Pickup man Marty Fairgrave and rodeo star Tripp Colby have a secret relationship. Within the confines of a trailer, Tripp is everything Marty wants him to be. Outside of that place, he is ashamed to be around him. Though they have been together for over a year, Tripp still goes out of his way to avoid Marty even to the point of befriending the most vocal homophobe they know. When the rude words and gestures are thrown Tripp is right there handing them out.
When Marty is injured saving Tripp from a bull and Tripp refuses to even show concern over his health, Marty knows that it is time to call it quits. Tripp will never be able to give him what he needs and he deserves more than to be someone’s dirty secret. Even though he loves Tripp he knows it is best for everyone if they break up and move on with their lives.
Tripp doesn’t want to lose Marty but he can’t come out. He has sponsors that would not accept a gay bull rider and he is terrified of the reaction it would provoke with his family. There would be so many problems with him admitting he is gay because his father used to own a ‘school’ that was supposed to train the gay out of men. His childhood was flooded with how wrong it is to be gay. For Marty though he might be able to take that step. But when a major incident causes his future to be in jeopardy he doesn’t know what, if anything, is worth it anymore.
I really enjoyed Marty and his friends in this story. Marty has two best friends that are like brothers to him and together they are the highlight of the story. They accept Marty for what he is and defend him against Tripp and all other abuse.
What I didn’t enjoy was Tripp. For 50% of the story he was firmly in the closet. Marty broke up with him but Tripp still pushed Marty. He wouldn’t come out for him but he still wanted that secret relationship. Then when something happens he is a complete asshole to Marty. He lacked any appeal for me. It wasn’t until the final pages where we were given any hint that he might be worth the trouble. I would like my main character to be redeemed sooner than the last chapter so I can wrap myself around the warm fuzzy feelings I am supposed to end with.
Pickup Men is a quick read. There is a set up for the another novel with some of these same characters and I find myself a little interested in how it will play out. L.C. Chase is new to me and while I didn’t like Tripp here, the writing is still worth picking up another novel by her, if offered. Final grade- C
That excitable little dude named Hope just refused to give up.