If there was one book that came recommended while researching possible novels to quench my curiosity for the erotica gay romance sub genre, it was Bareback by Chris Owen. The novel stubbornly popped up everywhere I went and with a summary that appealed to me I decided to go for it and buy a copy. Yesterday evening as I read the final pages I can only be very glad I chose this novel because Bareback was raw, sexual laden, packed with vigorous male attitude, a whole lot of ranching activities and a romance that shined in its simplicity.
With Chris Owen’s unembellished and straight forward way of writing I met two incredible men. Jake, the second man on Doug Gillian’s ranch who is also known as “The Boss”, overcame a past of teenage drinking and making mistakes. Jake is down-to-earth and serious, his life is steady now and ruled by the rhythm of ranch life. Tornado, Tor for short, seems a bit arrogant and provoking, a man who will take charge in his personal life rather than sit by and watch.
Bareback doesn’t waste any time with preliminaries and dives straight in to the matter of the attraction between Jake and Tor. Being oblivious to each other’s feelings at first it doesn’t take long and on page 13 I already got some hot male on male action going on in the rain, signaling to me I was in for a long scorching ride! This is very much an Erotica story with lots and lots of man-love going on in various ways. I mean, daisy chain, I never heard of the word…or what it entailed, until I read this novel and it was quite a sight to behold. The trysting is diverse as it is bountiful and very important, never boring, but there is also a beautiful romance story woven within that gave me a rainbow of emotions to work through. It all speaks of two men falling for each other but also have issues to work out alongside the heady cowboy sex, it speaks of family values and of finding a family that fits the heart. There is also the explosive situation of how the environment deals with them coming out as a couple that gives a dose of realism to Jake and Tor’s journey.
The sexuality varies in Bareback from pulse pounding hard in order to stake your claim to comforting and gentle to sooth and reassure one another. It has events of a summer party, hot and filled with multiple partners to missionary style in bed. The level and frequency of men going at it with each other is intense and like I said, never boring! It is a signature element within the story just as much as the colorful characterization. It aims to empathize the emotions of the characters, to explain something to the reader which isn’t spoken out loud between Tor and Jake. This type of communication is very elemental but served Jake and Tor incredibly in their personality differences. I never got tired of reading the erotically charged scenes and they are plenty! This also surprised me a bit because the libido displayed can easily create a superficial story and it didn’t.
I witnessed the development of a romantic liaison between a gay couple who each brought issues of loss and alcoholism to deal with, but also a common denominator through it all is the acceptance of them being gay that sets this story up for emotionally rich scenes and had me reach out for tissues at times. It is first all about lust and gradually going towards something neither has real experience with. Jake and Tor are both men who rather let their actions and body speak before verbally working issues out. Still, there is a love increasing in strength and depth growing between Tor and Jake that swept me away. I was firmly entangled in their lives with their friends and foes, their work and their erotic antics when the story starts to shift through the seasons with short scenes to wind up years later, giving me a dreadful feeling via those short scenes that change was not for ahead. Only a chapter or so later my heart broke in to a thousand pieces, I cried myself a river and will never forget that moment passing between Tor and Jake and the repercussions birthing from it.
It is at that moment I truly felt the depth of the characters Chris Owen brought to life because without me realizing it I became so attached to these two men that this one moment shocked me to my core, had me cry and all I felt was desperation how this was going to work out. Wasn’t there going to be a happily ever after for Jake and Tor? Two men who deserved it after all they had to go through life. With fear, hope and a bit of empathetic pain riding me all at the same time I read on.
What I found at closing this book is that Bareback is a character and relationship driven story, simple in life but intricate in emotions. Bareback is Jake and Tor’s story all the way, it is about them in every way that is important and make you care about them so. They have a subtle supporting group of characters, though essential to the story because they matter to Tor and Jake. The bunkhouse is home to various cowboys including Elias, Skip and Hound. Their reactions to having a gay couple as roommates sometimes had me going from smiles to full blown laughter and they were a tremendous asset to the impact of the story. The Boss was also one of those characters who was needed to showcase not every man is a homophobic in Arkansas. Then we have Lissa, Cath and Jacob, they are blood relatives of Jake and Maureen, Becky and Susie the ones of Tor. They all contributed to the crucial feel of being a part of their lives including events like lying on a blanket looking at a starry night, talking on the phone with a niece or nephew, having wild humping sex in the shower or becoming stubborn in a disagreement.
If there is a plot it is a human one, which engulfed the novel with the necessities to deepen this tale from mere erotic sequences to a rounded romance story that will give the reader a more then sustaining Romantica read. For Jake and Tor go at it in sometimes a frantic want for more, instant and devouring, while at other times it is gentle, seductive and heart stopping beautiful between them. Together they created a more then believable gay romance and the only reason this story is not going to get the full 5 star rating is the fact a few essential scenes missed elaboration missing the mark with me on certain family matters and the ending could have been even more completed if the author would’ve used an epilogue. With this I also feel I need to warn there is also frequent cussing and swearing. Bareback is about men, on a ranch, working and interacting amongst each other in a direct way, personally I say it just added a reality to the picture Owen was painting for me and I didn’t mind it one bit. Others may feel different about this though.
Bareback has become a unique novel among my Erotica shelf with an astounding romance and heated, lustful, lascivious, spicy and fiery man love. I will definitely check out more from this author but Chris Owen will always be synonymous to the story of Jake and Tor!
Quote Jake to Tor:[Jake] “Just ignore it. He’ll stop after a while, when he sees we’re not going to try to seduce him. Or give him a free show.”
Tor laughed. “You don’t want to make out in front of the TV on Saturday nights? I’m hurt.”
Quote Tor to Jake:“This time…this time I’m offering Jake, if you want me, I’m yours. Do anything I can for you, be everything you need. Give myself to you forever.”