“Cowboys Don’t Come Out” by Tara Lain is a contemporary m/m romance story featuring Rand McIntyre, whose forced vacation to Maui with his parents has unexpectedly pleasant consequences. Unwillingly driven to pursue his attraction to Kai Kealoha, Rand discovers the complex Hawaiian cowboy has plenty of secrets of his own, and their relationship may end before it can even begin, especially since they are both in the closet.
There are certain things I can depend on when I read one of this author’s stories, including sexy caring males with plenty of baggage, and a learning curve as each has to learn about the other’s lifestyle. I am always amazed that she is able to adeptly address poignant and serious issues in a way that acknowledges the pain and angst that accompanies them without making the reader feel overwhelmed and weighted down by them. Her main characters all share determination and tenacity, and I was particularly enchanted by the humility and loving nature displayed by these guys, even as I regretted the pressures that made them afraid to admit their attraction. There are a couple of awkward scenes that seemed a bit forced, but the overall story gave me a warm fuzzy feeling even as it reminded me of the beauty and history present in the Hawaiian Islands, not to mention the fascination that horses seem to engender in people of all ages. This was a wonderful way to armchair travel while enjoying a sensual and heartwarming story that required a tissue or two, but had such charismatic secondary characters that I hope to see them all again at some point.
Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii, with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.
Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.