A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Lead Me Not by Ann Gallagher

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Lead Me Not coverIsaac Morris strongly believes in spreading the word of the Lord as he firmly and loudly protests homosexuality at rallies organized by his church at any and all LGBTQ pride gatherings. Following in the footsteps of his father, the leader of the church which has a zero tolerance for that type of sexual deviant Sodomizer, he and his brothers are being groomed to take over the flock when, and if, his father retires. At one such protest, a gay man challenges him to prove that being homosexual is a choice. Stunned, Isaac begins to think through the possibilities of proving that one can choose to be homosexual and one can choose to come back to the Lord and be heterosexual again.

His twin sister, Ruth, encourages him and helps him to convince their father and older brothers that their plan is sound. Their nephew Griffin has been struggling with being gay and is due to be sent to a special camp as a last resort to save him. His father, Isaac’s brother John, supports the project in the hope that it will help Griffin see that he can become “normal” through a conscious decision to change. Ruth, a film major, and Isaac, a recently divorced man, have nothing to lose by setting up a house in Seattle to film a documentary while Isaac infiltrates the gay community to prove being gay is a choice. Motivated by the knowledge that he is helping Griffin and others like him, Isaac stifles his nausea at having to do this project. Focusing on the hope that he can help lead those sinners back to God, they move forward with their plan.

His first foray into attempting a hookup ends up with him being bashed in the alley behind the bar, CapitalOUT. Colton, one of the bartenders, accompanies the bouncers as they head into the alley to break up the fight and rescue the guy. It’s Colton who treats Isaac’s wounds and extends the hand of comfort, healing, and friendship to Isaac. And it’s Colton, whom Isaac turns to when he decides he needs some guidance before attempting this again. Colton is a sweet, quiet, confidant man who conveys a soft-spoken attitude and acceptance of the Lord’s way in most everything he does. Colton volunteers all his spare time at his church, a church which welcomes and supports LGBTQ members and provides a youth center for those teens who have been abandoned by their families.

Pastor Mike once saved Colton from the same fate, and Colton is firm about giving back to the church which saved his life. Over time, Isaac finally acknowledges that the church is based on love and respect for all who seek the Lord, and he has lengthy discussions and debates with the pastor about the sections of the Bible his father uses as a basis for his hatred of homosexuality. Pastor Mike shows Isaac a different interpretation and suggests that Isaac’s father is using the Bible for his own means to spread hatred, rather than love. (To clarify here, no one knows who Isaac’s father actually is.)

Isaac also discovers that he has feelings for Colton, feelings he never felt for his wife, and feelings which scare him. How can he come to care for a man? Is he really gay? Can he possibly go back when this film production is done? And can he break the heart of the wonderful man he’s come to care for? The decision is taken from his hands when his brothers discover his confidential video of his private thoughts about each situation he’s been thrown in. They also discover that he works now as a bartender at CaptialOUT, and they come storming in to pull him away— but not before revealing his secret to Colton— a secret which clearly devastates Colton and tears the couple apart before they ever have a chance to commit to each other.

This is an absolutely wonderful story. It’s long, and non-explicit, but that seems of little importance as it clearly shows the depth of love two men can have for each other. This story is not so much about the sexual attraction as it is about other things that attract one person to another. The beauty of the soul of a man, his goodness shining through, the buildup of trust between two people and yes, even the butterflies in the tummy when their gazes meet across a room.

What happens to Isaac and Colton and how the issues are resolved is both fascinating and engaging and I quickly reached the point where I didn’t want to put the book down. I highly recommend this story to all lovers of M/M romance, and especially to those who struggle with the arguments related to religion and homosexuality and the “word of God” in the Bible. I found the story quite educational and enlightening without feeling as if I were sitting at the foot of a preacher and being spoon-fed Bible studies. This story is also great because it can be shared with family members who prefer to read non-explicit romances or those who may be considered too young to read such stories. I can summarize by saying that when I finished the book, I was stunned by the powerful message and the depth of feeling conveyed to readers. Don’t hesitate to read this one.

