Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Emmy Sanders

Genre: Gay Erotic Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (12 Years), Opposites Attract, Porn Industry, Romance, Series, Small Town, Southern Speak Overload, Virgin

Length: 301 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon

Blurb –

Can an inexperienced cowboy wrangle the adult movie star of his dreams?

I’ve lived in the same small town my entire life. And I like it, for the most part: being a rancher, taking care of my chickens, and even my meddlesome family. What I don’t like are the limited dating options. I’m gay, and at thirty-six-years-old, I’ve never been with a man.

When I enter a contest to win my favorite adult entertainer’s support for our town’s first Pride Parade, I never expect to win. And I definitely never expect to find myself in a friends-with-benefits relationship with the man.

The problem is, I quickly realize I want more. But could someone as confident, sexy, and independent as Silver ever consider building a life with a simple cowboy like me?

My work is my life. Filming under the moniker Silver, I’m happy enough. I’m making good money, I’m free from my crummy past, I’m well on my way to the career I actually dream about, and I’m not looking for any complications.

Enter Hawthorne Moore, with his sweet-as-molasses drawl, that adorable gap-toothed smile, and the beautiful way in which he begs, and suddenly, I find myself getting in too deep. And that’s a problem, because I’ve spent years building up these walls around my heart, and I don’t know how to bust them down.

Can I work through my trauma and lasso myself a cowboy, or will I lose the only man who’s ever loved me?

Virgin Hearts is a friends-with-benefits-to-more romance that includes a flirty performer, risqué photo shoots amongst peeping bovine, an endearing cowboy whose cock (ahem, rooster) rises at dawn, dom/sub undertones, and one very HEA. It’s book 2 in the Plum Valley Cowboys series but can be read as a standalone.

Review –

I’m just going to go ahead and say that my reviews of some of these author’s books won’t be all be published in series order. I read Dix (Elite 8 Studios, #1) without reading Virgin Hearts, that introduced Dix, Mateo, and the others from Elite 8. I wanted to see where they came from, so I jumped into this one right after. I have to say that I REALLY wish I would’ve read Mateo and Hawthorne’s story first. Had I done so, my opinion of Dix definitely would’ve been different because this shows a completely different side of him.

I’m kind of iffy about reading the first book in this series right now because something tells me that Easton and Hawthorne’s dad will make me angry. He was okay for the most part in this book, but a lot was said about how he was when Wyatt and Easton got together, none of it good. I’m also holding off on reading Unconventional Hearts (Plum Valley Cowboys, #3) because one of the main characters is Hawthorne’s nephew, who’s a teenager in this one. I’m not sure I’m ready to see him grown up yet, especially with two partners. I’ll come back to the series when I’m done with the Elite 8 Studio Series. That shouldn’t take long because I’m quickly working my way through those books.

Now to my review.

36-year-old Hawthorne lives in the tiny Texas town of Plum Valley. His brother Easton (from book 1) will soon be getting married to his longtime best friend Wyatt. Will, Easton’s son, wants to surprise his dad and almost dad with Plum Valley’s very first Pride parade. It’s a wedding gift of sorts. The question is how can Will make it happen?

That’s where his Uncle Hawthorne comes in. What Will doesn’t know is that Hawthorne enters an online contest that will, if he wins, give him five grand for expenses for the parade, and he’ll get to meet his favorite gay porn star who goes by Silver. He never in a million years thinks he’ll win. But as soon as Silver (aka Mateo) sees the submission video it’s game over. He doesn’t care about the other entries.

Winning the contest thrills Hawthorne at the same time it freaks him out. Mateo will be coming to town for a week. Leading up to it, the two talk and text a lot and work on planning the parade, something Mateo’s not required to do. There’s just something about Hawthorne that makes him want to know him. Helping plan the parade is a good start.

There are immediate sparks for both men when they meet. Good for Mateo. He wants to climb Hawthorne like a tree. 😉 It’s terrifying for Hawthorne because he’s never had sex with a man before, and all his ‘dates’ have ended badly. What would a famous porn star want with a virgin?

Let’s just say that Mateo’s all too eager to teach Hawthorne anything he wants to learn.

The week they spend together is great. Mateo’s able to drop his Silver persona and be himself for the first time in his life. Hawthorne’s having the time of his life. He’s also getting feelings, something he doubts Mateo would appreciate.

The parade is a success, the week is amazing, but then it’s time for Mateo to go back to Vegas to his life and his job (s). That was sad.

They keep up a long-distance friendship that involves lots of naughty calls and (video) phone sex. I knew what was coming during one of the phone sex experiences because Dix joked about it in his book. It was funny leading up to it because I knew what was going to happen.

Everything’s going awesome. They talk and text every day for weeks. They even have one face-to-face weekend that’s off the charts sexy while also being really romantic. Unfortunately, after that weekend, one of them has an ignorant bonehead moment. That made me mad but the other one forgave him and that was that.

I think he should’ve groveled more, but that’s me.

Mateo is still doing his porn, something that doesn’t bother Hawthorne in the least. He knows it’s a job, nothing more. That, as I said in my review of Dix, was refreshing, and it didn’t bother me at all that Mateo was with other guys. It was only at work, never away from it.

Mateo had an abusive past. It was so bad that he has a difficult time opening up to anybody. Dix knows about it because they’re roommates and best friends. Mateo just can’t bring himself to open up like that to Hawthorne. All that was sad, even understandable to an extent, but it got tiring after a while. When they finally did get it together – and come together – it was super sweet. It just takes a lot of soul-searching and realizations on Mateo’s part to get there.

The town of Plum Valley is your typical small town. It has the nosy townsfolk you’d expect to see. Unfortunately, it also has a homophobe or two. Thankfully, they weren’t all over the place, and it was mainly just one guy that I’m guessing was introduced in the first book.

Some of the people in town recognize Mateo as Silver the gay porn star. Even so, they don’t make it weird and welcome him into the fold like he belongs there.

I enjoyed Wyatt and Hawthorne’s interactions. It’s easy to see they’re good friends. Wyatt has no filter. I also enjoyed seeing Dix and Tink (Alex) before their stories. Dix and Mateo together are hilarious. I liked seeing a side of Dix in this book that doesn’t come out much in his and Niko’s story later.

I loved these guys together, and I enjoyed reading about the people of Plum Valley and the ones at Elite 8 Studios.

This was a good story. Really. But there were two things that absolutely drove me crazy, and I already mentioned one of them – Mateo’s constant pulling back because of his past. I get it. I do. He had a rough past, but it was just too much in this book.

The other thing is the southern speak. I’m a true southerner. I live in the heart of the deep South. As a southerner, I absolutely DESPISE southern speak in books. I despise it because it always comes across as us being lazy and uneducated. While I admit it wasn’t as bad in this book as I’ve seen in others, it was still annoying to no end. I’ve always said that the southern accent/drawl is nice to hear in the real world, but it doesn’t carry over too well in print. That was definitely the case in Virgin Hearts. No doubt it’ll be just as bad in the other books in the series. I guess I’ll have to try to overlook it, though it’s difficult to do when it’s all over the place. Apparently, the g is silent in any word that ends in -ing – callin’, talkin’, to name a couple. Not just that, but we also say ‘Howdy’ a lot – we don’t – and prob’ly is how we say probably – it isn’t. I could go on, but I’m not. You can see it in some of the quotes I’ve added to my review. While I get where the author was going with the lingo, bad southern speak in books is one of my biggest reading pet peeves.

Other than what I mention above, I’m enjoying this author’s writing style.