Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Published March 19th 2019 by Erin McLellan
Edition Language English
Series Farm College :
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet placeóhe just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.
Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he canít quit, but when Jamieóso wild and beautifulóbursts into his life, working himself into the ground isnít as compelling as it used to be.
?Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamieís fragile facade. Heís winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.
Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with photographer Dan Burgess.
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Rating: 3 stars out of 5
As this sweet romance opens we meet Beau Garner , a 31 year old man who has put his OCD into making a profit by running an event organizing company called Details. “It’s all in the details” claims Beau over and over again throughout the book. (Though meant to be humorous, it falls short after a while.) A last minute detail takes him to a rural convenience store to buy balloons, and besides being nearly sideswiped by a speeding vehicle roaring out of the parking lot as he enters, he’s also blindsided by finding a gun under a display case and then finding himself at the mercy of the police who’ve been called to “disarm” him. He only grabbed the gun when he heard two young children debating whether or not to pick it up, and as he tells the officers, “Do I look like the type of man who would have a gun?”, he catches the eye of the young good-looking cop.
Nash Tyler is a 31 year old cop in this rural town. He’s gay, and though his captain is aware, it’s not the type of thing he advertises to the rest of his co-workers. He’s a good cop, however, and he gives the cute guy with the gun a break and listens to his full story at the store, rather than haul him to the station as his homophobic partner wants to do. Since the situation is easily resolved, Beau is released but not before he notices Nash’s blushes as he hands Beau his card in case Beau needs to get in touch with him.
This is a sweet, slow-building romance that’s very family focused. Beau lives with Alberta, his grandmother’s friend and companion, a black woman who would prefer not to live with her own family and who cares for Beau as if he were her own child. The main excitement and undercurrent to the story is an apparent stalker who is randomly harassing Beau. That starts with phone calls then goes to being shot at with rock salt as he and Nash are soaking in his hot tub, to having faggot painted on his car then escalating to acts which could result in injury or death. Readers know who the likely stalker is from the beginning, but the action doesn’t culminate until the end of the book.
Another odd thing that happens, which is totally non-reality based, is that Beau helps a young woman at the airport as she’s trying to decide what to do about her fatherless infant, and she ends up leaving the infant in the restroom with a note turning him over to Beau. He then gets through the foster process and is given the baby that night—a baby that he will ultimately adopt as his and Nash’s at some point in the future. Most of the second half of the story was about the baby and integrating the baby into their lives as he and Nash became closer romantically, and their stalker became increasingly more dangerous.
There was little in this story to make it outstanding for me in any way, yet it was well-written and was a sweet romance so I’d recommend it to those who are looking for something simple and family-oriented with not a lot of sex but a lot of love.
Cover Art by Winterheart Design features two men representing the characters. The cop is superimposed over the cute guy who depicts Beau in such a way that it’s evident the cover was cropped together and looks amateurish. It’s not as appealing as one that would have blended the two characters without the overlap like the cover used in the previous edition.
Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published January 29th 2015 by ManLove Romance
(first published April 27th 2013 by Silver Press)
Rating: 5 stars
Entomology grad student Adam Ellery is trying to get his clothes washed at the laundromat when drunken frat boys start to harass him. Just as things start to escalate out of control, Adam is saved by a muscled mountain of a man who dispatches the frats after making them apologize to Adam. His rescuer’s name is Denver Rogers, a bouncer at the local gay bar. Every thing about Denver pushes Adam’s buttons and, unbelievably to Adam at least, his thanks turns into a sexual encounter the likes of which Adam has never experienced before.
Denver Rogers knows his physique ensures his bed is never empty and the bar is the perfect place to find players for his games but something about Adam is so different from his usual bedmates. Denver can’t get Adam out of his mind, and starts to pursue the Entomology student with a passion for bugs and rough sex. But Denver comes with a background of abuse, self esteem issues, and no formal education. Denver wonders what the brilliant Adam will think about a man who doesn’t even have a GED?
