“Driven Long and Hard” by Zavo

Cowboys Heath and Jared have just shared a (male) whore at a brothel when Heath starts thinking of his first lover, Danny, who he met on a cattle drive and lost during the Civil War.  Of course, the cattle drive must go on.  Heath continues to reminisce along the way, but there may be a few surprises in store for him.

Other than a very interesting description of what greenhorns do on a cattle drive, I wasn’t really into “Driven Long and Hard.”  There is a lot of sex, but the happy ending felt tacked on.

 

“No Stranger to Trouble” by Curtis C. Comer

After a spot of trouble with the preacher’s son, Caleb Law is on the move.  He stops in the town of Grassy Flats, not knowing what to expect.  He could never have been prepared for what happens when he meets the sheriff.

“No Stranger to Trouble” is a smoking hot story, but it lacks emotion.  The ending wasn’t very satisfying either, as it leaves a lot hanging. 

 

“Horse” by Jeff Wilcox

Sebastian, a young, lonely Pony Express rider, is in the middle of nowhere with nobody to talk to.  He’s swimming naked when an equally naked Indian appears.  They both draw their guns, but neither seems to want to fire…

“Horse” is a sweet story, if a bit stereotypical in its portrayal of an Indian and a white man.  The ending, however, is NOT happy, and came out of nowhere, which really dampened my enjoyment of the story.

 

“Which Way to Dominance” by Gavin Atlas

Teddy is tired of the way fellow ranch hand Roy uses him after spotting him at a gay bar once.  Roy is thoughtless and cruel, but Teddy doesn’t know how to get away from him without his secret being revealed to the other hands.  Then he has to go get the new guy, Marco, at the airport, and he starts to wonder if he could have something different.

“Which Way to Dominance” is a sweet, simple tale of a young man who finally gets his happy ending.  I liked Teddy, and Marco, and their story was enjoyable to read.

 

“Romance at the Rodeo” by Neil S. Plakcy

Barry Newman is only at the rodeo to get information for a column for the newspaper.  Once he meets cowboy Sam Jackson, however, he is a lot more interested in the rodeo.  Barry snags an interview with Sam, and to thank him, invites him to dinner.  He’s hoping he’ll get even more than that, though…

“Romance at the Rodeo” is another story I enjoyed.  There wasn’t a lot to it, plot wise, but the characters were likeable and the sex was hot. 

 

“Rudy’s New Kazoo” by Ryan Field

When Rudy decides he wants to work on his father’s ranch rather than becoming a teacher, his dad makes him work at the isolated north mountain, with only the manager, Cody Bloodworth.  As a little guy, he has to prove his worth and ability to his father, himself, and Cody.  Will he ever get the chance?

“Rudy’s New Kazoo” is a story that seemed to fly by.  The characters were interesting, as was the situation.  The only real problem for me was some of the description during the sex scene, which struck me as unappealing. 

 

“Ace in the Hole” by M. Christian

The Man With Many Names stops at Hole-in-the-Wall for a whiskey.  The Dealer asks him to play a game of cards, so he decides to join in.  The stakes are high, but The Man With Many Names always plays to win.

If the description of “Ace in the Hole” seems confusing, that’s because the story uses titles rather than names to describe the characters.  I could see why M. Christian would try such a device, but it didn’t work for me.  The place descriptions were equally confusing, making “Ace in the Hole” a frustrating read. 

 

“A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done” by Cage Thunder

Cage has always admired former Top Rope wrestler “Big Bill” Tucker.  Now that he works for Top Rope himself, Cage is determined to challenge Bill to a match.  When Bill accepts, who will win?

The wrestling cowboy angle of “A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done” was an interesting departure from the other stories in the anthology.  The characters were larger-than-life types, and kind of fun.  I’m not much of a wrestling fan myself, so the descriptions of various holds and whatnot didn’t do much for me, but wrestling fans will probably like the story a lot. 

 

“These Bulls are Made for Breeding” by Michael Luongo

After being exiled from New York due to a scandal, Aaron goes West to work with his uncle on his cattle ranch.  When his uncle sends him to meet the train of a British breeding expert, Simon, Aaron may get more than he is expecting.

“These Bulls are Made for Breeding” is a quick story without much in the way of characterization or conflict.  Things move lightning fast between Simon and Aaron, but if you’re looking for a story that’s hot and quick, it’ll fit the bill.

 

“Brave” by Kelvin Williams

The narrator is both fascinated and frightened by the Indians near where his family has settled.  Then he meets a young brave…

“Brave” is more of a vignette than a story.  It’s told through the point of view of the nameless narrator, a young man.  I didn’t find it particularly hot, due to the way it was written, in a stilted, staccato style I couldn’t get into. 

 

“The Cactus League Society” by Adam Carpenter

Through a chance meeting with a man named Aquinas Jackson, Drew Saunders learns of a group called the Cactus League Society.  What is this group?  Finding the answers will lead Drew to places he never dreamed. 

“The Cactus League Society” incorporates a lot of different elements and events—too many for a story of its length.  Drew’s past is skimmed over.  The Cactus League Society itself could have used more explanation, and the ending, which wasn’t a surprise, was nevertheless not as sweet as I would have hoped.  I think with more development, this story could have been really interesting.

While there are a couple of nice stories in How the West was Done, overall I don’t recommend it.  There was too much emphasis on sex, in my mind, and not enough on romance.  Still, fans of Western stories and cowboys may find something to like here. 

     

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