• Never Stay Gone

  • M|M Romantic Suspense (Big Bend Texas Rangers, Book 1)
  • By: Tal Bauer
  • Narrated by: John Solo
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance, Westerns
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (89 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Six bodies in a single grave, in the same West Texas country where Dakota left everything behind.

Every beat of my heart belongs to you.

Thirteen years ago, Dakota Jennings thought he'd found his forever when he fell in love with Shane Carson. But one afternoon shattered their love story, and both Dakota and Shane left Rustler, Texas, with broken hearts. Even now, Dakota is still feeling the agony of losing Shane. Sure, he's a Texas Ranger, but that's not how he wanted to live his life. All he ever wanted was to love Shane.

Loving you is the only time I feel alive.

Shane's life was supposed to be different. There had been a plan, ever since he was knee-high to his father. But falling for Dakota spun Shane's world upside down, and for years, Shane has had nothing but the memories of all that he lost: Dakota's gentle touch, and the sweetness of his lips, and the star-strewn nights they spent wrapped in each other's arms.

West of the Pecos, there is no law. 

When the Rangers get the call about six bodies being pulled out of a mass grave in West Texas, the governor sends Dakota to run the investigation. Dakota heads back to his hometown and comes face-to-face with the last man he ever expected to see again, only now, he’s Deputy Shane Carson, Dakota's local partner assigned to the case.

There's nothing Dakota wants more than a second chance with Shane, but so much is stacked against them: six corpses, a murderer on the loose, and history that refuses to stay buried. And the bodies keep piling up as Dakota and Shane try to run the killer down across the West Texas plains.

In a moment, everything changes: the hunters become the hunted, the past fractures, and all Dakota thought he knew comes tumbling down. Secrets break wide open as Dakota remembers...

This is West Texas, and out here, nothing is as it seems. Big Bend County is a place of beauty and desolation, of secrets and small towns. Where the past and the present collide, and where nothing stays hidden forever.

This MM romantic suspense is the first in the new Big Bend Texas Rangers series. Come along for the West Texas sunsets, the heart-pounding thrills, and the hard-won happily-ever-afters. 

©2021 Tal Bauer (P)2022 Tal Bauer

What listeners say about Never Stay Gone

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator completely ruins this

John Solo is firmly on my "never buy" list, which explains why I don't typically buy Tal Bauer's audiobooks even though I really like his writing. However I bought "Never Stay Gone" on kindle and I liked it so much I thought I could power through and maybe the narration wouldn't be so bad. I was wrong.

There isn't anything particularly wrong with Solo's voice itself, nor even his manner of speech. It's the melodramatic way he delivers anything even remotely emotional that I can't stand. It ends up ruining all the important parts by turning them into something resembling the delivery of a telenovela actor. Shaky breaths, overenunciation of consonants, trembling voice, it takes me out of the book and makes me just want to yell "Ok dude, dial it back!"

It isn't even that bad at the beginning. Actually I quite like Solo's delivery when he isn't overdoing it. And his delivery of character lines in different voices is pretty good, until a character becomes emotional. Then all bets are off. The two protagonists are hardened lawmen but the narrator turns them into simpering teenage girls the moment anything gets even a little intense. It's awful and ruins the book.

The book itself, as I've already said, is wonderful. Shane was a hometown hero in high school, Dakota was sort of a misfit (though also a jock), and the two fell in love. Then life sort of got in the way and they separated. Now they meet up again, both coincidentally in law enforcement, and their roles are somewhat reversed, with Dakota the more accomplished one and Shane sort of a loser, never having lived out any of his potential.

Dakota was the wronged party in their breakup, but I can't help feeling more empathy for Shane, throughout the whole book. Dakota can be a little condescending occasionally, to Shane and to everyone else. There's one rather baffling moment when he scolds the manager of a truck stop for kicking out a shoplifter instead of... I don't even know, referring her to a therapist or something? It's slightly bizarre. But the two of them work well together and if you're a fan of second chance romances, cops, or mysteries, I can virtually guarantee you'll like the story.

I just wish the narration had lived up to the writing.

4 people found this helpful

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Great Mix of Mystery & Love

I'm not one of those kind of listeners who loves an overly drawn out slow burn, and I am not a fan of books where nothing happens. I was drawn to this one because of the mystery aspect of it, though the whole "small town" thing isn't normally my cup of tea because they tend to drag for me.
I was VERY pleasantly surprised by this. I didn't feel like it dragged at all; I was really pulled into their story and enjoyed watching it unfold. I liked both Shane and Dakota as characters, though we discover their flaws, they both just work together if they can just get beyond their past.
As for the narrator, I'm always a fan of John Solo's. He did a great job bringing these two to life. I never hesitate to get a book narrated by him.

3 people found this helpful

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so good!

omg, this book was so good! I don't usually like second chance romances, but this one was great. Loved the characters. And the mystery was interesting; I thought I knew the bad guy fairly soon into it but was still surprised at the end.

2 people found this helpful

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ok

Overall this was OK, I did end up skimming parts,just too much inner dialog for me. Figured out the who done it pretty quickly.
Narrative was fine, I think he made the voices to whiney for me to enjoy 100 precent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • B
  • 02-05-22

heart in mouth

This book is so good! The suspense is wonderful along with the relationship. there is dome relationship angst, but it's balanced out by the suspense.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another stellar book by Tal Bauer

I shouldn’t have expected anything less, but every time I read a Tal Bauer book I’m blown away. Does it have romance? Yes. But his books are so much more than that. These are action packed, heart pounding rides that just happen to have gay leads. And that’s what sets his books apart. Seeing the representation outside of a “trope” is as brilliant as it is engaging.

