Published by Samhain Publishing on July 19th 2011
Genres: LGBT, M/M Romance
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The bigger they come, the harder they fall... in love.Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant. Larry's intrigued to find there's more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry's class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair. Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al. Contains comic misunderstandings, misuse of art materials, and unexpected poignancy.
Author JL Merrow creates a delightful and charming story of two men who are as different as hot and cold.
Al narrates the story in a vernacular common to his poor background and his less than stellar education. That interesting voice will have you laughing, smiling, and shaking your head. You see, Al isn’t the brightest person and his actions and thoughts will exemplify the point. Of course, he will be the first one to tell you so.
This is why I love reading from Al’s point of view. His attitude is refreshing throughout the story. He goes through life one day at a time summing up details that may not make sense to the reader. He doesn’t always understand what people are saying to him. I think this is a blessing because Al really doesn’t suffer much from a lack of confidence. He concludes situations in a manner comfortable to him. Comprehensibility is not a friend of his.
Larry is highly educated and a professor. He dresses rather well and according to Al, he is little and very pretty. While Al is scary in appearance, Larry is just the opposite. When Larry meets Al in a dark alleyway in a drunken haze, he is becomes petrified.
“And his face was kind of delicate, and he was really little. Way shorter than me. Skinny too. I like them skinny. And he was looking at my cock. So I smiled at him, ’cause he was pretty, and then I zipped up and headed his way. Which was my way home, I mean. I wasn’t planning to make a pass or nothing, ’cause I could tell he was too posh for me.
“Shit,” he said, and he started backing up like he was scared or something. “Ah, sorry. I didn’t mean to—”
I wasn’t sure what he was on about, so I smiled again. He looked like he was about to piss himself, and I didn’t like it, you know? It’s not right, people being scared like that. “You look like you’re about to piss yourself,” I told him when I got close.
“Shit,” he said again, and he sort of leaned against the wall and closed his eyes like he wasn’t feeling well, so I stopped and leaned over him.
“You should let me take you home,” I said, ’cause I was worried he might not make it on his own. “Nice-looking bloke like you, stuff could happen. You meet all sorts on these streets. I saw a bloke getting the crap beat out of him last week just a couple of streets from here.”
“You want money?” he said, and he was shaking a bit. “I’ve got money.”
I didn’t say nothing for a bit, ’cause he was confusing me, and I don’t like making a prick of myself. See, you keep your mouth shut, most times people don’t realise you don’t know what they’re on about. So I just took his arm and set off down the alley, ’cause that was the way he’d been going. He came along with me all right, but he was still shaking. “You live near here?”
“No! Er, yes—please don’t hurt me!”
I didn’t say nothing for a bit, ’cause I didn’t understand why he thought I’d do that. I thought he must have had a lot to drink.
“Your mates shouldn’t of let you go home on your own,” I told him. See, he’s just a little thing; you’d need about three of him to make one of me. “You’re such a little thing.”
“Oh God,” he said, and his voice was all thin and shaky, like the rest of him. “Look, take my wallet, please?”
Merrow, J.L. (2011-07-19). Muscling Through (Kindle Locations 25-44). Samhain Publishing, Ltd.. Kindle Edition.
It is wonderful seeing life from Al’s perspective and seeing Larry captivated by Al.
The story isn’t all peaches and cream. There are misunderstandings. There are associates and family members who do not approve of them as a couple.
Overall, this is a fast-paced story. I highly recommend it as Muscling Through is a perfect romance novel without the deep and dark emotional conflicts.
Title: Muscling Through
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Date: July 2011
Ebook Format: ISBN: 978-1-60928-501-2
Buy Link: Samhain Publishing