Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 4, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
After a massive anxiety attack, Sam Atkins left his high-powered job in the City and committed himself to life on the road in a small van. Six months in, he’s running out of savings and coming to the conclusion that he might have to go home to his emotionally abusive family.
Needing time to think, he takes a walk through a copse by the Cornish roadside, only to stumble upon the body of a ritualistically killed sheep. As he’s trying to work out what the symbols around the animal mean, the sheep’s owner, Jennifer, and her nephew, Ruan Gwynn, come upon him.
Ruan is a kind-hearted young man with a large supportive clan, and since he and Sam feel almost instant attraction, he doesn’t want to believe Sam is a sheep-killing cultist. In fact, the moment he lays eyes on Sam’s miserable solitary life, he wants to rescue the man. But as the killings escalate, he and Sam need to stop whoever is actually to blame before they can concentrate on saving each other.
TROPES: first love
TAGS: contemporary, adult, romance, queer romance, suspense, queer characters, family dynamics
WARNINGS: mental illness (anxiety, dissociation), emotional abuse, bullying, animal death, animal cruelty, ableism, suicide mention, Islamphobia, slurs, homomisia, transmisia, violence
As far as this overall series goes, I would say that, so far, this is one of the ones I enjoyed more than some others, but in general, it was just an okay read.
I genuinely liked both of the main characters but I didn’t really form much of a personal connection to either of them. They were cute together, and I enjoyed the way that they pretty effortlessly fell into a friendship and relationship where they supported each other. It wasn’t a relationship I was actively shipping, but I’m glad that both Sam and Ruan found someone who would be there for them no matter what and were willing to overcome their own fears in order to help the other.
The best part, in my opinion, was the anxiety rep. I felt that was really well done and was accurately portrayed through Sam’s panic attacks and dissociation.
Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.
Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.
Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.
She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.
Connect with Alex:
- Website: alexbeecroft.com
- Blog: alexbeecroft.com/blog
- Facebook: facebook.com/AlexBeecroftAuthor
- Twitter: @Alex_Beecroft
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/Alex_Beecroft