A great story, and a fantastic post from Sarah.
The Twisted Oak by Sarah Hadley Brook released in December in the LGBTQ Romance/MM Romance genre.
Wade Dwyer’s life is turned upside down when his father dies and he learns he must marry or he and his siblings will lose the ranch. One last jab of the knife from his father. On top of that, his father’s only friend knows about the stipulation and is determined to own the property by any means necessary.
He’s facing the very real possibility of being the reason his family loses their home when his brother’s best friend, Lance Matthews, offers to walk down the aisle with him. A faux marriage to the man he’s loved for years is a torture he isn’t sure he can endure.
Can he keep the ranch … and the man of his dreams, too?
Wade glanced over this shoulder, his eyes widening upon seeing Lance. Lance pulled up next to Wade, leaving several feet between them, and nodded, not quite sure what to say now that he was there.
Wade looked ashen, his eyelashes wet as he continued to stare at Lance. “What are you doing here?”
“I was worried about you. And your brother wants you back at the house.”
Wade rolled his eyes. “Casey can wait a little while. I just…needed to clear my head.”
Lance nodded as Jasper grew impatient with the wind. “I know. Heading to the twisted oak, right?”
“How the hell did you know that?” Wade narrowed his eyes at him.
“Seriously? I’ve known you since we were kids.”
Stardust began to prance in place and Wade pulled on the reins. “She can feel the tension in me and she wants to run.”
“Want to race back to the house?” They’d done that as children too many times to count. Wade almost always won. He was a natural on a horse.
Wade shook his head and patted Stardust. “Good girl.”
Lance watched him reassure his horse, his heart twisting. This was a good man and he’d been dealt a pretty horrific hand. “I know it’s hard to take it all in, Wade.”
Wade looked at him, his eyes a little wild as the wind whipped his chestnut hair. He leaned forward, his hands on his thighs as his breath came out in ragged pants. “I can’t…can’t lose my family, Lance. And I can’t be the reason they lose the ranch.”
As he watched the reality of what was happening hit Wade in the gut, he turned Jasper and moved closer until their horses stood side-by-side facing opposite directions, allowing the men to look at each other. Lance found himself studying those beautiful brown eyes that could bring him to his knees. Eyes that he’d never been able to forget. Wade’s breathing leveled out as they stared at each other and finally he was able to take a long, deep breath without coughing.
When Lance patted his arm, Wade didn’t pull away like he had back at the house, but he turned his gaze to the horizon.
“Hey…Wade? Look at me. That’s not going to happen. You’re not going to lose anyone. And nobody’s going to lose the ranch. Your family will get through this. You will get through this.”
Wade shook his head and raised his face to the sky as a smattering of tiny raindrops began to fall. He wiped at his face, brushing away the tears as well as the rain before he looked back at Lance.
“Can you just trust me?” Please trust me. Raindrops blew across his skin as Lance held his breath, waiting for Wade to reply. When the guy finally nodded, Lance’s heart swelled and he fought the urge to raise his fist in the air.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have co-starred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity to live. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.
What was the hardest part of writing an LGBTQ book set in the ranching/cowboy’s world? How far do you think the ranching/cowboy’s world has made it from a Brokeback Mountain attitude?
Good questions! First of all, because the only genre I currently write is MM Romance, writing from an LGBTQ perspective wasn’t hard for me. In fact, I’ve always found it more natural to write from the male perspective, even as a child.
I’ve always wanted to write a western themed romance, but it wasn’t until I came up with this idea that I felt like I had the right storyline. Setting the story in the fictional town of Ruby, Wyoming, I was aware there were realities that couldn’t be dismissed, even if the story was fiction. I wanted to ensure there was a balance between reality and fiction, because I didn’t feel it was right to pretend the characters didn’t have to worry about prejudices in their town.
In The Twisted Oak, Wade’s father was one that let his prejudices dictate his beliefs, so I tried to counter that with warm and loving characters. This story is about romance, but it’s also about the strength of a family when they face hatred together. I hope the love my characters have for one another shines through.
As far as Brokeback Mountain, I probably look at that through a predefined view, to be honest. My uncle, Damon, died of AIDS when I was a child. He lived his life with pride, and shared a love with his partner that was easy to see. I believe he taught me what love truly looked like.
When Brokeback Mountain came out, I began wondering what it must have been like for him growing up without representation out there for him to see and know he was normal. I’ve learned that he struggled for years before coming out and I imagine if he’d had a role model, a movie star, someone in the public, to show him it was okay to be who you were born to be, would he have gone through so much?
Everyone deserves representation. In everything. Art, music, movies, books… we all need love and understanding. Love is what binds us all together.
This post is part of a Tour. The tour dates can be found here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2020/01/vbt-twisted-oak-by-sarah-hadley-brook.html
- a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour,
- and a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.
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