- Book Title: Out!
- Book Series: The Shamwell Tales #3
- Author: JL Merrow
- Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (January 19, 2016)
- Book Length: 257 pages
- Genre: Contemporary, Romance
- Reviewed by: Jill
- Rating: 5 Star
- Posting Date: January 19, 2016
For as much as I love to read, I think I’m a picky reader. Because, even though I know flashbacks are sometimes the most logical method of providing backstory, I don’t like them. See, picky. LOL Guess where I’m going with this. Yep. For me (and more than likely *only* me because I just have to be different) the beginning was choppy trying to give Mark’s backstory. In this case, it probably was the only way to do it without falling into that telling trap. Admittedly, people do occasionally think about the decisions they made that brought them to a certain point in their life, so the flashback is not without merit. It just breaks up the flow to me. I mean, I’m rolling along and then, wait…what just happened? Oh, right, got it. See? Kills the flow. (be careful, your eyes will get stuck there)
Anywho, back to the story. It’s adorable. Absolutely, no if ands or buts, adorable. Not that I was in anyway surprised by this. I love JL Merrow romances and I love books set in England. Anywhere in England. I don’t care, just so long as everyone sounds like a Brit. Even the slang British sounds cool. As far as that goes, though, if there were editing errors, I have no clue. It seemed to make sense to me, so I’m going with it was all good. Also, once I got into the story, it just flowed. I didn’t want to put it down. The plot is mostly sweet with just a little side of drama not brought on by a “misunderstanding.” Very happy about that. I think Patrick and Mark stayed in character and still accepted attitude adjusting when needed. What I loved most was all the little bits and pieces of life. I loved the small town (village?) and how Mark and his daughter Fen become a part of Shamwell.
I loved getting to know both Mark and Patrick. I’m not sure which one got to me first, but I love them both. Fen was interesting (read: a hoot). I totally get her as a 14 year old trying to cope with the upheaval and craziness of moving to the country with her dad. In fact, some of the scenes made me think about my teenage daughter. Mark hasn’t seen the worst of it yet, poor sod. Not even close. Granted this story didn’t go that far into the future, but I can imagine it. Sure, Fen is actually a good kid, but she’s still a hormonal teenage girl. It’s never easy. (insert evil laugh here) In addition to Fen, there are several secondary and tertiary characters. Mark’s ex-wife Ellen makes a few appearances. She’s never made into the evil stereotype villainess, thank heavens. She’s just a typical ex-wife. I can’t forget Patrick’s mom. She’s pretty cool. Oh, and Lex. Lex, who works with Patrick, befriends Fen, which seems to help her settle a bit. That’s a fun plot thread added to the mix.
Another fun plot thread was the lack of sex. Seriously! It’s hilarious. Mark and Patrick get interrupted so thoroughly the two chances they have to get past light making out. They do finally get to finish the deed once on page and it’s actually funny too. Poor Mark is spooking at every noise, convinced they’re about to be interrupted again. In spite of Mark’s skittishness, the sex is sweet. It fits with the rest of the story quite well. We leave the story soon after the boys consummate their relationship in the last chapter. There is a quick epilogue with Patrick, Mark, Fen and her boyfriend. It’s so cute!
I’m still smiling. This is one of those stories that just make me all warm and fuzzy. It’s like hot cocoa (with tiny marshmallows) on a cold day. By the way, this is the third story in the Shamwell series, but I have yet to read the first two. Instead, I decided to test if this is a standalone story or not. I was in no way lost or confused. I think the other couples are mentioned, but they don’t play a part in this story. So, it is very much a standalone story if you want to read the books out of order, like me. I highly recommend this one, no doubt. I’ll read the other two, probably in reverse order just to be different. So, now I’m at the end of my review, and I have to pick a rating. I loved the story, but I’m such a nutter when it comes to the choppy beginning. The thing is, I’m not sure there is any other way to get backstory without making the book start when Mark gets divorced. That really wouldn’t be in keeping with the sweet romance this is meant to be. So, what to rate. I think romance lovers will rate it 5 stars. It’s just that adorable. Now, since I don’t know of any way to improve the book, shouldn’t that mean it gets 5 stars from me, too? I think so.
Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.
His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.
Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.
Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.
Warning: Contains historically inaccurate Spartan costumes, mangled movie quotes, dubious mathematical logic and a three-legged pub crawl.
JL Merrow – She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour.
Go to the Author Page for JL Merrow for Social Media links and Book Listing
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