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Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale

   (16 reviews)

Boone and Coy have built a damn good life in Larkspur, and feel on top of the world at being able to share such blessings with each other. The Old West has its challenges for men made like them, but everything is falling into place on their little piece of the frontier... until an unexpected visitor shows up out of the blue. Suddenly, their world is turned upside down as they struggle to help the troubled man.

This is a stand alone story, but reading its predecessor "Sidewinder" first is recommended in order to get maximum enjoyment from the story. I don't think you will be disappointed if you choose to read "Sidewinder" before this one.
Copyright © 2021 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.

Story Recommendations (53 members)

  • Action Packed 14
  • Addictive/Pacing 41
  • Characters 53
  • Chills 5
  • Cliffhanger 17
  • Compelling 10
  • Feel-Good 12
  • Humor 9
  • Smoldering 26
  • Tearjerker 20
  • Unique 29
  • World Building 27

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Bdamdifino

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

Followup book to Sidewinder.  As well written and executed as the 1st book, with a HUGE twist I wasn't expecting 1st. This is another "can't put it down" read from this fine author.  It's so good, I'm going to scroll through and see if there's a 3rd in the series.  I have now read 3 books in a row from this author and I really enjoy his style and ability to paint a picture with words that you can feel in your hert!

Response from the author:

Thank you so much for another review, and kind and encouraging words, Bdamdifino! I'm proud of this one. Sequels are difficult in that it is hard to match up to the first one. It appears I kind of did. :) I have a story posting now that has ties to this story and its predecessor. "It's called Bearpaw: An Old West Tale", and a chapter posts every Monday. As well, there is another western called "Boundaries: An Old West Tale" which has a small tie to these other stories. It's a shorter one, only four chapters because it was written for an Anthology, but I think you would like it. As far as "Larkspur", it was a story that wouldn't go away, and I'm so glad readers took to it. Thanks again, and cheers! G.  

  • Love 4
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Dan South

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

If you’ve scrolled down far enough to read my review then you should know two things by now: 

1. This is a much loved sequel to Sidewinder, a novel by the same Author.

2. You’ll appreciate this more if you invest the time to read Sidewinder. You’ll love it. Quick read. It’s addictive.

This stands alone though. Read on all who choose to. No chance you’ll be disappointed.

All of that aside, come read an unlikely love story. Love story!

Since the dawn of time Men have loved Men. No difference in the Old West. Thank goodness no difference in the Old West.

I couldn’t love these guys more.

 

Response from the author:

Thank you for the great review, Dan. I couldn't love these guys more either, and yes, the story does stand alone, but you're right to recommend reading "Sidewinder" first. Men have loved men from the beginning of time, and the Old West has been romanticized for many decades so it seemed right to combine my passion for writing with my childhood passion for westerns. Appreciate you recommending this story to others. I agree they won't be disappointed if they choose to mosey down this trail. Cheers!  

  • Love 6
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Mancunian

   3 of 3 members found this review helpful 3 / 3 members

What a great story of life back in the days of the old wild west and what life was like for gay men living in those times. Headstall describes his characters in a way that helps you picture them, he writes their dialogue as authentically as possible which helps to make them feel real. Location descriptions draw you in so that you are drawn in and almost feel as though you are there with the characters. It's easy to feel that you are there witnessing events as they unfold, drawing you in to this story. I'm not going to give away any story details, I just recommend that you read this story, I think you will be drawn in and as engrossed as I was, feeling as though you really know the characters. A recommended story that is deserving of the five star rating that it has been given.

Response from the author:

Thanks for the wonderful review, Mancunian. The reaction to this sequel continues to surprise me, and the joy that gives me is immeasurable. I love this world, the setting of the Old West, and in particular this little town called Larkspur. I have come to feel at home there, and I believe you are telling me that you do as well. I waffled about writing this sequel, worried it would fall flat, but now I consider it one of my very best writing decisions. We never know as writers how something will be received, and maybe that is the best part of it. I'm glad you were drawn into this story, my friend, and that you are recommending it to others. Truly, I appreciate that, and hope new readers will take note. These characters really do 'live' for me... they exist, and I am thankful to have met them. :) Cheers!

  • Love 8
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PBax

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

Having read Sidewinder, the predecessor story, I was happy to rejoin Boone and Coy in Larkspur and was quickly in their hands for a new story. If you haven't read Sidewinder yet, stop now and go read that story first. It adds a layer of depth to Larkspur that both you and the story deserve.

