Title : Bullheaded
Author : Cat Ford
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Western
Length : 340 pages (e-book)
Published : April 15, 2013
Aging bull rider Cody Grainger needs bullfighter Johnny Arrow for more than just protection in the ring. Their bond of trust goes beyond the professional and into love, but while their relationship holds up to the need for discretion imposed by their sport and repeatedly having to watch each other put themselves in the way of dangerous animals, other barriers still tear them apart.
For one thing, Cody is ten years older than Johnny. But instead of contemplating retirement, he focuses on winning the championship, desperate to stay on top. Johnny is only beginning to find the professional recognition he craves. When frustration leads Johnny to walk away, Cody’s season slumps. While they’re apart, they both slowly realize they are meant to be together. But machismo abounds in the sport of bull riding, and their pride might be an obstacle too big for love to overcome.
I don’t like the closet or angst-filled books. Logically, I should have hated Bullheaded, by Catt Ford. Logic schmogic, I loved this book. Cody Grainger and Johnny Arrow are madly in love with each other. It’s undeniable. They are also wildly attracted to each other despite having been in a relationship for two years already. They should be completely happy. And they are, sort of. Johnny works as a bullfighter in the same circuit in which Cody is a bull rider. They are able to tour together and their cover story that Johnny works on the Grainger family ranch works just fine. No one is the wiser. When the season breaks for Cody he wants to go home and doesn’t really listen to Johnny who wants to work for the summer. Cody is at the top of his game whereas Johnny has just started his. They also happen to have wildly different cultural backgrounds and sexual histories. They are, however, both alike in idiocy. Cody wants to manage Johnny’s life. He doesn’t get Johnny may have different goals, wants, or needs. Johnny doesn’t tell Cody his goals, wants, or needs. Consequently, neither man understands the other. Johnny walks out.
Cody and Johnny both seek physical comfort while they are alone and lonely. I hated this incredibly important part of the story. I don’t like when the main characters have sex with someone other than the guy they have their HEA with. Every time they hooked up I cringed and said, “No!” Every time they hooked up they learned something important about life, relationships, and themselves.
So now we come to the final third of the book which I usually summarize along with the previous two thirds. It’s not happening. A significant part of the book for me was the excitement of not knowing what the hell was going to happen. The only thing you’re going to get is the Faye HEA Guarantee, other than that you’re going to have to wonder. Yes, it’s exciting. It’s rodeo! Who wins what, who gets hurt? Read it and find out. I finished the book with a big grin and was still grinning twenty minutes later.
Perspective is key in this book. Cody sees the world differently atop a bull than Johnny does face to face with the bull. This is important, as is seeing the world from above and not being part of it all. Sometimes being outside looking in shows you more than those involved can see. The other big metaphor in the book equates relationships to bull riding. You can’t control and manipulate your partner. A bull cannot be muscled. The rider must anticipate and weather the bulls actions, using the bull’s motion to best execute his ride. Cody and Johnny have to learn how to be the best they can in concert with each other, not against each other.
This book beautifully meshed coming of age and retirement storylines. It also added a helping of opposites attract. I loved Cody and Johnny just as much as I wanted to smack them. I also found myself invested in the rodeo. Of course I find cowboys sexy, but in the real world rodeo isn’t really on my radar at all. I cared about points and who was doing what. I knew which bull was rank but a pussycat outside the arena. I now know more about stock contractors than I ever needed to know. And I loved every word of it all.
Rated 5 stars by Faye