Book Reviews

Outlast the Night (Lang Downs 3) by Ariel Tachna at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Cowboys / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 04-June-2013

Book Blurb

Office manager Sam Emery is unemployed and out of luck. When his emotionally abusive wife demands a divorce, he contacts the one person he has left, his brother, Neil. He doesn’t expect Neil to reject him, but he also doesn’t expect the news of his divorce—and of his sexuality—to be met with such acceptance.

Neil takes Sam to Lang Downs, the sheep station Neil calls home. There, Sam learns that life as a gay man isn’t impossible. Caine and Macklin, the station owners, certainly seem to be making it work. When Caine offers Sam a job, it’s a dream come true.

Jeremy Taylor leaves the only home he’s ever known when his brother’s homophobia becomes more than he can bear. He goes to the one place he knows he will be accepted: Lang Downs. He clicks with Sam instantly—but the animosity between Lang Downs and Jeremy’s home station runs deep, and the jackaroos won’t accept Jeremy without a fight. Between Sam’s insecurity and Jeremy’s precarious position, their road will be a hard one—and that’s without having to wait for Sam’s divorce to be final before starting a new life together.


Book Review

“If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. ~ unknown

'Outlast the Night' by Ariel Tachna is about second chances, not just for love, but for life, friendship, and a place to truly belong. In the third book of the Lang Downs sequels, we are introduced to Sam Emery, Lang Downs's foreman Neil's brother, who desperately needs a second chance. Sam is running from an abusive marriage and having to hide his homosexuality. He's amazed to learn that he's going to somewhere he doesn't need to hide the fact that he is gay. Jeremy Taylor knows that he's headed for somewhere his sexuality won't be questioned, but because of his offensive, homophobic brother and the nasty things he's done to the people at Lang Downs, he will not easily be accepted. Jeremy realizes that he'll have to prove that he's not his brother and does not share either his deplorable disposition or his narrow-minded opinions. Both men are being handed a second chance at life; what they do with it will be determined to a great extent by what they have learned from their past mistakes.

Sam is down and out at the beginning of the story. His self-esteem is so badly damaged that he's lost faith in himself and his ability to be useful. His self-deprecating attitude is caused by his wife's verbal abuse and mistreatment and compounded by disgust over engaging in meaningless sexual encounters which made him feel even more used and worthless. Under that dull exterior shines a heart of gold, a good, loving person who deserves to love and be loved. Sam is willing to pitch in in any situation and his self-worth improves with the acceptance of the people at Lang Downs, especially when it's apparent that Caine, the co-owner, gives him a full-time job, not just out of pity, but out of real necessity. With Sam back in his element, he begins to stand a little taller, hold his head up a little more. One person in particular, Jeremy, is interested is Sam, but through his haze of insecurity, he can't understand why that would be. He's attracted to Jeremy, enjoys his company, but is wary of moving to far too fast. He's also concerned that his wife will find out and use the information as an excuse to punish him even more.

For being a rough, tough jackaroo, Jeremy is a real softie inside. I admire him for a number of reasons. It takes real courage to leave his home and go to a place where he knows he will start at the entry level of a job which he's done all of his life. He will have to earn the respect of the men he's working with, not only with his skills, but his loyalty as well. Another thing I admire him for is his restraint, not only by staying out of altercations with the other men, but particularly with Sam. Jeremy recognizes the damage Sam has endured and is determined to help him heal. Even though he wants Sam desperately, he's willing to wait. Jeremy puts his desires aside because he recognizes that what Sam needs most at this point is a friend. Showing an incredible amount of self-control, he supports Sam in his quest to find his way back to believing in himself. Sam and Jeremy recognize that being friends first lays a firm foundation for any relationship and they want theirs to be long lasting. The fact that they don't have sex only serves to entice us, to give us something to look forward to later, when things are right for them, rather than rushing into some meaningless slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am, or , in this case sir. They have both had enough of empty, meaningless encounters. They are holding out for the real thing and I think that's admirable.

With this story, Ariel does more world-building, presenting us with an even fuller, richer picture of Lang Downs and its people. Sam and Jeremy's decision to be celibate until Sam is divorced, speaks highly of the caliber of people who occupy the farm community. Slowly, but surely, she's enriching the lives of the people there, arranging situations which give them the opportunity to make more of their lives than they have had in the past, and celebrate the life they have now. Idealistic? Maybe, but isn't it wonderful to think of a place like this, where people can live full, rich lives without fear of retribution. As delightful as it is, I see this story as a bridge, a very practical way to further the plot in order to be able to move on into the next story without a lot of lengthy explanations. The stage is definitely set for better things yet to come.

Current Lang Downs fans will enjoy seeing all of the characters they have come to know and love thrive and grow and new readers won't help but be able to see the devotion between Sam and Jeremy and cheer them on as well. I highly recommend this story to anyone who believes in second chances. Thanks, Ariel, for the great visit back to Lang Downs. I'm looking forward to book #4.





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

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 210 pages/61181 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 20-May-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
Buy Link