Aubrey Klein is in real trouble—he needs some fast money to save the family ranch. His solution? A weekend job as a stripper at a club in Dallas. For two shows each Saturday, he is the star as The Lone Rancher.
It leads to at least one unexpected revelation: after a show, Garrett Lamston, an old friend from school, approaches the still-masked Aubrey to see about some extra fun… and Aubrey had no idea Garrett was gay. As the two men dodge their mothers’ attempts to set them up with girls, their friendship deepens, and one thing leads to another.
Aubrey know his life stretching between the ranch and the club is a house of cards. He just hopes he can keep it standing long enough to save the ranch and launch the life—and the love—he really hopes he can have.
Narrator: John Solo
Listening Length: 4 hours and 54 minutes
I know what what I want for my next birthday. A cowboy stripper.
After his parents’ excessive spending and mismanagement almost drove the family ranch into bankruptcy, Aubrey Klein stepped in to try and get things under control. In order to bring in some extra cash, he began dancing as a masked cowboy at a strip club. At one of his shows, Aubrey spots his childhood friend Garrett Larnston. While Garrett didn’t recognize him, things become complicated when Aubrey and Garrett begin a relationship back in their small hometown. Throw in that the two are still in the closet, and Aubrey soon finds it difficult to juggle everything.
This is my first time listening to an audiobook narrated by Jon Solo. I liked his narration. The characters were differentiated, the pacing was good, and I didn’t have to try too hard to follow along with the story.
There’s a lot going on in this book. We’ve got financial trouble, stripping, a tentative relationship, and an oblivious mother who’s set on getting her gay son hitched. It could have been quite angsty, but ‘The Lone Rancher’ was a fairly low-angst and easy read. The majority of the book is smooth-going, and it’s easy to immerse yourself in this story of two friends becoming more.
I’m a fan of small town romances, and I’m a fan of cowboys. So though the romance wasn’t exceptional, I still enjoyed seeing Aubrey and Garrett grow closer, especially their sweet moments alone in the fields. And while this isn’t a particularly steamy book, the few sex scenes are hot. Though I might be biased, because I find anything with a cowboy hot.
However, one thing I really didn’t enjoy was the constant guilt that Aubrey had over stripping. When it comes down to it, I didn’t think it was such a big issue. Sure, he should have been forthcoming with Garrett, but the circumstances were understandable. I also didn’t like that Garrett felt betrayed by Aubrey’s dancing, but had no problem watching the strip shows before he knew who the masked cowboy was. It’s too close to the pot calling the kettle black for my liking.
So far I’ve avoided the Dreamspun Desires books. Harlequin hasn’t been my thing for years, and most of the blurbs I’d read so far didn’t really catch my attention. ‘The Lone Rancher’ follows the “harlequin theme” in that it’s an easy read in which all problems conveniently solve themselves. It requires a bit of suspension of disbelief, like Aubrey’s parents complete turnaround regarding his sexuality. But it’s a nice enough read, if not special.
Overall, this book was likeable. I’d say it’s closer to two stars, but I’ll round up for the good audiobook narration.
And our review for the book here!