Bareback - Chris Owen

Ladymol's Review

I guess the highest accolade you can give a book is that youíd like it to be one you wrote. Well, Iíve found that one: Bareback by Chris Owen. This is the book Iíd like to have written. I almost find it hard to tell you why I loved it so much, because I actually lived this book rather than read it, so I canít quite divorce myself from it enough to explain. Iíll try.

Firstly, and not least, this book has the most toe-curling sex you are ever likely to read. Itís relentless, but never gratuitous, so go figure how she pulls that trick off! And given there are so many sex scenes, not one of them is repetitive, and every single one fits some aspect of the plot. Amazing. Read it and weep (lol).

The characters are the gay men women dream about. What I mean by that is these are real menócowboys, tough as they come, not a gay bone in their bodies, but they like to fuck men. Theyíre deep, silent, full of repressed emotions, vulnerable, funny, sweetÖ. I defy you to not fall in love with Jake and Tor.

The plot seems incredibly simplistic, and it is, but I swear, if anyone had stopped me reading toward the end, Iíve have expired. I sat up into the small hours desperately scrolling this story down the page (itís an e-book).

She can pull off angst like a pro in the world of amateurs. I actually felt a sickness in my heart when I read some of these scenes.† They were so emotionally painful and accurate.

Every single one of our reviewed books could learn something from the deceptive simplicity of this story.

Iím so glad itís an e-book because now itís on my hard drive and I can read it again and againÖ.

Give it a go. I promise you wonít be disappointed.


Cerisaye's Review

Chris Owen writes Jossverse fanfiction as Byrne.† This is her first OC slash pairing, two contemporary cowboys Jake Taggart and Mark Flynn, known as Tornado or Tor (something to do with tongue technique, to be polite).† The e-book came highly recommended by a friend who knows I adore gay cowboys.† Well I can honestly say itís one of the most enjoyable stories Iíve read from a long list, including some famous names.

Actually itís pretty damn perfect, just what I want in a book.† I donít think itís coincidence that my favourite books have been written by women- As Meat Loves Salt, Front Runner/Harlanís Race.†††

When I finished, I wanted nothing more than to start over because I couldnít let go of Jake & Tor.† I feel I could go to Arkansas to look them up on their ranch and theyíd be there.† Itís a wonderful gay romance where on the surface nothing much happens.† Thereís a slow reveal that builds into something that captivates because we feel we know these men and want so badly for them to make it work. I was lost until it was done.

The setting is Arkansas where Jake is a foreman.† At 35 heís happy and content with his life.† But he hasnít always been settled and calm, for Jake has a troubled past.† Family disapproval of his sexual preference, an abusive father and a mother who denied her son when he needed her most.† What saved Jake was being taken in by the owner of the ranch 13 years before and given a second chance.† The Boss became the father Jake never had, kind and understanding, sympathetic to his sexuality without making a song and dance about it.† True to the ethos of our other gay Westerns.

Jake is like Dakota Taylor, a hardworking cowboy who likes to be in control.† Tough and self-assured, he doesnít have to prove heís a man. Tor, 33, is stubborn and arrogant but hardworking and dependable, so when the hand goes missing in a Spring lightning storm Jake is worried.† But when he shows up to the rescue, Tor isnít exactly grateful, yelling and shouting with a real bad attitude that pisses Jake off.† So he punches him, hard.† Jake & Torr talk with their bodies: fun & games in the rain, with lots of physical contact and rampant hormones, unleashes a storm of passion leading to a super-charged night, and much more.†

Iíve been frustrated that the best stories, like Cap Iversenís, are annoyingly coy.† This book hits the spot in every respect.† Thereís hot hard sex.† Raunchy and achingly erotic, with delicious kink like smacking and bondage.† But also snuggling and kissage, sweetly tender and romantic, and it never gets repetitive or dull. I donít think it gets much better.

I felt early on the sex was overwhelming, like a string of porno sequences loosely linked.† Then I realised it WAS the story.† Jake & Torr are like Angel in that they donít do the talk thing too well. They use sex like sticking plaster to cover the gaps where they should be talking through problems and concerns. As the story progresses we're shown the fallout from this, and it works because we've been there with them, felt the heat of their passion and experienced their love. When sex is supplanted by fights and silences we know they're in trouble. We're on the sidelines knowing what's wrong but unable to do anything other than hope and pray they'll see sense before it's too late to fix.† Where would Angel be without Spike to make him see sense?

I liked the bunkhouse setting, with straight ranch hands initially wary of a gay couple in their midst, openly and noisily displaying their love, slowly coming round to the normality of a gay relationship, and ultimately doing what they can to help when things start to fall apart. It shows so well that if people see gay love as part of everyday life they realise that there's nothing wrong with it, and gay men are just like them.Itís remarkable for bringing in the menís families, particularly Tor's relationship with his niece. To give a child's perspective on a loving gay relationship shows a female touch. Children are more open and tolerant than their elders, until prejudice and hate are bred into them by intolerant adults, as shown by the character of James, Jakeís brother.

The book contrasts well with Brokeback Mountain. Jake & Tor are lucky they live in and love at a time more accepting of gay relationships.† They arenít trying to ape straight coupledom, and the law denies them that right anyway.† They have their own special way of binding their partnership:† they get penis rings, a powerfully symbolic way to say these are two men married in every way they can be.

If I had to choose a favourite from all our books, then this one would be hard to beat.† I know Iíll dip into it againÖand again.† Chris Owen is working on more Jake & Tor.† Read this novel then go beg for more.† Like I did.† Not to be missed.

Published by: Torquere Press.

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