Author ~ Mark Wildyr
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 18 March 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
When vacationing Denver architect Roger Mackie rolls into a quaint old trading post in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountain Range to gas up his car, it’s the start of a life-changing journey. Lean, handsome Chippewa Johnny Two-Guns is looking for a ride. He’s on a mission to recover some clan treasures. Roger is immediately smitten and drives Johnny all the way to Arizona.
Although the two successfully build a friendship, Roger is unable to initiate the intimacy they both seem to desire. A second visit gives Roger another chance to draw Johnny out of his shell. The payoff is spectacular, leading to a week of sex and discovery, during which Johnny’s innocent enthusiasm shows Roger a new side of love between men. But trouble is on the horizon for the new couple, as fate seems set against them. And what does the sudden appearance of sexy young architect Brad Beaver portend for the future?
After a FUBAR in Las Vegas, Roger is not a happy bunny and takes off for a road trip. Meeting Johnny and offering him a lift, resurrects memories he’d tried hard to forget. Roger believed himself to favor women – he even had an ex-wife. But, in his teens a guy named Hank had shown him that loving wasn’t necessarily all boy/girl. Seeing Johnny reminded Roger of the lessons Hank taught him, and during their drive, he gets to know Johnny better. Though, Johnny Two Guns isn’t exactly talkative.
In this story, the journey taken – although physically happening, is an emotional one, too. The road trip takes in some lovely sights while Roger struggles with his changing sexuality. But the road trip isn’t where life’s journey ends.
To begin with I wasn’t sure what to make of this story. It is a slow burn to the point where I felt I was in a traffic jam waiting for something to happen. Then again stuck in a car for hundreds of miles, there’s not much a person can do except tick away the time. But, about a third of the way through, the story came alive.
Johnny Two Guns is told in the first person, and like many tales, it has its highs and lows. There are twists and turns, some unexpected, that made me, laugh, cry, become protective and annoyed. The past has to be moved on from, but sometimes the past is so damned good and precious that to move on means doing it kicking and screaming.
Roger is a wise man and says many thoughtful things while remaining conscious of the age and experience of those around him. Johnny stole my heart and brought a lump to my throat several times. I don’t intend to give out spoilers, but, although Johnny isn’t always at the fore of the storytelling, his presence is always there. He was a diamond of a character. All the main characters go through emotional turmoil of one sort or another.
Despite its slow start, the story is worth persevering with. There is a good balance between dialogue and story progression paragraphs. The heat rating is good too. It is a story about life, learning how to cope with the unexpected, loss, love and moving on. And, to unexpected places is where this story took me. My emotions certainly had a workout. Bravo Mark Wildyr.