Larkspur delivers another unapologetic romance set in the Old West. It's a story about love and finding a place to feel happy and safe and whole. It's a story about heart. And in delightfully so, this story is also about older mature men. One of the characters even has some slight salt and pepper hair. This is a romance so don't expect any loss of virility, but the appearance of older man/older man (gasp) romance is something I loudly applaud. And in the hands of Headstall, men of all age get to be sturdy enough and vulnerable enough to support a happy ever after. You'll fall in love with the characters as they love each other. And Headstall engages us from beginning to end and drives us delightfully to a triumphant conclusion.

I'm generally a fairly cynical and jaded old dog. And we live in times when hatred and vitriol are once again poisoning our common spaces. But here in Sidewinder and Larkspur we can find some solace, hope and a great big helping of heart. Your soul needs this romance story. Lift your spirits and breathe in the love.  

Read Sidewinder. Read Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale. Very enjoyable! 
 

Response from the author:

My goodness. What a joyful testament to this story, a sequel I am immensely satisfied with. Thank you so much PBax. I think we all need romance in our lives, whether the real thing or through characters we can live through. I love writing about mature men and the old west, and Sheriff Willard intrigued right from the second he entered my head. The "Watcher" series is also about mature men, and was a very rewarding experience for this writer. I would like to live in Larkspur... and in my mind, it exists. :)  So happy you shared your thoughts and feelings with me and potential new readers. I want everyone to fall in love with these two books, just like I did. Again, thank you, my friend. :hug: 

  • Like 1
  • Love 7
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Quixo

   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

A great sequel to "Sidewinder".  This is even more of a love story than the original to me.  Beautifully written.  I kept reading chapter after chapter, wanting to read what happens next, and not wanting to stop.  I love all of the characters, and got more than a little misty-eyed more than once.  A great read.

Response from the author:

Thanks for the great review, Quixo! I don't often write sequels, and I suppose it's because I worry they wont live up to the original. Fortunately, in this case I have to agree with you. This story may have even surpassed the original, and that is both surprising and inspiring for me. I so appreciated the support this story received and I hope new readers will give it and its predecessor a chance. Cheers!

  • Love 6
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Pascal

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

This is a beatuiful continuation from Sidewinder. All characters continue naturally from the original story and continue their development in Larkspur. It's a big pleasure to dive back into the story of Boone and Coy, their love and their lives. After reading it back to back with Sidewinder, the development of those two young men becomes very evident. They both have grown a lot during Sidewinder, but they have continued building their life together inbetween those two stories. The way they they treat their animals and their land is wholesome and makes me happy.

There is also the reintroduction of a supporting character from Sidewinder that feels like he was always meant to star in this sequel. His journey and his development feels as natural as the love between Boone and Coy, and just like Sidewinder, Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale is one of the best stories here on GA. I feel like every emotion here is perfectly described, every action by any character is relatable and feels natural.

Thank you Headstall - I hope there will be other stories in this world in the future!

Response from the author:

Thanks, Pascal! Sequels are scary. It's always hard to match the original, so it's a safe decision to choose not to write one. That said, this world wouldn't leave me alone, and I must admit it felt natural to continue in it. Right from the time I introduced that character you mention, in Sidewinder, I wanted to tell his story. I knew one was there, and the voices became too loud to ignore. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I hope there is more to come from Larkspur as well... and one idea is niggling at me, so the possibility is there. Thanks again... I hope others read this and are inspired to read these two stories. Cheers! 

  • Love 8
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wenmale64

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

This is a wonderful visit into the lives of Boone, Coy and Mitch from the original Sidewinder story. This tells a story of loss and pain and the feelings of mortality life has for us all. The twists and turns make this an outstanding read. I do recommend you read Garys first story, Sidewinder, to understand the feelings of the old west and discover the characters as they are developed with such care and emotion. These stories draw you into a time past and really make you feel the fears and pains for men who loved men in those unforgiving times. Read both and you will be glad you did!  Gary, you are a very talented author and I will always look for your future works :hug:.

Response from the author:

Thanks, wenmale, for your kind support of this story and for my other writing. I agree the original "Sidewinder" be read first for best effect. I loved writing about this time period. There is such a richness to the locale, and yet a simplicity to the time. It was mostly about survival, and building something real. So much hope existed in the Old West... new chances for anyone with the determination to succeed, and I plan to write more westerns in the future. Thanks for recommending this to others. I truly appreciate that. Cheers!