If you’re even kind of on the fence with this book do yourself a favor and pick it up. Well worth the read/listen. I’ll be going back to this one again and again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • kp
  • 01-21-22

PERFECTION!

Tal Bauer is a master of romantic suspense stories. I always know I am in for quite the ride when I begin a new book from him.
Never Stay Gone give the reader everything they could want in this genre and then some.
His beautifully descriptive way of writing puts the reader smack dab into the story.
Dakota and Shane stole my heart right off the bat. These two have a history that goes back to high school. When choices separate them they each carry that pain of loss in their hearts. Thirteen years later a mass grave brings them back into each other's life.
The connection and depth of love that they have for each other can't be denied, but will it be enough to carry them forward?
Amongst the ugliest of murder cases they are tested. With clues sprinkled throughout the story I was still kept on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who the bad guy was.
I enjoyed how the mystery/suspense aspect of the story came together. I loved how the romance and love between these two cemented itself into reality! What a perfect epilogue!
John Solo does an amazing job of bringing this story to life. I know I will be revisiting this amazing audiobook again and again!
I can't wait for more in this new series!

1 person found this helpful

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Dakota + Shane forever

Whew. This was a little different from the other books I’ve read by this author. A little more broodier, less political and a nice change. I can’t wait for more in this series. I love these two characters and how the story builds around the murders in this barren, yet beautiful part of Texas. This author does such an amazing job with putting in the romance with thriller/suspense type action. I am already done with all of the audiobooks! Now I have to go read the rest of his novels. Overall a great book. ❤️

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COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY!!!

Once again, Tal Bauer has created a beautiful story full of angst, suspense and all the feels your heart could handle.

I've yet to find a story that Tal has created that didn't completely immerse me in the world he created and Never Stay Gone wasn't any different. West Texas is its own thing completely and he captured the brutality of the landscape as well as all the shady dealings that tend to happen out there. It was no surprise to me that I fell in love with both Dakota & Shane, their story was not easy it was tough fought and heartbreaking but entirely worth it.

"Jesus, they were like a desert thunderstorm, all wildfire and fury, the world splintering apart in a cataclysm before being reborn."

Deputy Shane Carson has spent 13 years missing the only man he has ever loved and even now he isn't able to let go of the time they spent together, however brief. From losing his football career before it even started, to being gay and letting down his dad things never seemed to work out for him but his time with Dakota is what keeps him going, the memories and the what ifs.

Finding six bodies in a single grave set the course for the events that lead Dakota back to Shane, but their reunion is nothing like he expected. Dakota acts like he couldn't be bothered by Shane in the least and he doesn't understand why. He couldn't have dreamed how good things were between them even if it was years ago. If he could just get Dakota to look at him, to see him then there might be a chance.

Dakota Jennings left Rustler 13 years ago with no intention of going back but when he is called in on a case that is close to his boss, he doesn't have a choice. It has been so long that Shane probably isn't even around anymore but much to Dakota's surprise Shane is the deputy keeping the bodies safe until CSI could show up. What is he even doing here? He is supposed to be married, with kids and living his dream, living a life that Dakota could have never given him. It has been years now, so it doesn't matter, Dakota's only job is to find the murderer and get the hell out of here before his heart gets shattered, for good this time.

As Shane & Dakota work to catch a killer the secrets of the past have a way of coming out and if they aren't careful those women won't be the only ones who end up dead.

Murder, secrets, and lost love are the binding agent for Tal Bauer's newest book that continuously blew all my expectations away. From all the characters that he has created Dakota & Shane somehow became my favorite and I am still not sure how. It could be the heartbreak of young love, the depths of their feelings after all these years or the fact that they had to fight not only for their love but to catch a killer that combined to make the perfect story. It could also be that I will forever swoon over two cowboys kissing in Stetsons.

Then the narration!! At this point I can't imagine anyone else narrating a Tal book but him. The way he can put so many emotions behind his voices while also being able to be differentiate between the characters is outstanding.

To say that I loved this book would do it an injustice because it was just incredible!! Eagerly awaiting book two in the Big Bend Texas Rangers series and hoping that we see a glimpse of Shane & Dakota!!

*If you made it this far, sorry for the lengthiness of this review. *

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Sweet Complicated Cowboys✨

Sweet Complicated Cowboys✨ I like John Solo, but, at times in the beginning I didn’t know which character was speaking. The story was good, super romantic , the characters were complication, yet so deeply in love it made for a lovely romance. Shane was difficult to understand in the beginning, but after giving him a chance, I found myself loving him hard. Dalton I wanted to hug.

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  • Dylan
  • 01-07-22

Couldn't put it down

This is the sixth Tal Bauer book I've listened to in the last few weeks, and I'm still addicted. The man's got talent. I love his style, his stories are always so complex and well thought out, his characters well developed, and the happily-ever-afters never come easy but always come in the end. He also knows how to punch you in the gut just when you think everything is going well (apparently I'm a masochist cause I love every time he does it). This book was no exception. It was a fantastic read. I loved it.

John Solo did a great job on the narration. I personally would've loved for every word to be narrated in a heavy Texas drawl--the writing screamed Texas drawl!--but that's being picky. I honestly couldn't fault his performance. It was very enjoyable and he captured the characters and their emotions perfectly.