Holden tries to resist the attraction. But painfully shy yet definitely interested Adam Morgan has Holden longing to conquer his debilitating anxiety and live again. After a grisly discovery on the grounds of the estate, the town of Smithfield turns a suspicious eye on the reclusive Holdenand the two men must trust in each other to bring the truth out in the open.
Previously published, newly revised by author.
Read an Excerpt
It was a bright, shiny Monday morning and I should've at least been trying to act like a productive member of Smithfield society. Instead, I sprawled on a rattan chaise lounge on the sun porch, a dying laptop hiding my erection, and I tracked the new lawn boy as he labored to tame the wilds of my backyard. A yard I had conveniently, purposefully, shamefully neglected for two full years.
I liked to think of the grounds as a sanctuary, an overgrown jungle for wildlife to find safe harbor. In truth, they were an eyesore. The roses, which had once bloomed under my meticulous mother's green thumb, were a tumble of sharp briars and deep thickets. And because I'd been so mired in disgrace when my mother died, it had been easy to let the rose arbor rot.
Besides, I couldn't go outside to garden.
The boy bent, muscular thighs tensing. He gripped a bag of mulch and slung it over his strong shoulder. I admired his sleek hind end covered in filthy, work-worn Carhartt jeans. His waistband dipped, his shirt rode high and a sweet patch of winter-white skin peeked above his plaid undershorts. I couldn't take my eyes off that strip of flesh, feeling dirty enough to smack my lips as I leered from the relative privacy of the sun porch.
A few weeks ago my brother Porter had come to stay and demanded I do something about our mother's legacy. At first, I thought he referred to the pair of us. Forty-ish and neither one of us functioning as well as one would expect given our heritage, wealth and education. But no, he meant the blasted roses.
Then Mr. Tindell sent this interesting new hire to help tidy the lawn. The gardener had pulled into the driveway in a rattletrap Ford pickup and he'd enchanted me, though I'd yet to speak with him. The kid came to mow the broad expanse of lawn that reached nearly five acres from South Street down to Meadow and he remained here on the jobcoming to work at the house a few times during the week. Today he toiled with a wheelbarrow and a shovel. Sunlight warmed the cool spring air and he'd taken off his jacket.
I squirmed but I didn't look away. I couldn't. I kept him in my sight and watched as he moved effortlessly with pounds of cedar bark balanced on his shoulder. His gait loose, he radiated youthful confidence in his ability to lift that bale and tote that barge in the great wide out-of-doors.
The lucky bastard.
I should write some of this down. Vitality was exactly what my writing lacked these the past six months, which was why I'd recently turned my sorry focus to a culinary memoir.
The lawn boy's shirt dropped into place and that pale flash of lean flesh disappeared from view.
My computer ponged a warning as the three hundredth unread email landed in my inbox. I wasn't interested because finally, my muse had arrived. If the porch walls and ceiling were made of anything other than sheer, spotless glass, I might have touched myself. It had been a long time since I'd felt such interest in another man.
That thought would have depressed me if I weren't so altogether turned on.
From inside the house the whirl of my thousand-dollar vacuum cleaner crept nearer. I sat straighter and crossed my legs, adjusting the crotch of my Levis and hoping to hell Mrs. Henderson wouldn't catch me in a moment of depravity again. As it stood, she spent each Tuesday morning at St. Joe's saying her rosary for me. I wouldn't want her to add Wednesday as well.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My Review: The heroes in this book are really different, but I liked it. Holden is a 40 year old recluse suffering from debilitating agoraphobia. If he goes outside, he passes out. The most mind-boggling thing about this is that he used to live his entire life outdoors and under the spotlight. He's an award-winning author who spent five years trotting the globe, recreating the amazing adventures of his books for national TV. It all fell apart when his partner both on the TV show and in life outed him and ambushed him on a live talk show about his secret life writing gay erotica. The agoraphobia grew from that backlash. Now he stays indoors...ALL. THE. TIME. I loved Holden's character and the entire story is told from his POV. He's snarky, and self-depricating, and horny, and so darn funny. His internal thoughts kept me giggling the whole time. He knows that he has severe psychological problems and with his new infatuation/lust over his new gardener, Adam, he can now add pervert to the list (his words, not mine). Adam is only twenty-four years old. He has his own social issues. He cannot (truly is NOT able to do it) read innuendo or subtext to what people are telling him. He doesn't get jokes, or insults, or any of those subtle things that we all read into what people are telling us. He's also gay. As a result, he's learned to stay away from people because he doesn't get the subtle clues that tell him when he needs to back off or feel threatened or even that someone is attracted to him. He's been hurt both mentally and physically because of it and has learned that it's just easier to not put himself out there in any regard. When Holden learned this, there was no holding him back. Holden is one of those guys who is in your face, telling you like it is...pure honesty, no holds barred. But for these two, that's what they need. Honestly, age aside, they are truly the perfect pairing up of people and I loved their romantic story. They are both such misfits, but they fit so well together. There is also a great mystery/suspense story line in this book. Adam finds a dead body (who just happens to be Holden's ex-lover's current love) buried in the garden. Honestly, I had NO IDEA who did it until it was revealed in the book. That story line was done REALLY well. Usually, I have some sort of idea, but I was guessing all wrong on this one and when it was revealed, I could see it clearly. The clues were there, they were just woven in so amazingly well that I didn't catch them. This is book #4 in this series. I haven't read the other three yet, but they are definitely going into my TBR to read SOON! Just a great book! I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.