Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
When Martin Du Bois decides he wants something, then the path is set in concrete. What Martin wants is a cowboy and figures the rodeo is just the place to find one. After convincing his friends that a night at the rodeo is just the thing, an evening watching hot guys in boots and chaps is not enough, Martin wants to meet one. A tip from another fan at the rodeo points Martin and friends in the direction of a local bar visited by the participants. When guylinered, sparkly Martin enters, he is accosted by a drunken cowboy. While handling the drunk in his normal mouthy manner, the bullriders and in particular a well known rodeo star, Jesse Cumberland, come to his rescue, then offers to buy him a drink.
Soon Martin is in heaven as Jesse is gay and more than interested in flaming city boy Martin. A one-night stand leads to another, and then a trip to watch Jesse on the road. Before he is aware of the fact, his one-night stand has become a relationship, and that scares Martin to no end. A former boyfriend and a bad relationship have made Martin wary of any deep emotional involvement and that is exactly what Jesse appears to want from him. Can Martin overcome his past hurts to grab up the man in front of him or will he let love slip away due to their differences?
Catt Ford loves writing about the rodeo and the cowboys who live by it and I, for one, am so happy that she does. I recently reviewed her book, Bullheaded, and enjoyed it. But I was unprepared for how much I adored the characters of Marti and Jesse that I found inside Bully for You. This is a short story, just 92 pages, that was a part of Dreamspinner’s 2013 Daily Dose, and it is just a sparkly little romance that is giddy with glitter and a touch of love.
Martin Du Boise, aka Marti, is a flaming, sparkly gay city boy. He lisps, he twirls, he is exuberant, and outgoing in the extreme, But under all that confidence, Marti is also someone who has been hurt and the pain of that betrayal has left him unwilling to take the chance of being hurt again. Ford gives Marti all the personality traits and mannerisms that could have become a cliche and makes the total a warm, endearing flame of a man with more depth to him than is first apparent. Jesse Cumberland is also a nice surprise. He is not the average closeted rodeo star but someone comfortable in his own skin to acknowledge his homosexuality and pursue the man he wants, no matter the differences. I thought Catt Ford did a good job with him as well. Taken separately, each character has some flaws that would have bothered me in a longer story. Marti becomes a little too unhinged by their differences for such a confidant person, Jesse’s handling of his two ranch hands bothered me enough that I wish Catt Ford had addressed that issue instead of letting it slide by. These issues bothered me but the charm of the characters smoothed those bumps in the storyline over enough that it did not reflect on my enjoyment of their romance.
But my biggest quibble would be the HFN ending. It is far to abrupt for the emotional events that preceded it. I have no problem with HFNs. Often this type of ending is the only reasonable and realistic ending that could occur. But I would like to see it rounded out, and emotionally satisfying as a resolution to the story and I am not sure that happened here. It just ends. The fact that the story is a short story does not automatically mean an abrupt ending but I am seeing more and more of that these days as authors do not seem to know how to bring a short story to a viable end. Sigh. But that is a blog for another day.
Do I recommend Bully for You? Absolutely, I loved this little bit of glittery romance. Both characters endeared themselves to me, enough so that I would love to see what happens next in their romance. So, Catt Ford, if you are listening, can we have a sequel please? I will be first in line to pick it up. Now on to get the rest of Catt Ford’s rodeo stories.
Cover art by Paul Richmond. That cover is just as adorable as the characters inside. Great job and one of my favorites, really there are a lot of Paul Richmond covers out there that are marvelous. He just keeps getting better and better.