By Addison Albright
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.
It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would acknowledge he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed tries to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Can Joe adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?
NOTE: This is a previously published story that has been rewritten, expanded, and re-edited.
This is the first book I’ve read in a long time that starts right out of the gate with an established couple. Joe and Ed have been together for two and a half years; Joe works as a farm hand and Ed is a mechanic. Their lifestyle takes a sudden turn when Ed receives notification from his late father’s attorney – the father his mother had lead him to believe had died before he was even born – advising him that he was recently killed in a motorcycle accident and has left his farm to him.
Somewhere in those first few chapters, I was drawn in hook, line, and sinker to the story of Joe and Ed. They are a committed couple, genuinely in love, but for whatever reason (Joe’s reason is revealed farther along into the book), don’t verbally express their true feelings for one another, which leads to momentary uncertainty every now and again.
Author Addison Albright develops a cast of colorful characters ranging from the small town, busybody gossip and her ambitiously nosy daughter and best friend to the homophobic Stan, and Joe’s previously estranged family members and his 17-year-old sister Jenny. Ed’s father’s former partner Bill also evolves into a major character, connecting Ed to his late father.
The storyline captures a several month snapshot of Joe’s and Ed’s new life taking on the management of his dad’s farm. As Ed comes to learn about the father he was never allowed to meet and get to know, Joe is reunited with his family when his now nearly grown sister runs away from home and ends up on the farm.
Without spoiling the story, several unexpected events – highlighted initially by Jenny’s lively personality and transparent nature when questioned by not-so-subtle Ruby – set the stage for some intense, deeply emotional, and eye-opening admissions of the heart.
Albright does a thoroughly consistent job of creating authentic, to-the-heart (and realistic) dialogue between the characters; conveying thoughts, feelings, and emotions that sync with the characters; and writing such descriptive and sensory passages. (And as someone with a farm background, the mentions were relevant and correct – doubt the average person knows much about the process of cutting hay, letting it dry, etc., for example – and the timing was right! High-five, Addison!)
It may have taken a chapter or two for me to catch my stride, but once I did (and wasn’t worried about being blindsided by a major dose of angst or a prolonged fear of an eventual break-up), I was really drawn into the book (hook, line, and sinker, as I said earlier). It’s well-written, and I especially liked the descriptive style and depth of character development, and it’s a steady-paced read.
Based on this release – the first one I have read by Albright – I’m looking forward to future works.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this second edition.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on July 22, 2017.