Adam is OCD, with a side of clinical anxiety and just getting through the day takes all his strength and determination. His only long term romance ended because of his mental illness as well as the fact that they did not mesh sexually. But his encounter with Denver has fulfilled him and left him satiated and his mind quite for once. Denver is everything Adam could want but how will Denver feel when Adam tells him he has obsessive compulsive disorder? Will Denver be able to deal with Adam’s illness? Adam and Denver each have their share of dirty laundry in their closet. Will they be able to come clean so they can see a bright future together?
Cullinan had me at Sphingidae. An author who gives me a main character who is an entomologist specializing in hawk moths, be still my heart, watch as this Park Naturalist swoons. But that one thing shouldn’t surprise me as Cullinan continues to bring us characters so human, so realistically flawed and interesting in their emotional makeup that it is a wonder that I haven’t seen someone like Adam in her stories before now.
Tucker Springs is a town full of amazing people and Cullinan has just contributed two more town citizens so remarkable that I still stay up at night thinking about them. Both are, as I said, beautifully realized human beings, with their flaws and emotional issues. But Adam and Denver also have the ability to disarm the reader with their vulnerability and surprising decency. First let’s talk about Adam whose OCD and clinical anxiety is something thousands face in their lives today. Cullinan has made this mental illness accessible and understandable through the character of Adam. As he fights his way through his demons at every step in his day, from the lab to just getting out of the house, we really start to comprehend just how overwhelming it must be to just try and stay a functioning human being, let alone one successfully getting through college. Adam has heart, and bravery, and a need for kinky sex in which he can give up control. Adam kept surprising me all through the story, love him.
Then Cullinan delivers Denver Rogers to Adam via the laundromat. Denver Rogers has his own demons in his head (none I will list for you here) and a need for rough sex and to be the one in control. Everything about Denver will surprise you as it does Adam. He could have easily degenerated into a stock character, but that never comes close to happening here in Cullinan’s capable hands. Denver is a decent, multilayered human trying to work through his past and starts to think that he might just have a future with his “bug boy”. I adored this man.
We must also talk about the characters sexuality because it is such a huge component of the story and their relationship. This is not your vanilla sex but rough, consensual hot sex. It is bdsm and D/s and both are absolutely necessary for the story and this couple. While neither is something I normally read, here it makes total sense for the characters and that helps the reader who either is not familiar with bdsm or reads bdsm to not only accept it but enjoy it. Adam and Denver need this part of their relationship. It is an integral part of who they are and it satisfies a deep seated need for Adam to be submissive and for Denver to be the dom. Not only that but it calms Adam’s OCD as nothing else has. I won’t get into the explanations but needless to say, the author does the same exemplary job of bringing the reader into Adam’s head to help us understand his thoughts and feelings on this element as well as the others. So, even if this type of sexuality is not something you normally enjoy, Cullinan helps you understand, if not outright accept and enjoy this as a mutually healthy expression of their love and outgrowth of their relationship.
Cullinan then to proceed to slowly build an engrossing, heartwarming love story between Adam and Denver, one complete with a step backward for every two they manage to go forward with. Adam and Denver must over come one obstacle after another, ones both small and large, including each other. By the time, their story is finished, as a reader you are so throughly invested in this couple’s lives that you don’t want it to be over. Not by a long shot. My hope is that we will see them in other Tucker Springs novels just as El and Paul did here. I would also love to see more of Louisa, a trans character equally memorable and endearing. I highly recommend this story and all of the Tucker Springs novels. This is a town full of people you will never tire of visiting with and listening to their stories. And while you are off to get the book, make sure and add Heidi Cullinan to your list of must have authors. Really, she deserves to be there. Sphingidae, indeed!
Cover art by LC Chase is perfection and works in every way for this story and overall appeal.
Here are the Tucker Springs novels in order they were written:
Where Nerves End by LA Witt (Tucker Springs #1)
Second Hand by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan (Tucker Springs #2)
Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan
Plus there is a website for Tucker Springs novels. TuckerSprings.com