  • Love 6
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Geron Kees

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

The sequel to Sidewinder (and do read that first!), and a worthy follow-up, indeed. This tale is obviously the work of someone that loves the genre and knows it well. The characters and situations ring true, and they are characters and situations you can get next to, enjoy, and fall in love with. The old west as it is seldom told, as it needs to be told, the missing chapter of that history with men loving men, and thank you very much!

Response from the author:

Thanks, Geron. I certainly do love the genre and I always have, but authentic gay-themed westerns can be difficult to find. I'd like to think I've put a tiny dent in that shortage. You kind words make me feel very proud. Cheers!

  • Love 7
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Albert1434

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

This is a great love story you are going to love it! Love in the old west how can you go wrong with this combo:yes: I would recommend it to any one! Coy and Boone and there lovely Red Apple farm. Coy and Boone are from Sidewinder the first story. Read they both you will be glad you did. You will find that both are rich with Gary Magic:yes: With great and powerful description and perfect  dialogue!

Response from the author:

Thanks, Albert! I appreciate you recommending this story to others, and I agree it is best to read "Sidewinder" first. This was a fun story to write, and reader response and interaction made it that much better. Your support is never taken for granted, my friend. Cheers! 

  • Like 1
  • Love 7
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seakinklets

   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

Beautiful piece about a dying man meeting his first love after decades of absence. Seeing Coy and Boone again was nice, but not all that exciting. They're living up their happily ever after as farmers and just as in love as when we left them. Their stable life is a great boon to Mitch however, and seeing the fatherly relationship between the three is heartwarming. Coy and Boone got lucky, and its nice both learning more about Mitch and how his young love didnt pan out as well, and his complex feelings on the matter. The story is incredibly simple, the setting is quite simple, and there are really only about 4 characters. And yet, I was thoroughly invested from word one to the end. I was just as interested every time a chapter came out. Its a lot of talking, a lot of thinking, and a bit of farmwork, and yet it was a wonderful read. The characters feel incredibly three dimensional and *real*, and the strife and love between them feels so *real*. Remove the word love from the story and its still so obvious how much they care for each other. Its truly a testament to how well written this is that such a simple and barebones story can be so fulfilling and worthwhile based on the emotions behind it. This is art, and among the best stories across the entire site. I struggle to think of a story on here that compares to how clear and deeply you can *feel* the love pouring from every word they speak.

I repeat myself a lot here, but I do it for emphasis. I would love this to be turned into a proper novel. I would want a paperback copy of this sitting on my shelf. This is a story that even if you didn't read the first, I can easily recommend to anyone I know.

Response from the author:

Thank you so much seakinklets! This part of your review is so affirming of my efforts... 

This is art, and among the best stories across the entire site. I struggle to think of a story on here that compares to how clear and deeply you can *feel* the love pouring from every word they speak.

I repeat myself a lot here, but I do it for emphasis. I would love this to be turned into a proper novel. I would want a paperback copy of this sitting on my shelf. This is a story that even if you didn't read the first, I can easily recommend to anyone I know.

You are incredibly kind in your praise, and you are correct in that it was such a simple, barebones story. I consider the backdrop, this magical place called Larkspur, to be another important character in the story. Sequels are difficult with regards to expectations, but you and the other readers have made me feel I have done the original justice in this follow up. I can't ask for more than what you've given me here. Cheers!

  • Like 1
  • Love 11
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raven1

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

This wonderfully written story of star-crossed lovers will delight you. The sensory setting of the old West makes you wish you were there.  Boone and Coy from Sidewinder settle in Larkspur and begin to make friends.  They reunite with an old friend when he arrives with bad news.  How these friends face the challenges makes a great story.  Their faith, stubbornness and most importantly love for each other supports their lives in this trying time. Gripping emotions, witty authentic dialogue, engaging setting and well paced plot. I was left feeling wonderful, but wanting the story to continue.

Response from the author:

Thanks, raven! I love 'sensory setting of the Old West'. That was most important to me. The fact you were satisfied, but also left wanting more is what I always hope to hear. I truly hope what you say here will convince other readers, ones who may not think they are fans of the western genre, to give this story and its predecessor a chance. Again, I think you. Cheers! 

