Book Reviews

Never Stay Gone (Big Bend Texas Rangers 1) by Tal Bauer

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Law Enforcement / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 22-November-2021

Book Blurb

Six bodies in a single grave… in the same West Texas country where Dakota left everything behind.

Every beat of my heart belongs to you.

Thirteen years ago, Dakota Jennings thought he'd found his forever when he fell in love with Shane Carson. But one afternoon shattered their love story, and both Dakota and Shane left Rustler, Texas, with broken hearts. Even now, Dakota is still feeling the agony of losing Shane. Sure, he's a Texas Ranger, but that's not how he wanted to live his life. All he ever wanted was to love Shane.

Loving you is the only time I feel alive.

Shane's life was supposed to be different than this. There'd been a plan, ever since he was knee-high to his father. But falling for Dakota spun Shane's world upside down, and for years, Shane has had nothing but the memories of all that he lost: Dakota's gentle touch, and the sweetness of his lips, and the star-strewn nights they spent wrapped in each other's arms.

West of the Pecos, there is no law.

When the Rangers get the call about six bodies being pulled out of a mass grave in West Texas, the governor sends Dakota to run the investigation. Dakota heads back to his hometown and comes face-to-face with the last man he ever expected to see again: only now, he’s Deputy Shane Carson… Dakota's local partner assigned to the case.

There's nothing Dakota wants more than a second chance with Shane, but so much is stacked against them: six corpses, a murderer on the loose, and history that refuses to stay buried. And the bodies keep piling up as Dakota and Shane try to run the killer down across the West Texas plains.

In a moment, everything changes: the hunters become the hunted, the past fractures, and all Dakota thought he knew comes tumbling down. Secrets break wide open as Dakota remembers--

This is West Texas, and out here, nothing is as it seems.


Book Review

“…the sad part is, that I will probably end up loving you without you for much longer than I loved you when I knew you... But the truth of it is that the amount of love you feel for someone and the impact they have on you as a person, is in no way relative to the amount of time you have known them.” ~ Ranata Suzuki


After all these years, Dakota, of ‘Never Stay Gone’ by Tal Bauer, thought that the pain of losing Shane would have faded, but it still shapes his life in more ways than he is willing to admit. Instead of being with the man he loved, he is drifting, half alive, taking risks because he doesn’t care what happens to him. Without Shane, nothing matters.


Shane sent Dakota away because Shane was too afraid of his father to stay with him, but since then, Shane has been a shadow of a man. Regrets haunt his life, leaving him empty and unmotivated. His current relationship is in danger of falling apart because Shane can’t be the man his fiancée needs him to be, even with Viagra. When Dakota comes back to Rust to aid in a serial killer investigation, Shane can't help but see a glimmer of light in his otherwise dark world, a chance to explain what happened and why. From Dakota’s reaction, Shane’s efforts may be doomed from the start, but he has got to try.


Dakota hasn’t returned to Rust since he and Shane parted. He assumed that Shane had left too since he was headed to college, destined for bigger things. Dakota has no idea Shane is now a deputy sheriff and the man Dakota has to work with to solve a gruesome local crime. Dakota hoped never to see Shane again. He is not pleased, but there they are, forced to cooperate to get to the bottom of the atrocity that occurred in the hopes of bringing justice to the victims. As the investigation progresses, the more they know, the more there is to discover, and things take them in directions that no one could have predicted. Being forced to be with Shane challenges his resolve. He knows he still loves Shane, but does he dare trust Shane with his heart again?


‘Never Stay Gone’ is an action-packed thriller with many twists and turns that kept me guessing. The romance between Dakota and Shane was both heartbreaking and reassuring. I’m grateful they were able to resolve their differences and be together where they belonged. This book would make an exciting action/murder mystery movie! Thanks, Tal!




Disclaimer: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was purchased by the reviewer.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 361 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 09-October-2021
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link