me,” Mick murmured. “I need you.” “Soon.” … Then he grabbed a rubber and a bottle of lube. … “Naughty.” … “Yes, … Fuck me, Evan. Prep me. God, I need you.”]

 

Back to our small town, where sexually repressed parents worry this gay couple will proselytize their children, neighbors are unsure, his late great-uncle’s lover comes to find solace. Ms. Slayer’s recipe is replete with so many tasty ingredients. Example: Bless her, she has great expectations – or wishful thinking - for the very short refractory duration before her principals are ready to repeat. Another example: She provides a penultimate scene of mixed parties and their confused interests, such as could have been staged by the Marx Brothers.

 

For the literary coda, Mike states his love and commitment to Evan, stating panegyrically, “I’ll follow you anywhere.” Not to be outdone, Evan speaks bathetically at his dead Grandma’s grave: “Grandma, I’m happy. … You were right. Mick is the one I’ve been waiting for.

 

Treacle will always out!

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Pride Publishing for the purpose of a review.

 

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 143 pages/36457 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-October-2020
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/cedarwood-cowboy