Book Reviews

Chase the Stars (Lang Downs 2) by Ariel Tachna at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Cowboys / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 14-October-2012

Book Blurb

Twenty-year-old Chris Simms is barely keeping his head above water. After losing his mother and his home, he struggles to provide for himself and his brother. When homophobes attack him, he thinks his life is over, but then he’s rescued by jackaroos from a nearby sheep station. He's as stunned to be offered a job there as he is to discover both the station owner and foreman are gay.

For Chris, Lang Downs is a dream—one that only gets better when Chris realizes the jackaroo he's crushing on, Jesse Harris, is gay and amenable to a fling. Everything goes well until Chris realizes he’s falling for Jesse a lot harder than allowed by their deal.

Jesse is a drifter who moves from station to station, never looking for anything permanent. Convinced Chris is too young and fragile for a real relationship, he sets rules to keep things casual. Watching the station owner and his foreman together makes Jesse wonder if there are benefits to settling down, but when he realizes how Chris feels about him, he panics. He and Chris will have to decide if a try for happiness is worth the risk before the end of the season tears them apart.



Sequel to Inherit the Sky

Book Review

Humans are not meant to be solitary. We are social animals. We crave the contact offered by others. To pretend otherwise is to deny a need as basic as eating; but some people try. They are so disillusioned that they think the best thing to do is to remain emotionally and physically disconnected from those around them. Jessie Harris, from 'Chase the Stars' by Ariel Tachna, is one of those men. He's never put down roots, never thought he'd ever want to be responsible for anyone but himself; but that was before he met Chris Simms. When Chris slipped into his bed, he also slipped into Jesse's heart, but whether he can remain with Jessie will depend upon how honest he can be with himself.


Jessie is handsome, independent, and stubborn. He's also kind, generous, and nurturing. He readily takes Chris under his wing and helps him learn about life on a sheep station. He and Chris first become good friends, then sexual partners. Even though, by mutual agreement, their sexual relationship is just for fun, their behavior indicates otherwise. Jessie and Chris star gaze, eat every meal together, spend all of their free time with each other, engage in sweet kisses as well as passionate sex, and even sleep together. Both of them acknowledge the difference between being with other men in the past and what they have now. Chris and Jessie truly enjoy being with each other.


One of the most endearing, yet quite sensual scenes in the book is when Jessie offers to shave Chris whose arm is in a cast: “Jesse hovered at that slight distance for a moment, his eyes searching Chris’s face—for what, Chris didn’t know. Whatever he saw must have reassured him, because he closed the space between them, his lips covering Chris’s in a tender kiss. Chris froze, afraid to move for fear of running Jesse off, but the contact continued, Jesse’s lips moving lightly over his, asking for a kiss in return but demanding nothing. It was everything a kiss was supposed to be and nothing like anything Chris had experienced in his backroom pickups.“ How many men just thinking to hook up, are so careful about the other's feelings? Chris definitely brought out the best in Jessie and vice versa. They ignited a spark in the other that burned too bright to be ignored. Chris knew what he wanted and very quickly realizes that he had found it at Lang Downs, a safe place to belong, a part of a larger family that took in strays and welcomed them wholeheartedly. Jessie doesn't realize that's what he wants and when the reality of the situation hits him, he gets spooked and runs. He isn't ready to give up his independence, not even for a safe, loving, comfortable life with someone he is crazy about but not ready to admit it.


It's good to see that Caine and Macklin are progressing in their relationship. Maklin is as stubborn as ever, but is obviously very much in love with Caine. Even though things seem to be going well, he still has doubts about their ability to maintain a lasting partnership. He is still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for his happiness to disappear. I admire Caine's patience and persistence in nurturing the relationship and trying to reassure him despite Macklin's uncertainty. Another thing I got a kick out of was their banter about meddling with Jessie and Chris' relationship, especially when, in actuality, neither one stayed out of it. The visit from Caine's endearing family fit in perfectly with the familial theme which permeates the whole series. Lang Downs will always have a candle in the window beckoning those who need a home.


This book can be read alone, but there's so much background in the first story, that I'd recommend reading them sequentially. There's a  strong message of hope and acceptance in this series which makes it exceptional. The characters are so realistic; the way they interact with each other creates a comfortable sense of family that many of the strays they take in desperately need. The way the Lang Downs series is going, Cattle Valley is going to have some serious Aussie competition. Thank you, Ariel, for revisiting this extraordinary place and it's people with yet another entertaining story.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 250 pages/79298 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-September-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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