Guest Review: Drawing the Devil (Leather and Grit #1) by Jon Keys

Dustin rides a ton of beef battling to do away with his rider while Shane makes certain the bull doesn’t succeed—and that’s the easiest part of their relationship.

Dustin Lewis is a barely contained twenty-one-year-old bull rider who was disowned by his parents when his father discovered Dustin with another teenage boy. He has spent the time since traveling the rodeo circuit and, after years of honing his skills, he’s in contention to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Shane Rees is a twenty-six-year-old rodeo bullfighter-rodeo clown. While Shane’s family still love their son, they are not pleased with the sexuality they believe he chose. He knows the potential consequences of being gay among the rodeo crowd. As a result, Shane keeps his sexuality a guarded secret. When combined with the scars he’s earned over the years of bullfighting, Shane has little sense of self-worth.

The two meet when Dustin’s draw for the night is Diablo, the same vicious bull that gave Shane his most notable scar. Dustin’s ride ends with him trapped in the rigging as the bull tries to pound him into the arena dust. With a good bit of bravado and nerves that have earned him a reputation among the bull riders, Shane frees Dustin before he is seriously injured. This chance meeting leads them through heartwarming highs and near-crushing lows as they struggle toward their goal of winning the National Finals and maintaining their personal relationship.

Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and reedited for release with Pride Publishing.

Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

Ride 'em Cowboy!

Give me a hot, gay, Bible Belt cowboy. Any. Day. I don't know what it is about these rodeo guys that do it for me but shewwweee. Maybe the lack of book smarts appeals to my robotic gray matter, I'm clueless here, but something about that whole schtick just does it for me. Might be my latent inner Texan, too. You can take the girl out of Texas, but ...


Did Texas even make an appearance in this story? I think so, but honestly, it's irrelevant to the matter at hand. What is that, you say? Well ... Hot. Rodeo. Bull. Riders. Of course! I've got Garth Brooks songs running through my head right now. That's way more important.

It's bulls and blood, it's dust and mud,
it's the roar of a Sunday crowd.
It's the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle
he'll win the next go 'round.
It's boots and chaps and cowboy hats,
it's spurs and latigo.
It's the ropes and the reins,
and the joy and the pain, and they call the thing a rodeo.

I've always been a tomboy grubby-muffin. Dirt, mud, blood. Yep. Right up my alley with the dirty boys I guess. This book might have been a little too predictable in some respects when I consider that particular angle. You've got a bullfighter who was mauled by a bull named Diablo and an up-and-coming bull rider who 'draws the devil'. Mean-ass Diablo. That bull was a real fucker, but still, it's a little predictable. Only ... who cares?


Add in the gay with the homophobes on the rodeo circuit, two somewhat relationship-clueless guys trying to make something out of not much in the midst of all that turns into a helluva good story clichés or no clichés.

Shane and Dustin had chemistry. They were hot together. They had hangups, so there's hurt-comfort. There was bad family and good family. Good friends and horrible strangers. The relationship took time to develop and deepen. There were speed bumps along the way. There was action, there were lulls, there was the everyday and the extraordinary. You name it, if you can imagine it in this setting, it's probably in there somewhere.

I loved it. You might, too.

More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.
Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.
An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.

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