Welcome to the review tour for Born for Leaving by Mia Kerick writing as Jude Munro. I'm a longtime fan of Mia Kerick, so was excited to see a new title and intrigued by a pseudonym. Read on for an excerpt, as well as my thoughts. Follow the tour for even more reviews and to leave questions and comments for the author along the way. Be sure to enter the great giveaway!
When they say be careful what you wish for, do you pay attention?
Neither did Oliver Tunstead.
Oliver wishes for nothing more than to get his mind off his crappy bartending job, pile of debt big enough to swallow him whole, and playboy ex-boyfriend/boss who refuses to back off. Too bad distractions, like the hot little convertible he has his eye on, cost megabucks. And Oliver is flat broke. Renting the spare bedroom in his rundown beachfront cottage is his only option to pick up the cash he needs—a risky proposition, as Oliver is the polar opposite of a people-person. When he responds to a bizarre ad in the Waterfront Gazette seeking summer housing, he gets more than he bargained for. But Oliver can cope… After all, how much harm can a single quirky tenant do to his tightly guarded life in three short months?
Where Oliver is a loner by design, urban cowboy Bodie is a loner by necessity. A family dispute long ago dropkicked him onto the path of a lifelong wanderer. This changes when Bodie moves into the tiny beachfront cottage and starts working the door at Oliver’s bar.
Despite Oliver and Bodie’s nearly paralyzing instinct to avoid commitment, they fall into a wary romance. And to their surprise, life as a couple is sweetly satisfying; that is, until their jealous boss devises a cruel plan to destroy the tentative bond they’ve built. True to form, Bodie hits the road, leaving Oliver to lick his wounds alone.
Can these wounded souls defy their urge to flee and fight for love?
Read an excerpt:
“He wants to date you. Am I right?”
“Date me?” Bodie replies. “I’d say he wants something else.”
I nod. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”
“I mean, just tell him you’re not gay. That pretty much closes the door to what Jack’s interested in.”
“But I am gay.”
I hate myself for gasping, but I do because this complicates things. For Bodie, with regard to Jack. And for me, because I’m starting to feel things for him I shouldn’t. “Uh…did you tell Jack that you’re gay?”
“He asked. I answered.” Direct, as always.
“You don’t owe him your private information.”
Again, he shrugs. “I don’t hide who I am.”
“Well, maybe you should have.” Jack won’t leave him alone now. He’ll interpret Bodie’s lack of interest as some kind of warped challenge.
And then Bodie does the strangest, most unexpected thing. He reaches out, hesitates with his arm midair, and takes my hand. He’s shaking. “I need this job, Ollie.”
“Fucking Jack Wheeler,” I mutter. “He’s such an asshole to put you in this position. I’ll talk to him.”
“I fight my own battles.” His words are clipped.
“I believe you. But please, let me try to help.”
He ignores my plea. “You used to be Jack’s guy, huh?” Bodie’s eyes narrow.
“Did he tell you that?”
“Yep.” He nods. “Do you still want to be his?”
“Not if he was the last man on earth.” I’m surprised at how certain I am about this.
Bodie’s half grin appears and his eyes pop wide. “Good.”
“Why’s that good?”
“Got my reasons.” He continues to smile.
“Care to share them with your housemate?” I squeeze his hand, flirting. I’m scared of his reply as much as I’m desperate for it.
“Here’s my answer.” Bodie pulls his hand from my grasp and places it gently on the side of my face. And he leans in for a kiss. Soft, but not tentative. Just a brush of his lips to mine and, when he pulls back, it’s only by a few inches. I feel his breath on my lips, so sweet and light. Patient too. As if considering whether we fit together.
I nod and he moves even closer. More unified breathing, and the most emotional intimacy I’ve shared with another man—and we’re fully dressed on a beach, not naked in bed. I press my lips to his, but he pulls back.
“Let me do it,” he whispers against my parted lips, and I understand that this kiss is his ballgame, not mine.
Another feathery kiss to my lips and then another. Fingertips brush my cheek, the side of my neck, my chest on top of my thin T-shirt, drawing out goosebumps up and down my arms and along my spine.
I struggle to control my breathing, as a realization hits me: This weathered cowboy isn’t tough and cool, through and through. Bodie’s just a man, like me. With his share of hopes and fears and needs. A man who requires protection, as much as he is a protector.
I have been a fan of Mia Kerick's for a while now. She has a great way of sharing the stories of teens and young/new adults in the LGBTQ+ community that really grab at your heartstrings. So I was interested to try out an adult book under her pseudonym.
I read the book easily in one afternoon while sitting near the pool. I wasn't as invested in these characters as I am with the younger ones in her other books, yet I was compelled to finish the book as quickly as I could so that I could find out what was going to happen with this couple. I think the difference for me is these are older men in a different place in their life.
Each of them come to the table with their own personal baggage and trauma. They have both been abused in different ways and have a lot of healing to do. In fact, Bodie's trauma is so intense that people say he is "born for leaving," as he never stays in one place for too long, trying to run away from his past. The two of them are actually quite good for each other, but it is going to take some time to find their way.
As they are going through their own personal battles and facing their own demons, they are also dealing with a horrific boss, Jack, who reminds me of some real creeps I have known in restaurants and bars over the years. There are a couple of other creeps, but the rest of the supporting characters are actually quite fabulous. I think I would actually enjoy hanging out with all of them, with the exception of Jack.
You're going to go through a lot of emotions while reading this book, but it is an entertaining and different love story. I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes in the future. Thank you to the author and to Goddess Fish for providing me with a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the author:
Like Jude Munro, her fictional characters in her gay romance novels are drawn to the beach. They’ve sunbathed on the sands of many alluring East Coast beaches, along with the fantastical beaches in Jude’s books. They’ll answer questions like “Who do you think you are, the sun god?” (which they often resemble) if they can hear you over "Boys of Summer" cranking on their headphones. To most of Jude’s men, no shoes and no shirt is really not a problem. But even on the sunniest of beach days, the guys in Jude’s books do have problems… as in, serious relationship issues. Many of which seem insurmountable. And each character must earn his day at the beach. (Yes, there is always a HEA).
Jude Munro will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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