Wyoming Territory, 1870.
Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he's deaf, but that's not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.
Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is - and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn't the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.
When violence shatters Elijah's world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life...or truly begin it for the very first time.
©2014 Lisa Henry (P)2016 Riptide Publishing
Ok. So, first if you know Lisa Henry, she writes dark stories, full of angst and pain. This is NO DIFFERENT. I’m not sure what I was thinking – I guess I got suckered in by the deaf part and saw that Dorian Bane was narrating and figured it would be good? Ok, it’s not that it’s not good – it is. Lisa Henry can really write. But man it was painful. Really, really, really, really painful.
Especially for someone who doesn’t like/appreciate BDSM.
Elijah only feels shame at his desires, so he uses pain in his sexual encounters to help “atone”. Even with Grady, who treats him nicely, he wants it rough. For me, that’s uncomfortable. So be warned.
Since it’s the Wild West, the gay thing is kinda accepted – sort of. Elijah’s upbringing makes him feel guilty – like going to hell guilty – but he’s got all sorts of other things going on to make him feel even more guilty – so – yeah. More pain.
Their courtship is what you’d expect from two guys living on the verge of death. They can’t really spend a lot of time and energy on feelings, but there are some. Again, sort-of.
I guess this is like a hurt/comfort romance without a lot of comfort. Grady tries, but Elijah’s pain runs deep and Grady only has so much he can do. Couple it with the fact that Grady lives outside the law for most of the book and he can’t make a lot of promises or do a lot to change things for Elijah. When Elijah finally takes matters in his own hands – in a way that was very unexpected! – he sort of has an epiphany that things will have to change and he wants to do that for them both.
Dorian Bane has the best “western” accents and he did a great job setting the dusty trail, saloon-door bangin’, twang that you’d expect from these guys. He shines with dialog, and does a fair job with the non-dialog parts. I wish he’d done more to alter Elijah’s voice – Elijah wasn’t born deaf but I do think he’d sound different… But that’s a small niggle.
All in all, I think if you know the author and what that means as far as a story line goes, expect only a HFN – because really, with the time period, etcetera, only a bald fairy tale would offer anything different – and you don’t mind/like BDSM type stories – this will be up your alley.
If you were expecting anything remotely light and comforting, keep looking. As for the audio, I think it’s a great way to experience this story and I recommend it as such.
I’m gonna have a hard time rating it because I don’t like how dark it was – so it wasn’t my taste – but it’s not because it’s a bad story- the contrary really, since the author did such a good job of showing us the pain Elijah’s life is.
I’m gonna go with 4 of 5 – for the book and audio.
Reviewer for Delighted Reader Blog
Surprising, Deep, Emotional
I enjoyed the depth to the characters, the development of the characters, setting and tone, the narration.
Yes, I have! It's a bit of something special when I listen to a story he narrates. This one stands up well with the four others I heard and loved.
Obviously the hero, Elijah, but I'm going to put a plug in for a more ambivalent character, the town saloon owner, Harlan Crane. He's harsh and hard on Elijah, he looks out for number one, and he doesn't really have the usual morals. But, there is something about him. There are glimpses of who he could have been and that comes out in his dealings with Elijah. Harlan reads people well and that includes Elijah. He doesn't treat him well, but he understands him like others cannot. He also doesn't think less of him for his deafness. Can't say he 'brightened' the scenes he was in, but he made me take notice.
This book was provided for me by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This is one of the best audio book. Dorian Bane brings the old west to life.
I've listened to many of Mr. Bane's narrations. If you like stories about cowboys, you will love what he does.
If I could have, I would have listened in one setting.
Mr. Bane makes the listener feel like they have gone back in time.
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