We read and review for the love and joy of books.
When Casey spots Lon in the shower area of the caravan park, he can’t believe his good fortune. Young, gay, recovering from the physical and mental abuse his father inflicted on him from his early teens, Casey is attracted to the big, hairy bear of a man, not just for his looks but for the safety and comfort Casey senses he can find within Lon’s arms.
Telling Lon he is 22, when in reality he’s an almost 20, Casey convinces the older man to take him back to his caravan where he spends the night safe in Lon’s arms. And though Lon usually only takes on an occasional one-night stand, Casey gets under his skin as he keeps showing up in Lon’s life. Home on a two-week furlough from his job in the Western Australian mines, Lon is not one to give his heart easily. He likes the solitude of his mining job and the peace and quiet of his two weeks off. The only people in his life are his best friend, Paul, and his brother, Ron, who is currently serving a prison term. Oh, and his parents and baby sister who died in a fire eight years ago and with whom he regularly visits at the cemetery.
Casey and Lon slowly grow on each other, and the expected relationship crisis occurs when Lon finds out he is only 19. It happens, actually, as a confrontation with Casey’s grandmother, with whom he lives, but the result isn’t a breakup, it’s a start to better communication and a commitment to longer term. When Lon goes away this time, Casey moves into his caravan and makes it a home.
Of course, nothing goes smoothly in life, and these two are no exception as ghosts from both their pasts rear their ugly heads. Casey’s mental health issues from his past abuse are being treated by a psychologist, and Lon is invited to participate with them in an experience which rocks his world. But it’s after he returns to the mines that a visit from someone from his past serves to shake up everything steady in his life, and his very angry, and very stupid (IMHO) reactions which nearly drive Casey away for good.
I enjoyed the story, though narrator Randy Fuller doesn’t have a wide range of vocalizations. He did give a gruffness to Lon’s voice which distinguished it from Casey’s, however, the balance of the characters at one time or another sounded pretty much alike.
The major story point I hated, however, was Lon’s reaction to news of the visitor he had while away at work. His reaction to Casey was totally over the top and a far stretch to believe, especially given the fact that he knows Casey’s background and fears and supposedly loves him. When they finally got together again, Casey seemed to take on blame for the incident, and Lon let him. Personally, I’d like to kick Lon in the pants, or worse. But it does go to show how involved I became in their lives, and that’s the mark of a good story to me. I liked the characters, both MC and secondary, especially Paul and role he played in supporting Casey. The story was well-paced and definitely a romance.
I’d recommend this story to those who enjoy an M/M romance set in Australia and/or one with a definite age gap and bear/twink relationship. The audiobook was good, but I wouldn’t add or detract points for the narration, so I’d recommend the story in either e-book or audio format.