Why is it that good girls/guys fall for the bad boys? Is it because opposites attract or because they're more exciting, experienced or confident? Perhaps it's because they think that they will be the ones to finally gentle these men; that these bad boys will love so much that they will want to change their ways just for them? In 'Wanted' by J.M. Snyder, this is apparently what Ethan Phillips told Jesse: “There’s a wildness in you I want to capture, a hardness I
want to soften.” He's enamored with Jesse McCrae immediately and the feeling is mutual. As the story continues, the two form an unlikely bond stronger than either of them thought possible, but finding a way to keep that bond intact presents a problem.
As I read, I imagined the narrator rambling on at a slow, even pace, speaking in a low, resonating voice colored with a western twang, much like the American actor Sam Elliot. Now considering that I think Sam Elliott plays one of the sexiest cowboys alive, hearing the story in his voice definitely enhanced my enjoyment and made the few quibbles I have with it seem almost insignificant.
Although I very much appreciated the loving, gentle way their relationship evolves and how devoted they are to one another, Jesse's descriptions of Ethan as sweet, innocent, beautiful, and soft sound as if he's referring to a young woman rather than a young man and Ethan's undying adoration of Jesse's every move. It was a little mushy, but very endearing at the same time. The other thing that bothered me a little was his friends’ complete acceptance of his proclivity towards men, even to the point of teasing him about it. “You sure like em pretty...” and “Getting lucky tonight?” The other men's tolerance in the story can be explained by the fact that crossing him in any way could mean certain death. In any case, their tolerance fit well into the story so I had little trouble suspending my disbelief.
'Wanted' is an enjoyable, although perhaps not quite historically accurate western love story, full of all the things good westerns are known for—a reluctant hero/avenger, evil ranch owner, gambling, cards, rough, dangerous men and a damsel or in this case, mansel in distress. It's romantic, mushy, endearing, exciting, tragic, and has a happy for now with the possibility of a happily ever after ending. It's pure entertainment, fit for a relaxing curl up on the couch which I thoroughly enjoyed and, with this in mind, believe you will too.
NOTE: This book was provided by JMS Books for the purpose of a review on Queer Magazine Online