Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5:
This is the third “Butt” anthology I’ve read, and I expected it to be the best because there’s nothing sexier than a cowboy, IMHO. However, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the other anthologies produced by these authors, and there were very few stories that I would rank as high as any of the authors’ previous works. In some cases, it felt as if the author was just putting words together to meet the loose outline of the anthology, then maybe throw in a cowboy here and there, mix ’em up and pop out an adequate story.
Hung Like a Horse by JP Barnaby
The first story in the anthology was a sweet story about a horse shifter, with a different twist— when he shifted, the ectoplasm exploded out of him. Theoretically, it makes sense that when he went from a large horse to a smaller man, there would be extra body mass so I liked that idea. Another interesting twist is that the change was forced when his protein levels reached deficiency, and let’s face it— horses aren’t carnivores so he couldn’t stay as a horse without shifting to meet that need. Riley, the shifter, was rescued by the ranch owner who is also a horse shifter and knew what Riley was. He was waiting for Riley to shift to a man so that he could help him. Fortunately, there was an attraction between the two, and the story ended with a promise for a hopeful future. 4 stars
Chinchilla Chimichangas by Kage Alan
I disliked this story. It’s told mostly from the POV of a wannabe author, Chris, who has constant voices in his head— voices of the characters Miss Tis and Miss Kiernan. I found it very annoying with the switches from Chris speaking or thinking, to having the voices in his head speak. The plot was quite juvenile as well. Chris is taking a bus trip to throw his dad’s ashes in the Pacific behind the Hotel del Coronado, the place he had always wanted to take Chris’s mother on their honeymoon. The bus is stranded in an Oklahoma town during a storm, and Chris ends up going home with a young man who reminds him of Dustin, the hero in the story he’s writing. They have sex, fall in love, and part with a promise to get together after Chris completes his mission. 2 stars
Squatting with Spurs On by Kiernan Kelly
This was a cute little ghost story about a young man who inherits a haunted house only to find out that the ghost was his lover before he died a hundred years ago. It was a nice twist on time travel and paranormal activity mixed with a healthy dose of romance and everlasting love. 3.5 stars
Faux Cowboy by Shae Connor
When Doug shows up at a western-style gay bar in New York City, he’s happy to see that there seems to be another cowboy just like him in the bar. When they get to know each other, they decide to go dancing and after one thing leads to another, they spend a hot night together. The next morning, truth comes calling and the guys find out that they weren’t quite honest with each other, but since they’re in the very early stages of a relationship, they decide to forgive and forget and move forward toward a possible future together. 3.5 stars
Hooves and Horns by Eden Winters
This was a cute and humorous shifter story about two rodeo cowboys, both of whom are shifters. One is the famous bull, Diablo, and the other is the famous bucking bronco, Greased Lightning. Lovers, then adversaries, the bronco, aka Kerry, is jealous because Diablo, aka Armando, was seen hanging with other bulls in the off-season, and Kelsey thought he had cheated. But once Armando can pin Kerry down and explain, all is finally well, and they have their HEA. 3 stars
The Boy from Battalion Bluff by Jevocas Green
I saw this one as little more than PWP. It’s the story of an irresistible guy in the Old West that locals call Dr. Feel-Good. He gets all over town on any given day to make people feel good by having sex with him. He overlooks young Toby the stable boy, but Toby wants him and goes after him just as they all find out that he’s not what he seems. He’s really an alien prince, and he never gets pleasure from sex unless it’s with his true mate. His betrothed, Tyler, shows up to take him home, and while Tyler’s trying to prove his worth by having sex with Johnen (Dr Feel-Good), Toby interrupts and Johnen invites him to participate. Lo and behold, Toby is his true mate. Once that’s settled, they all go back to the home planet and live happily ever after. 2 stars
The Five Hells War by Allly Blue
In this story, an attorney named Balthazar Shellenbarger comes to a remote planet, very reminiscent of an Old West town, to represent Cavendish Farms, a large company that wants to buy Five Hells Ranch from Salvador “Rocky” Flint. The ranch is the only piece of property that Cavendish hasn’t taken over in their plan to have a monopoly on boomer meat. Boomers are considered a delicacy and are a protected species on this planet that is the only place in the universe that supports their life form. This is the final offer— if Rocky doesn’t sell, they are going to get the place somehow. But what happens instead is a romance between “Balty” and Rocky and it’s one of the better stories in the book. Balty is so impressed with Rocky and his heritage and his love of the land that he decides to stay and help fight the conglomerate. Together they’ll defeat the bad guys and go on to live their HEA. 4 stars
And the Horse He Rode In On byTC Blue
This is a great story about a leopard shifter caught killing lambs on a sheep farm– a farm that happens to be owned by a horse shifter who catches him and kicks him in the head. The resulting shift back to his human form is a shock to both men and when the leopard, Jason, finds out that the “battle pony” who kicked him in the head is Tyler, the good-looking man who owns the ranch, he’s intrigued. He’s never been a part of a Pard, never even realized such a thing exists since the guy who Made him took off before telling Jason anything. When Jason’s shift occurred in a home he was house-sitting, and he trashed the place, he took off and has been in leopard form, running for his life, ever since then. As they begin to fall for each other, Tyler introduces him to the world of shifters and helps Jason come to terms with who he is. The two work for it and ultimately get their HEA. This was my favorite of the stories in the anthology. 4.5 stars
I’d recommend this to anyone who likes their M/M romance in very off-the-wall stories, non-wolf shifter stories, and alternate universe adventures.
The cover art by Wilde City Press depicts a cowboy, shirt open and head down. Bright and colorful, it also lists the names of the authors vertically down the opposite side. Very appealing.
Published April 29th 2015 by Wilde City Press