A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night, he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.
On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.
Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane – a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present – deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.
Jimmy is drifiting through life until the day he sees a man on the side of the road in need of a ride. He gives Jimmy a letter that ends up changing Jimmy’s life forever.
Shane is a small town guy with a head injury that forces him to keep life simple. When he meets Jimmy his protective urges kick in and he wants to do what he can to help and keep Jimmy around.
Though the plot is simple – two guys learning about each other and learning to love one another in the end – the emotions involved are deep, rich and complex. They both harbor self image issues and a history that makes their futures less than concrete. Their journey toward each other ends up healing them both.
I’m a huge Kim Fielding fan. She has a gift with characters and specifically for multi-faceted characters who don’t always do what you expect. I like that her “heroes” are unconventional to say the least.
In this novel she uses Jimmy’s “stories” as a wonderful vehicle for showing us the true nature of Jimmy’s heart. It’s creative, insightful and a delight to read. With Shane we get (on the surface) a more straight-forward story, but just when you expect things to be one way – blam! – there’s a bit more to him than meets the eye.
The gentleness of this story moves these guys forward in a way that is illuminating but not necessarily shocking. Day by day they grow closer until their future seems inevitable.
If I have any small complaints it would be these: First, I thought that the story lagged in the middle with a few too many of Jimmy’s stories (though themselves interesting – I’m not sure they moved the romance forward enough to justify their inclusion in such detail) and second, that the subtlety of the romance was almost too subtle. Though we absolutely get a very solid and forever HEA, my preference would have been for a bit more at the reunion scene to cement in the major shift that had occurred. It’s tough though – I suppose being true to the characters might dictate toward the subtle – but the romantic in me wanted a bit more, regardless.
In any case, this is a truly remarkable story with a lovely thread that starts with a dead man…
KC Kelly is the BEST choice for this narration. The “old west” flavor of the story is well suited by his drawl and his sense of timing is perfection! I think listening to this story (which is chock full of so many stories told by Jimmy) is a MUST. It absolutely adds to the overall enjoyment of the book and truly brings it to life!
6 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review