Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
[xrr rating= 4.25/5]
With friends like these…
An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory—just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.
Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?
Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want—or their love could be over before it’s even begun.
What a delightful finish to a wonderful series! In this story, we get to see a different side of David Greenlake, the flirtatious P.A. of Mark Nugent from Out. David is out of a job after he’s caught with his mouth where it doesn’t belong during a ritzy party. Unfortunately, the other guy is not only a client, but a relative, of the owner of the company where David works—um, worked. He couch surfs at a friend’s house for a while because his roomie is marrying another of the boss’s relatives (he can’t win!) and finally begs Mark for a job when he learns Mark is setting up his own business in the village of Shamwell.
David is very tall, handsome, and effeminate in both his clothing choices and his gestures, so he certainly doesn’t hide the fact that he’s gay. Mark’s partner, Patrick, wants nothing to do with allowing David to stay in his home, but David does find a suitable place to stay when the men mention that postman Rory Deamer has a spare room. Rory’s just broken up with Patrick’s mother, and his kids live with his ex-wife, so there should be no problem. And there isn’t—at least not from the diminutive, chubby, bald, older man who gives “straight” a new meaning—the issue is with Rory’s BFF, Barry, a homophobe who is apparently worried that David will take away his time with Rory, and with Patrick, who thinks Rory is an asshat for breaking up with his mother.
David turns out to be a remarkably good housemate, helping Rory cook, watching TV shows and movies together, and enjoying time with Rory’s kids. In fact, Rory starts to question how good it would be to always have David by his side, and then he wonders what it would be like to cuddle with him. David’s little teddy bear, Graham, always at his side and always wearing the appropriate outfit for the occasion, only endears David to him further. In fact, one of my favorite moments was when Rory peeked in on David, early in the story, only to see him snuggled in the pink fairy bedding in Rory’s spare room, wearing pink ear muffs, and cuddling his teddy bear. From that moment, I knew David was going to be a keeper for Rory, who himself was a teddy bear—a bald one, but fuzzy inside and out, nevertheless.
The author gives us two amazing characters, who endeared themselves to me from the beginning. Rory had a very slow awakening to his bisexuality, and then it took time for him to develop his conviction that David was the right person for him, and finally, he had to take the step of verbalizing his feelings. In the meantime, others, including his own mother, Patrick, and Mark, were telling David that he was flighty and that they didn’t expect him to stay in the village or stick to the job or to ever develop feelings for a man like Rory. The odds were stacked against these men, but they do eventually get there. And when they do, Rory is surprisingly firm in embracing the idea of a permanent partnership with David.
The humor present in each of the stories in this series was definitely present in this one. It was also sweet, very “homey,” and charming in its simplicity. This is the perfect story for those who like cuddly teddy bears—both human and inanimate—and MM stories with children, older MCs, Bi-for-you, and a touch of exceptional British humor.