Reviewed by Shelley & Katinka
TITLE: Nowhere Ranch
AUTHOR: Heidi Cullinan
PUBLISHER: Loose Id Publication
LENGTH: 240 pages/68,143 words
BLURB: Roe Davis is a man who works hard, keeps to himself, and never mixes business with pleasure — until he takes a weekend away from his new job at Nowhere Ranch and runs into the owner at the only gay bar for two hundred miles. Getting involved with the boss is a bad idea, but Travis Loving is hard to say no to, especially when it turns out their kinks line up like a pair of custom-cut rails. As Loving points out, so long as this is sex on the side, no interfering with the job, they could make it work.
The truth is, there’s good reason Roe never settles down and always spends his birthdays and holidays celebrating alone. Shut out in the cold by his family years ago, Roe survived by declaring he didn’t need a home. As his affair with Loving grows into more than just sex, Roe finds out what happens when he stays put a little bit too long: the past always catches up with you. Eventually, even a loner gets lonely, and home will grow up through whatever cracks you leave open for it — even in a place called Nowhere.
Excuse us a moment while we flush the dirt from our eyeballs. Because not only are these cowboys the rough, tough and silent types, they sure know how to let their life on a ranch inspire them in the bedroom. Pony play anyone?
Let’s take the bull by the horns; some of the things these guys did for fun had us squirming and clutching the pearls at our necks with horrified fascination… And we’ve both read Bloodraven, for god’s sake!
But we’re getting ahead of things. Imagine being a young man from a religious family in cowboy country. You’re not exactly a smart puppy, but you try really hard and focus on what you know, like sheep, so you get by. Except for that fact that you’re also gay…
Meet Roe, Nowhere Ranch’s narrator. The discovery of his stack of gay porn results in a godly intervention to ‘heal’ him. Anger and displacement leads to a short prison stretch and once free, Roe makes a break from his Iowa hometown. It’s a lonely existence until he gets a job on the Nebraskan Nowhere Ranch, working for owner Travis Loving. It’s the perfect job for Roe: the boss is the quiet, private and respectable type; he lets him get on with it, no questions, and no dramas – perfect. Then Roe walks into the only gay bar for 200 miles around, and just who do you think is sitting at the bar…
“For a second we just stared at each other, and yeah, I was flipping out. I mean, the one guy at a ranch you work really hard to make sure he doesn’t find out you’re gay is the fucking boss. So I just stood there and tried not to piss myself. Then it occurred to me that there was only one reason he would be there, same as me.“
As the quote above shows, this is Roe’s story and he tells it in his own simple farm boy way without sophistication, grandeur or restraint. His voice is therefore deliciously forthright and without pretence. And, oh God, how we loved this! How refreshing! How devilishly divine it was to be in the mind-set of a real man. Kudos Ms Cullinan, you did brilliantly.
But that’s not all … y’all better cowboy up for them sex scenes! We knew it was going to be a smut fest, but we didn’t anticipate getting lost in the brutal intensity of the hottest, filthiest sex known to man. We didn’t expect our delicate sensibilities to be so thoroughly
fisted trampled on. Pony play, puppy play, giant dildo’s, fisting, it’s all a go… Roe doesn’t mind. In fact, he’s quite accommodating….
“You want to tell me I’m your pony or your dog you’re fucking, I can do that. I think hotel carpets are gross, so I’d rather not do puppy play on the floor. But in bed’s okay.
This in turn brings out the
best kinky in Travis. For example: he gifts his new hand an extraordinarily original birthday present. Although you could say that his present requires an acquired taste…which reminds us…, let’s talk about the not-so-vanilla sex some more!
Shell thought it wasn’t THAT rough. After all, there wasn’t any bestiality (of which there was plenty of opportunity) and she got the giggles when we got to that scene; all she envisioned was not being able to remove said appendage from said orifice. Gah! What would the doctor say at the ER? ‘Congratulations sir, you have a healthy fist?’ Intellectually speaking (ha!) the pony reins were a clever metaphor.
On the otherrrr hand….Katinka’s face wrinkled up during more than one scene, and she only managed to keep her cool and make it past those parts by whispering; ‘Omg-no- omg-no’ and keeping Shelley’s supportive Tumblr porn finds in mind. So suit yourself, hmm?
And really, Nowhere Ranch is amazingly, shockingly good… So many memorable scenes and precious moments … in tandem we sigh contentedly. It doesn’t matter that what was left of our sensibilities was thoroughly deflowered. We understood. We cared about these two. Unfortunately, we then got to the last 10% or so. The part where …
…Cullinan got hacked by Mary-fucking-Sue!
You read that right! Instead of sighing and swooning, that ending had us beating the hedges, smashing windows and destroying bus shelters in tandem. To say we were livered is an understatement! Why? Why? Why do we HAVE TO have an ending that was manipulated by
Mary Sue Haley (self-serving little busy body) which spins the much appreciated characterisation of these men upside down and inside out?
Swapping Stetsons for aprons is NOT what we expected here. In our opinion all that syrupy sweetness is not in line with the relationship dynamic at all.
And their toys! That thing they did with their goddamn toys. Sacrilege! May we just pause to wipe away our tears, hang our heads and have a moment of silence for latex stowed away everywhere?
Ultimately, it’s only a testament to that beautiful combination of awe-inspiring feels and kinkiness, that we’d recommend Nowhere Ranch despite its superfluous ending. While Shelley will be rereading quite a few of those strategically highlighted scenes, Katinka secretly wonders which ‘hard limit’ will be blasted to pieces next.
Shelley & Katinka are one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
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