Don’t Judge A Book… by Scarlet Blackwell

Standard

101 pages

Rating: 3.75 stars

Rhys is a librarian in the small town of Hawks Reach.  Surrounded by the books he loves with a passion, real life rarely intrudes into the musty book shelves that are his life.  Somewhat priggish, Rhys is disconcerted to find that he is expected to supervise a young man with community service hours to fill. Dismay turns to distain when he meets Darren, a young car thief sentenced to work at the library for 100 hours.

Darren is a young man in with a rough crowd and no real family to fall back on.  With Rhys’ harsh judgements of him constantly ringing in his ears, it is inevitable that the two men clash brought on by mutual misconceptions. And then there is also Darren’s confusion over his own sexuality and attraction towards someone who finds him beneath contempt.  When Rhys is attacked by Darren’s gang, events come together to make both men challenge their  perceptions of each other. Can two young men so wrong for each other make a future together?

I thought this was a interesting story of two mismatched characters finding common ground for a romance.  While I liked each character individually, I don’t think I ever bought the idea of a romance between the two of them.  The indifference and hurt exhibited from their initial rough sex scene seemed far more realistic than did the fact that they harbored feelings of love for each other.

Darren was the more likable of the two main characters.  The product of an alcoholic mother and absent father, his membership in a gang was an accurate portrayal of a young man in trouble.  It was very believable that any gay sexuality was buried deeply within him so as not to offend his gang.  With hidden depths, he was definitely the book that certainly shouldn’t have been judged by his cover.  Rhys never overcame his priggish beginnings in this story.  His leap from contempt to love for Darren was not realistic given how emphatic he was throughout the majority of the story especially as Darren’s friends beat him up not once but twice.  Also stretching the boundaries here is the fact that Rhys never called the police or told his boss at the library even though he was trying to get rid of Darren.  I could see Rhys having sex with Darren but even that would be a stretch given the lack of trust there.  But full blown  romantic love?  I am not sure I  ever found that between the covers of this book and the characters within.

Cover:  Reese Dante for this series.  Sexy men, same cover for a variety of stories.