  • Like 3
  • Love 7
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drsawzall

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

A well written story, a companion piece to Sidewinder, is set in the old American west, and is as good as it gets. Superb writing, a thoroughly enjoyable plot will leave you scratching your head, yelling at the computer monitor, laughing at the antics of the main characters, and reaching for the occasional tissue.

What are you reading this review for when you should be reading the first chapter...like now!!! 

Response from the author:

Jeez... you make me want to read it! Thanks, drsawzall! I'm pleased to hear you got what you did from this story. It certainly was a wonderful journey for me to take with the readers, and I hope others will heed your wonderful recommendation. Cheers! 

  • Like 3
  • Love 8
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84Mags

· Edited by 84Mags

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

Set in the vast expanse of the American Old West, this story brings us Boone and Coy from ‘Sidewinder’ , but really focuses on Mitch who was introduced to us as the sheriff. Although it isn’t required to read that tale first, I highly recommend that you do! Both stories are exceptionally written, with rich dialogue, descriptive language and attention to the smallest of details. 
Those looking for stories that focus on adults and older characters will fall in love with ‘Larkspur…’  There is something for everyone: suspense, drama, tears, passion, grief, jubilation, frustration, triumph and, not least of all, faith. This story and the characters will come to life and stay with you. 

Response from the author:

Thanks, Mags! You are very kind. I'm really glad you appreciated the attention to detail. That makes all the hours of research worth it. And yes, thanks for pointing out there are mature characters in this story. I enjoyed that aspect very much, as did the readers, I think. :)  Potential readers please listen to Mags and give these stories a chance. As stated, this one stands alone, but reading "Sidewinder" first will serve to enrich the experience. Thanks again, my friend. Cheers! 

  • Like 3
  • Love 8
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Sherye Story Reader

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

I recommend that everyone should read this story of how one man overcame the obstacle of thinking he was dying to finding true friends and a lost love. This story tells it all on how  you would feel if your life was put upside down to find out that nothing was wrong. You will find that Mitch and Will with Coy and Boones help that there is a way to get back love the way you want it to be! So please read this story of the old west and see how they use their way of loving like no other!

Response from the author:

Thanks so much StoryReader, for encouraging others to read this little western story of mine. I love westerns and always have, so it makes me happy to hear how you enjoyed this one. I can't thank you enough for the support, and for recommending this to others. Thanks again. Cheers!

  • Like 4
  • Love 8
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centexhairysub

   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

A new tale with some old friends from the Sidewinder story plus a special new one for an old favorite.  I do love westerns; they are few and far between not just on this site but anywhere.  I think they take a special type of writer to really bring them to life, fortunately we have one here in Headstall.  

This story brings Coy and Boone from the Sidewinder and adds Mitch, the sheriff from that story; who I found to be a fascinating secondary character in it.  We they add in Will, Mitch's long in the past love for a story full of passion and remembering what makes life worth living.  

Truly well written, the nature descriptive is as good here as in Sidewinder; and that is saying a lot.  Love how the author brings such descriptive language into the story.  You truly smell scents, hear sounds, and experience so much while reading the story.  Pacing and flow of the story is first rate.  A few new interesting character along for the ride as well.

Can't recommend this story enough, sit back in front of a roaring fire, sip on a nice drink; and get ready for a wonderful tale.

Response from the author:

What a wonderful review! Thanks, centex. I remember being reluctant to write a sequel, but the fact was the first one was so much fun, to immerse myself into the old west and bring readers along with me, that I kept getting nudged in that direction. As it turns out, I'm really glad I did. It seems a shame to me that other talented writers don't tackle this genre, but maybe it's because I'm from a different generation, one that was reared on western TV shows and movies and books. At any rate, you are very kind in your praise for this story and my work... especially pointing out that it was a sensory experience for you. I can't thank you enough, my friend. Cheers!

  • Like 2
  • Love 9
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Mawgrim

   6 of 6 members found this review helpful 6 / 6 members

This is a wonderful sequel to 'Sidewinder', bringing in another character from the previous story. I don't want to give away too much about the plot, but I would recommend anyone who enjoyed 'Sidewinder' to read this one too. You will be moved to tears and want to kick a certain stubborn man a few times, but by the end you will feel uplifted and hopeful. 

Response from the author:

Thanks, Mawgrim, for your wonderful review and recommendation. I hope those who steer clear of this genre will change their minds and give these stories a chance. Your kind words should definitely help with that, and I appreciate your support greatly. Thanks for helping make this such a rewarding experience for this writer. Cheers!

  • Like 2
  • Love 9
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