“Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem most important to you.” ~ Carl Jung
Rawley, from 'Rawley's Redemption' by Carol Lynne, has a lot of confusion in his life. Not only is he dealing with trying to find his brother's attacker, he has also finally admitted he wants Jeb. He is so worried about losing his job and being ostracized by the people around him, he has been holding off on loving Jeb. Now that Rawley has been fired, there's nothing stopping him from showing Jeb how he really feels.
Jeb is surprisingly understanding while Rawley works out his problems. Jeb wants Rawley, but he wants all of him. Even though they've been sleeping in each other’s arms for a while now, they haven't had sex. Rawley's reasoning being that once they do there is no turning back, that both their lives will change forever. When Rawley comes roaring up to his house, Jeb goes out to greet him, concerned about the strength of the emotion Rawley is demonstrating. Rawley: “I've been relieved of my duties as Summerville Sheriff. I no longer have a need to hide the way I feel about you....Care for a roommate?” Jeb is upset about Rawley's dismissal but infinitely pleased to be able to deepen their relationship and not have to hide it. Rawley has never been in a relationship and has no idea about how to proceed. When he starts hiding things from Jeb, even if Rawley feels it is for his own good, Jeb explodes.
Rawley's main concern about not being sheriff anymore is that he's lost his law enforcement authority, but that's not going to stop him from continuing with the investigation. He's still got Nate and Rio working on the case as well. Nate has done such a good job of harassing the man he's been watching, that he finally explodes and starts a fight with Nate. After Nate kicks him in the chest, he files a restraining order against him, making it more difficult for Nate to stay close to him. This might slow Nate down, but it doesn't stop him. In fact, Nate is still so persistent that Rio, his backup, and protector, becomes anxious about Nate's welfare. It's driving Rio crazy that Nate affects him so much, and he realizes it is more than lust. Nate has the same feelings but knows that Rio has a partner and is miserable thinking about it. It finally gets so bad that Rio begs his partner, Ryan, to come to be with him. At first Ryan blows it off, but after talking to Garron about it, decides he really needs to come see what's going on.
There's a lot of love in this story. It's also about dedication and learning to be honest with those you love. It's also the introduction of my favorite ménage—Ryan, Rio, and Nate, before they move to Cattle Valley; I enjoyed being able to see how the trio's relationship began. If you like cowboys, gay men, intrigue, drama, justice, family, and the many ways there are to love, you may enjoy this story. Thanks, Carol, for reminding us that being honest is never wrong.