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Cover Art by L.C. Chase depicts two men, representing the MCs, standing against a background of a crowd of protesters holding up homophobic placards.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 415 pages
Expected publication: August 24th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
original title Lead Me Not
ISBN 1626492778 (ISBN13: 9781626492776)
edition language English
settingSeattle, Washington (United States)

Coffee Break Highlight: Ann Gallagher on Lead Me Not and Future Projects for Her and Her Alter Egos! (guest post and giveaway)

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Lead Me Not cover

Lead Me Not by Ann Gallagher
Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Cover Artist:  L. C. Chase
Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing

LeadMeNot_TourBanner

 

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Ann Gallagher blog tour for Lead Me Not!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (including books written as L.A. Witt and Lauren Gallagher, excluding Lead Me Not) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 29. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes provided by Riptide Publishing and the author.

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So what’s next for Ann Gallagher & Co?

Lead Me Not prompted me to add a new pen name to my ever-growing roster. (I swear, I’m stopping at five. I do not need more. Please, please, no more…) So now that Ann Gallagher has one book out there, what’s next?

I honestly don’t know much more I’ll be writing in the Christian/inspirational genre (I simply haven’t come up with any additional ideas, though that’s not to say they won’t happen down the line), but I also don’t want Ann to be a one trick pony. So, chances are, she will be required to wear multiple hats just like my other names. This name will most likely be LGBTQ, focusing on sweet romances (not limited to Christian romances) and Young Adult.

And yes, I am expanding into YA next year. I have two YA romances in the works, and a third YA book that likely won’t be a romance.

Speaking of my herd of pen names, here’s what’s next for everyone else:

L.A. Witt is the busiest of the bunch. What He Left Behind (an erotic menage from Samhain Publishing) just came out, and Running With Scissors (a rock star romance) will be out on August 31st. Also in the offing, Rain Shadow (a new Bluewater Bay book) this fall, followed by If The Seas Catch Fire (erotic suspense with Mafia shenanigans) in November, and a kinky office romance called Not Safe For Work in December. And there are several co-written projects which will be announced as they’re completed.

Lauren Gallagher has a hetero release in October called The Virgin Cowboy Billionaire’s Secret Baby (yes, really), and a bisexual ménage called The Best Laid Plans, which is due out in February. Also in the works is Stuck Landing, the first lesbian book in the Bluewater Bay series.

Diana Fyre is working on two horror novels, which will be announced sometime in 2016.
And finally, Lori A. Witt is working on Mythos, a non-romance science fiction novel; a dystopian spec-fic story; and a sequel to The Tide of War.

There are a few other projects going on that will be announced in 2016, so stay tuned!

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Lead Me Not cover

Blurb

Isaac Morris has devoted his life to preaching against the sin of homosexuality. But when his sister proposes a documentary to demonstrate once and for all that it’s a choice—with Isaac choosing to be gay as proof—he balks. Until he learns his nephew is headed down that perverted path. Isaac will do anything to convince the teenager he can choose to be straight . . . including his sister’s film.

When Isaac’s first foray into the gay lifestyle ends with a homophobic beating, he’s saved and cared for by Colton Roberts, a gentle, compassionate bartender with a cross around his neck. Colton challenges every one of Isaac’s deeply held beliefs about gay men. He was kicked out by homophobic parents, saved from the streets by a kind pastor, and is now a devout Christian. Colton’s sexuality has cost him dearly, but it also brought him to God.

As the two grow closer, everything Isaac knows about homosexuality, his faith, and himself is called into question. And if he’s been wrong all along, what does that mean for his ministry, his soul, his struggling nephew—and the man he never meant to love?

Lead Me Not is available August 24th from Riptide Publishing.

   About the Author and her many Identities!

Ann Gallagher is the slightly more civilized alter ego of  L.A. Witt,   Lauren Gallagher, and Lori A. Witt. So she tells herself, anyway. When she isn’t wreaking havoc on Spain with her husband and trusty two-headed Brahma bull, she writes romances just like her wilder counterparts, but without all the heat. She is also far too mature to get involved in the petty battle between L.A. and Lauren, but she’s seriously going to get even with Lori for a certain incident that shall not be discussed publicly.

Connect with Ann:

  • Website:  \n _blankhttp://loriawitt.com
  • Author Blog:   \n _blankhttp://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
  • Personal Blog:   \n _blankhttp://navywifeadventures.blogspot.
  • Twitter: @GallagherWitt
  • Facebook:  http://facebook.com//L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction

[Our Barb the Zany Old Lady 5 Star Review follows]