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According to Hoyle by Abigail Roux is one of the most satisfying novels from the gay romance genre that I’ve read. This complex story, set in 1882, takes two U.S. Marshals, three prisoners being transported and a mysterious cargo and meshes them all together in one fantastic story.

Flynn and Washington are the marshals who must transport three prisoners–two from the army and another who is among the most wanted and notorious men in the West. As the group travels, two of the prisoners–Cage, a mute, and Gabriel Rose, sharpshooter with a target on his back–form a relationship. Cage falls for Rose because Rose understands him, even without words. Rose also finds himself falling for his traveling companion. Meanwhile, the two marshals have an attraction that they have never discussed.

I’m not going into specific plot points because I don’t want to give anything away. There’s too much good stuff going on to want to spoil any of it. Flynn, Washington, Cage and Rose are all strong characters that Roux brings to life beautifully. Point of view shifts between the characters so we get to know each of them very well. As the tension builds and the characters fall in and out of peril, the book becomes all the more a page turner.

I love a good cowboy book. This one went went beyond a simple cowboy story and was steeped in the old west. Something about it gave me the feeling of the Wild Wild West TV series even though there were no outlandish villains or gadgets. Plus, the Hoyle references were awesome. My grandfather had a Hoyle book and I remember him reading up on card games periodically and talking about its importance in the game.

The book ends in a way that their could be a sequel. I hope that’s the case!

Up next: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan