A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Pride & Protection (Southern Boys #2) by KC Wells

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Del Walters, an out and proud bear, moves from San Francisco to a small town in Tennessee to open a business with his brother. Rainbow Racers attracts the wrong kind of attention pretty quick. There aren’t a lot of out and proud gay men in this town, where the homophobes are loud and proud. It’s no surprise vandalism strikes the shop before it even opens. Called in to investigate, police officer Taylor Cox takes one look at the bear and his imagination takes over. Deep in the closet, he dreams of the day when he might be able to approach Del on a personal level. Too afraid to let his ideal bear know how attracted he is, Taylor locks himself up tighter.

The small coffee shop in town attracts them both as well, giving more opportunity for conversation and Taylor slowly thaws. But it’s not until each is on a much-needed trip to Atlanta’s gay bars that their spark erupts, and Del has a chance to let Taylor know he won’t rush him, and he won’t out him, but he definitely wants him.

Most of the story is the slow buildup of romance between the two men, and then Taylor’s introduction to what it’s like to be with a man sexually—one who cares about him. Opportunities arise in his personal life for him to come out slowly but surely, and the guys finally get their chance to be together as partners. The story takes place over the course of two months so some may label this insta-love; however, there was no “jump into bed with each other too soon” moment, and I like the way the author handled their early attraction, with Del respectful of Taylor’s fears. He certainly seemed to be the kind of man—or silver bear as Taylor called him—who would be worth waiting for.

I’m not a huge fan of the homophobic cop stereotype. I know it exists but I just don’t like reading about it so that impacted my appreciation of the story, but overall, I enjoyed this romance and I especially enjoyed the time spent with Del, the big, fuzzy bear. A sweet man with a ton of commonsense, self-confidence, and smarts—Del is an easy character to love. Taylor, on the other hand, was timid and closeted at first, and I didn’t like him, but his personality grew on me as he gained in confidence and started letting his true self come forward and his fears take a backseat. So, in summary, yes, I highly recommend this May-December MM romance.

The cover by Meredith Russell features a photo by Kristofer Weston—he’s the perfect bear—the man on whom KC Wells based Del Walters. Also featured on the cover is a young man in a cop uniform who matches the description of Taylor Cox, the other MC. It’s wonderful to see a cover photo actually match the characters inside.

Sales Links:  Smashwords | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published June 18th 2019
ASINB07TDFR2ZB
Edition Language English
Series Southern Boys #2

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