Author: Lillian Francis
Publisher: Finally Love Press
Genre: MM Contemporary
Summary: How long can you wait on a promise?
After his first night with Mal, Rick broke the habit of a lifetime and invited the sexy radiographer to spend the weekend in the sleepy English village he called home. Rick isn’t in denial but he’s afraid to reveal his sexuality in the close-knit community that has known him since he was a babe in arms.
The sex is amazing but equally Mal loves lazy days spent in the garden at Slopy Bottom, and every precious moment he spends with Rick. For Mal the village quickly becomes an oasis of peace, far from the noise and grime of life in London, a slice of tranquillity with Rick at the heart. But Mal has defied his family and his religion to be true to himself, and there is no way can he join Rick in his self-built closet, no matter how comfortable it is…
Rick is afraid revealing the true nature of his relationship with Mal will change the way his neighbours see him. He adores these people, this village, and he can’t face the thought of losing everything over who he chooses to sleep with. When the alternative is giving up a man who has slotted perfectly into his life—a man who he might just love—it’s no choice at all. But, knowing what has to be done isn’t always as easy as putting it into practice.
Review: Rick and Mal are a very down to earth couple (who met in the previous story, Resonance) who have been seeing each other mostly in London, where Mal lives and works. Rick is devoted to his very small village, Slopy Bottom, and he lives in fear that coming out of the closet will change the way the villagers see him. His insecurities apparently run very deep.
I loved the feel of the story. It’s sweet and soft, with the slow village pace taken into account. We start out with Rick immediately trying to yet again put Mal off from visiting the village, with Mal “I asked what your excuse was this time. Why can’t I come over to you this weekend?” Rick tries to pretend that wasn’t the reason he was calling, even as his packed bag is sitting by his feet. Luckily, Mal has circumvented this. And so gets to see Slopy Bottom, even if it is as Rick’s “friend”. I loved Mal. He is willing to avoid touching or acting like a boyfriend, letting Rick keep his closet until the time is right.
I love how they are together, funny and sweet. They tease each other and it’s lovely. The cows, especially, made me laugh. And Mal’s endearment in Punjabi, so charming.
It’s funny how Rick’s gaydar is so non-existent. He can’t see there isn’t an “only gay in the village” but people he knows. The villagers have such a good opinion of him, it’s a mystery why he believes they will all turn on him. When Mal overhears Rick’s conversation with Smudge, I wanted to shake Rick. Honestly, that closet is really something. It was so interesting that when the tables were a little turned, in the case of a wedding, how Rick felt.
Kudos to Ms Gideon for providing a Muslim character who is human, not villainized or made perfect. Mal has given up a lot to be true to himself (his family, his church) and I loved that he kept his connection to his religion despite it all. He is a man of faith and that faith shows through. I loved him.
I thought this was a lovely book with characters who were willing to wait and be there for each other. Recommended. And now I need to go read Resonance and see how they met.