Masked Riders - Lucius Parhelion Reviewed for Hearts on Fire ReviewsI haven’t read a good gay western since [b:Brokeback Mountain|1627|Brokeback Mountain|Annie Proulx|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347516446s/1627.jpg|1795113], so I was excited to read this short story that takes place in San Francisco in 1869. The story starts out with Jesse Putnam and an attractive stranger illegally enjoying a mutual hand job at a cheap boardinghouse on the Barbary Coast. Though Jesse would have liked to get to know the man, the time they lived in was not conducive to such a relationship. Jesse’s wealthy aunt Ada has summoned him to investigate some weird happenings at one of the ranches owned by his aunt and uncle. To accompany Jesse, Ada has invited Wardley Bridger, who not only has experience with horses and knowledge of local customs, but was Jesse’s pickup from the night before.I loved how Jesse’s and Wardley’s relationship went from one-night stand to working partnership to romantic and sexual relationship without feeling like insta-love. Though the two men are very different in temperament, they complemented each other. I very much enjoyed Wardley’s easy self-acceptance about his sexuality compared to Jesse’s more fearful reserve. Seeing their relationship grow and develop was one of the best parts of this story for me. While a compelling plot and well-developed characters are important to me in historical fiction, getting the details right is also extremely important. The author has done such a wonderful job depicting the old American West and bringing to life historical places and events, social customs and manners, that I was instantly transported to another place and time. All these details slowed the pace of the story somewhat, but also lent richness and authenticity. As much as I enjoyed this story, I found it lacked excitement. I would have liked more descriptions of hardship, more bad guys, some chase and pursuit and more gunplay. Or maybe I’ve watched too many westerns on TV.Nice story and I’m looking forward to discovering more of this author’s work.